KotterThe era of à la carte content experimentation continues. This week Time Warner jumps into the fray announcing free Internet streaming of select television shows. The catch is shows will contain advertising which can’t be bypassed and episodes don’t appear to be scheduled in a predictable manner.

Shows will optionally be offered in higher definition format using a new AOL software and service called Hi-Q (as in high quality or haiku – boy they’re clever). To save on bandwidth Hi-Q will utilize a P2P file sharing cloud.

One to two minutes of commercials per episode is a reasonable trade off for free content. Though, as with MovieLink and CinemaNow, you’re theoretically tethered to the computer. However, free thirty minute shows may be more conducive to PC viewing.

NYTimes says: Programs on In2TV will range from recently canceled series like “La Femme Nikita” to vintage shows like “Maverick” from the early 1960′s . Other series that will be available include “Chico and the Man,” “Wonder Woman” and “Babylon 5.” The company will offer a changing selection of several hundred episodes each month, rather than providing continuous access to all the episodes in a series, Mr. Frankel said, so as not to cannibalize potential DVD sales of old TV shows. Programs on In2TV will have one to two minutes of commercials for each half-hour episode, compared with eight minutes in a standard broadcast. The Internet commercials cannot be skipped.

TiVoTiVo continues to experiment with their pricing model. In September they began requiring a one year commitment or face a $150 termination fee when activating a new or used box. Now they’re running a promotion which offers a free low-end TiVo without requiring a rebate. While that sounds appealing, notice that the monthly rate has escalated from $12.95 to $16.95. It doesn’t appear that the rate drops to standard (for now) $12.95 after the first 12 months of service. Even more painful, this “deal” prohibits adding additional TiVo boxes at the $6.95 multi-unit discount monthly rate.

Having multiple rate plans only serves to confuse consumers and if the ultimate goal is to raise rates across the board while dropping multi-unit discounts, TiVo will surely see cable company DVR defections.

TiVo says: GET A 40-HOUR TIVO® SERIES2™ DVR AT NO ADDITIONAL COST when you sign-up for TiVo service at a monthly price of $16.95 for at least one year.

TIVO SERIES2 DVRS AND TIVO SERVICE SUBSCRIPTIONS PURCHASED AS PART OF THIS OFFER ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR INCLUSION IN THE MULTI-SERVICE DISCOUNT AND DO NOT QUALIFY ANY EXISTING OR ADDITIONAL UNITS FOR MULTI-SERVICE DISCOUNT.

Upgrades to Product Lifetime Service are not permitted.

[Thanks to Cassidy Napoli for catching this on late night TV!]

TiVo’s 7.2.1 Priority Request

Dave Zatz —  November 7, 2005 — 1 Comment

TiVo LogoTiVo has reversed course and is offering a priority request page for those of you with a Series 2 hankering for Overlap Protection and the bug fixes found in 7.2.1. Requests are usually filled the next business day, though it could take up to three days depending on demand. So grab your TSN and head on over here: http://research.tivo.com/72.1priority/

I don’t have many details on this yet… Last week TiVo attorney Henry Goldberg and Vice President Matthew Zinn met with the FCC Chariman’s Media Legal Advisor.

TiVo says: The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the background and status of the development of cable cards and TiVo’s efforts in that regard.

TiVo CableCARD

DTVHow much are you willing to pay for commercial-free TV? How much would you pay to watch that content through a DVR which already let’s you bypass commercials? DirecTV and NBC think you’ll pony up 99 cents a show using their new DVR, available at Best Buy and Circuit City later this month.

We’ve definitely entered an era of exerpimentation (iPod shows @ $1.99, Time Warner’s VOD) with companies trying to figure out what we want to watch, where we want to watch it, and what we’re willing to pay.

DirecTV says: NBC Universal and DIRECTV, Inc., today announced a first of its kind agreement that will give consumers access to the top programs of NBC and its cable entertainment networks, USA, SCI FI and Bravo, within hours after they air, commercial free, for just 99 cents. The programs will be available on demand through the new DIRECTV Plus interactive DVR. “The way people are consuming content is changing,” said David Zaslav, President, NBC Universal Cable. “Through this agreement with DIRECTV, consumers will be able to watch top NBC content on demand for just $0.99, when they want, without commercials. It’s a huge sea change. This deal is the first of its kind and we value DIRECTV’s partnership in rolling it out.”

Fandango

Though TiVo’s partnership with Netflix may have fallen apart, it hasn’t deterred them from pressing forward with their Internet strategy. Several news sources have revealed TiVo will begin serving up Yahoo! content using server-based HME technology, similar to the Fandango collaboration. The first apps slated for delivery are weather, traffic, and personal Yahoo! photo collections. As with all cool TiVo features, this functionality is limited to Series 2 stand-alone models.

NYTimes says: The deal will allow TiVo, which has been struggling to differentiate its service from generic video recorders offered by cable and satellite companies, to offer a range of content and services linked to the Internet. In coming months, TiVo users will be able to view on their televisions pictures that have been stored on the Yahoo Photos site, as well as local weather and traffic information from Yahoo. Notably absent from the deal is a way for TiVo users to watch video via Yahoo.

TiVo+Yahoo
TiVo has partnered with Yahoo! to provide online scheduling via Yahoo! TV. One must link a Yahoo! account with a TiVo web account to utilize the service. While this new scheduling functionality is redundant, Yahoo! provides an easily browsed grid guide which is conspicuously absent from TiVo’s site. Previously, TiVo and AOL had a similar online scheduling relationship.

Yahoo! says: How do I schedule recordings on my TiVo® Series2™ DVR?

  • Yahoo! and TiVo have partnered to give you the ultimate remote control: the Web!
  • Now you can schedule recordings on your TiVo® box from any internet connection.
  • From any Yahoo! TV episode page, just click “Record to my TiVo box”.

Your request will be automatically sent to your home the next time your TiVo box connects. Please allow one hour if your TiVo is connected to broadband through your home network, 36 hours if your TiVo uses dialup.

TiVo+Yahoo