Parks Associates Blog

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

TiVo Web Video 2.0

TiVo has added a new function that allows users to watch any web video content on the TV screen. This is different from the TiVoCast feature, which has been available for some time. TiVoCast downloads select video content aggregated by Brightcove through the home network, in a trickled fashion. Currently it offers content from the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), The New York Times, Heavy, iVillage and CNET among others. The new feature would enable viewers to watch broadband video content from outside of the little walled garden created by TiVo and Brightcove. TiVo will support video content downloaded to PCs running Windows XP in formats such as QuickTime, Windows Media Video, and MPEG-4. It seems that TiVo heads who want to watch Grey's Anatomy streamed through ABC.com won't be able to benefit from the new feature.

This feature will only be available to TiVo-owned subscribers (1.5 million of them as of June 2006) who have enabled the home network feature. TiVo has not reported updated figures for subscribers using the home network feature but we estimate that less than half of the 1.5 million subscribers have done so. The new DMA-like feature is part of TiVo's Tahiti initiative, which also includes TiVoCast, TiVoToGo and several other cool applications. TiVo is trying to retain existing customers and attract new subscribers with these new features. Nevertheless, as cable, satellite, and IPTV service providers expediate their innovation pace and add similar features, whether TiVo can survive as a standalone platform is still questionable. Mainstream consumers are still looking for their TV service providers to provide new applications including DVR, VoD, and Internet connectivity as part of the entertainment bundle.

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