<videovortex> TiVo and YouTube to Deliver Web Video to TV

Sabine Niederer sabine at networkcultures.org
Wed Mar 12 22:44:56 CET 2008


TiVo and YouTube to Deliver Web Video to TV
Published: March 12, 2008

Pick up the remote, turn on the television — and watch YouTube.

The user experience envisioned by technology enthusiasts came a step  
closer to reality on Wednesday when TiVo, the maker of popular  
digital video recorders, announced a partnership with YouTube that  
will deliver Web video directly to users’ televisions.

“TiVo’s strategy is to bridge the gap between Web video and  
television and make as much content available as possible for our  
subscribers,” said Tara Maitra, the vice president and general  
manager for content services at TiVo.

With the YouTube deal, TiVo becomes the latest entrant into the  
marketplace for porting Internet video content to television. Apple  
introduced a new version of Apple TV with similar features in  
January. Although several companies are trying to merge the online  
viewing experience with the living-room big screen, no one product  
dominates the market yet.

“Leaning forward at my computer screen, I’ve got this giant amount of  
content,” said Dmitry Shapiro, the founder of Veoh, one of the  
companies trying to merge the Internet and the television. “But as  
soon as I want to relax in my living room with friends, I’m stuck  
with what’s on my TV.”

TiVo pioneered the digital video recorders that allowed television  
viewers to time-shift their favorite shows. The company’s set-top  
boxes are increasingly acting like digital video retrievers and  
receivers as well.

The company already makes content from about 40 content partners  
available through the set-top box. Just as users can sign up for a  
season pass to record “Desperate Housewives” on ABC, they can  
subscribe to CNet video clips, CBS episode recaps and Rocketboom  
segments and have the content downloaded to their hard drives. But  
the YouTube video clips will be streamed by broadband.

The YouTube product will be available only to a subset of TiVo users  
who have up-to-date hardware and a broadband connection. Of the four  
million TiVo users nationwide, more than half receive their set-top  
box from a cable operator. Of the 1.7 million who purchased their box  
directly from TiVo, about 800,000 have the broadband connection. The  
company’s Series 3 and HD set-top boxes will support YouTube  
connectivity; earlier versions of the hardware did not support online  
video playback.

Sometime later this year — the company did not specify the date — a  
category for YouTube videos will be added to the TiVo interface.  
Users will be able to log into their accounts and gain access to  
playlists on the video sharing site directly from their televisions.  
The company also plans to enable users to subscribe to video feeds  
from across the Internet by using a software program called an R.S.S.  

“TiVo should be the best experience for all video options, whether  
it’s coming from cable, satellite or off of a server,” Ms. Maitra said.
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