CES 2005: TiVo Takes Its DVR Service Mobile

Following in the footsteps of Microsoft's Media Center software, which first offered this functionality more than 2 years ago, digital video recording (DVR) pioneer TiVo this week announced that it will augment its service with the ability to copy certain recorded TV shows to PC notebook computers. The feature, which lets subscribers access their recorded TV shows away from home, has been a long time coming. TiVo first announced its TiVoToGo service a year ago at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2004.
"Consumers don't want to be tied to their living room to watch their favorite entertainment," TiVo Chief Marketing Officer Matt Wisk said. "With TiVoToGo, subscribers can take their favorite shows with them to enjoy on business trips or family vacations." Unlike a similar feature that Microsoft first introduced with Windows XP Media Center Edition (XP MCE) in October 2002, TiVo's recorded TV shows are heavily protected and require special software before users can access them on notebook computers. And unlike Media Center, TiVo subscribers must enter a username and password to access their recorded content.
TiVo defended the security requirements, noting that they mollify Hollywood companies that are concerned about piracy. But the service is limited in other ways. TV programming such as Pay Per View movies, On Demand content, and everything on HBO and Cinemax services can't be copied to portable devices. And TiVoToGo isn't available to DirecTiVo customers, who use the DirecTV satellite system. Those customers represent nearly half of TiVo's installed base.
One benefit of TiVo and TiVoToGo is cost. Although the TiVo service typically costs subscribers $12.95 a month, TiVo devices cost as little as $99, which is a far cry from the $1000 or more that a typical Media Center PC costs.

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