Those of you who read ZNF regularly or have come across some of my comments on the TCF can probably guess the Amazon Unbox on TiVo service excites me: Being able to rent feature length films via the Internet for television playback is my personal holy grail. So I checked in with TiVo, Inc this AM to find out a little more of the mechanics of this upcoming video download collaboration…
On the TiVo end, TiVoCast and TiVoGuard are the technologies being used. Video will be “near DVD” quality with stereo sound. Download times will vary by home broadband speeds — a typical movie would take about an hour to download via a 5Mbps connection. Slower connections could take longer: A 1Mbps connection could result in 5 hours or so to download a flick. Video cannot be played back until the TiVo download completes.
On the Amazon side of things, studios dictate which movies are available for rent versus which are available for purchase… some are available for both. Video is ordered online; transmission to TiVo is initiated online as well. Downloads to the TiVo begin within 15 minutes of request. Purchased video is stored indefinitely and can be retrieved multiple times, though only two devices (computer, TiVo, handheld) are authorized for particular content at a time.
Amazon Unbox on TiVo is currently in beta and will be available “soon.”