TiVo has announced an agreement with YouTube that will deliver millions of Web videos directly to users' TV screens. “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, TiVo's vice president and general manager for content services.
Just as users can sign up for a season pass to record “Desperate Housewives” on ABC, they will be able to subscribe to CNet video clips, CBS episode recaps and other segments and have the content downloaded to their hard drives. The YouTube clips, however, will be streamed by broadband Internet connection.
When it is introduced this year (the exact time has not been specified), the YouTube service will be available only to TiVo users who have up-to-date hardware â€” a Series 3 or HD set-top box â€” and a broadband connection. Of the four million TiVo users in the US, more than half get their set-top box from a cable operator. Of the 1.7 million who bought their box directly from TiVo, only about 800,000 have the necessary broadband connection.
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 let users subscribe to video feeds from across the Internet by using software called an R.S.S. reader.
The integration of Web video and TiVo was a result of YouTube's decision, announced last August and made public this week, to open the YouTube platform for outside developers. The platform promises to make it easier for other sites to upload and manage videos.