TiVo update adds progressive downloads, multi-room viewing, and TiVoToGo

TiVo update adds progressive downloads, multi-room viewing, and TiVoToGoTiVo have announced a host of new features including multi-room viewing and the ability to transfer content to a PC for DVD burning — available as a software update for its Series 3 and HD line of DVRs.

Progressive downloads

With the introduction of progressive downloads, users of the TiVo version of Amazon’s television and movie download service UnBox, will no longer have to wait for the full video file to download before they can begin watching. Instead, UnBox content will start playing after a much shorter period of buffering, the length of which is dependent on broadband speeds.

As NewTeeVee notes, this puts UnBox on TiVo in much more direct competition with the newly launched set-top box movie service, Vudu (see our review), which differentiates itself from many of its competitors by enabling video rentals to be progressively downloaded for playback on a television.

Multi-Room Viewing

TiVo update adds progressive downloads, multi-room viewing, and TiVoToGoTiVo’s Multi-Room Viewing (MRV) feature allows content which is stored on one TiVo to be sent to other TiVos throughout the home. Not only is this a convenient way of shuttling content from one room to another, it also means that customers will be able to put to better use to an older TiVo device or have more of an incentive to upgrade in the future.

TiVoToGo

TiVo HD and Series 3 users can now enjoy TiVoToGo functionality, which enables users to transfer recorded content from a TiVo box to a desktop or laptop PC.

From the press release:

Using TiVo Desktop software for Windows or Roxio Toast 8 or Popcorn 3 for Mac OS, TiVo subscribers can now transfer recordings from their Series 3 and TiVo HD boxes for playback, DVD burning, or converting to portable device formats on personal computers.

The TiVoToGo feature is a must have for any DVR, and is one of the reasons why I am a fan of Elgato’s EyeTV line of DVR devices for the Mac. If content remains locked inside of the DVR itself, there seems little point for it existing in the digital domain in the first place. (In other words, I want a way to get TV recordings onto my new iPod.)

My DVR Expander — external hard drive support

Finally, the TiVo update also introduces support for the My DVR Expander 500GB external hard drive from Western Digital, which is capable of storing up to 600 hours of standard-definition (SD) or up to 65 hours of high-definition (HD) television content. Currently the only TiVo Verified external storage device, the My DVR Expander is compatible with both TiVo HD and TiVo Series3 DVRs and is priced at $199.99.

last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

15 Responses to “TiVo update adds progressive downloads, multi-room viewing, and TiVoToGo”

  1. TiVo is crazy addictive and it’s getting worse. I may have to throw mine out the window in an effort to avoid divorce. Great post!

  2. woot says:

    Kinda sucks that you can’t download HD shows

  3. xYike says:

    TiVoHD only works with some HD content delivery … I would like to have it but I’m not leaving DirecTV for it. They keep adding features to new models and leaving out the old (Series 2 for example) so I’m not going to run out and upgrade 5 TiVos just for something like this. There is no reason not to allow Series2 models to all of these things, TiVo is just greedy.

  4. anonymouse says:

    “There is no reason not to allow Series2 models to all of these things, TiVo is just greedy”

    The development time it’d take to backport changes like these is not free.

  5. Keith says:

    If TiVo is greedy, they’re not very good at it. I don’t think they’ve ever operated in the black.

    Not that that excuses them from not better supporting the venerable Series 2.

  6. I’m not sure how media publishers feel about Tivo, I’m quite certain they’re already not pleased with them. I can only assume that they’re waiting for a way to prevent PVRs and Tivo alike.

  7. hpavc says:

    One the reasons Tivo has such a hard time is that is larger share holders (sony and the like) are not entirely apt to have crazy innovative features on the multimedia side of the box. This also makes people scared to deal with them in various contracts. So Tivo has a pace that differs from the other devices.

  8. Remember ReplayTV? says:

    Sure, Tivo is greedy. And ReplayTV, Panasonic Showstopper, Sony T-60 (rebadged Tivo), and Humana (rebadged Tivo) are all generously out of the DVR business – no new features, no support. Get real, Series 1 & 2 are years old. Do you expect carmakers to upgrade your engine (and the internal software on which it runs) when they introduce a new model year? Consumer products often go stale before they are used up – bread, fresh fruit, and software.

  9. Joe Seefus says:

    Anonymouse said:
    “The development time it’d take to backport changes like these is not free.”

    That is true but Tivo is not without continuous sources of income. They could make the same modifications available to Series 2 and Series 1 machines. They just don’t want to. Tivo believes that they should just “encourage” consumers to throw away their older Series 1 and 2 machines (along with their already-paid lifetime service plans) for the new Series 3 machines with continuous monthly fees for the life of the unit. Tivo gets the money for the new machine and every month from now on.

  10. Confused says:

    How are they not supporting the Series2? My HD

  11. Confused says:

    How are they not supporting the Series2? My

  12. Rick says:

    “recordings can only be sent from a Series 3/HD box to the Series 2, and not in the other direction”

    I’m 99% sure that this is wrong.

  13. Mike says:

    “HD recordings can only be sent from a Series 3/HD box to the Series 2, and not in the other direction”

    Makes sense since the Series 2 aren’t recording in HD.

  14. Berryman says:

    There is no need for this upgrade to go to the series 2 Boxes since they have already had all of these features other then progressive downloads for years now. The TivoToGo feature works in both directions Series 2 to Series 3 and Series 3 to Series 2. The only thing that you can’t send to the Series 2 from the Series 3 is HD Content since the Series 2 does not support HD content. This isn’t a choice of Tivo to not support this upgrade for Series 2 it is because some of the hardware necessary for these upgrades do not exist in the Series 2. They are never going to port any of these changes back to Series 1 since it has been end of life for a few years now.

  15. Steve O'Hear (editor) says:

    @Berryman

    I think you’re right, and I’ve removed the ref. to multi-room sharing not working both ways.