Apple TV put youtube to the widescreen, TiVo is now putting it in their own box!
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. reader.
“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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