TiVo have announced the release of new software, slated for the first quarter of 2006 that will let owners watch recorded television shows on their Sony PSPs and video iPods.
It doesn’t stop does it? Boy, is this technology disruptive.
What’s that sound? The sound of TV legal types rubbing their hands together as TiVo’s press release hit the ‘wires’.
TiVo’s software will enable subscribers to easily transfer recorded television programming, in MPEG-4 format. Other capabilities include auto-sync, letting TiVo users choose if they want new recordings of their favorite programs transferred to their portable devices via their PC. Recharging content onto their devices overnight, ready for the next days commute. It is expected to be priced as a one off of around $30 (~£17, ~€25).
This development is a further blow to TV network schedulers and their much-relied on conventional prime time programmes. This theory is torn apart when mobile viewers are able to watch programmes recorded the previous night, on the go.
The US networks are unlikely to take this lying down. Companies like ABC (part of media giant Disney) have been keen to generate additional revenue from download deals of their premium shows like Desperate Housewives – as offered by Apple through their online store, to their video iPod.
This TiVo development sees that particular rug being pulled from under them, and we suspect that they won’t be won over by TiVo’s promises to employ “watermark” technologies on programs transferred to a portable device.
TiVo’s share price has initially climbed, having faltered due to the perceived weakness in TiVo capabilities for both dual recording and HD use.
Some commentators are warning of the practical problems, expecting only the technically adept to be able to handle the transfers and pointing out that the enhancements will only be available to a subset of TiVo’s 3.8 million subscribers.
We think that while this could be the case for now, we don’t see this particular genie jumping back in the bottle.