Nov 26, 2008

Entertainment - TiVo launches mobile site for TV junkies

Jennifer LeClaire

TiVo on Tuesday launched a mobile version of its Web site that aims to give people the ability to record their favorite programs.

TiVo Mobile is a free mobile phone-optimized Web site that allows subscribers and non-subscribers to browse, search and discover television shows regardless of mobile platform, carrier or browser.

Consumers can access the site with any Internet-enabled phone through any network. The company expects TiVo Mobile to open up the service to millions of cell-phone owners.

"TiVo started out making television a more convenient, personal experience, and this is the next step to give television lovers total control over their media," said Jim Denney, vice president of product marketing at TiVo. "Whether you are standing in line at the bank or talking about a new show with friends at dinner, you can now find and record shows whenever, wherever -- a perfect tool for everyone."

Mobile Road Warriors

The new mobile site is located at TiVo Mobile will let television viewers stay in touch with their TiVo DVR when they are away. Specifically, TiVo Mobile users can schedule recordings directly to their TiVo box from a mobile phone.

The TiVo Mobile site is optimized for use on a small screen. Visitors can search for programs by actor, title, director and keyword and tap into additional features, such as daily recommendations and most popular.

The TiVo Mobile site also leverages TiVo's recommendations engine through the "If you like this ..." tool to help users find new shows. Anyone can browse, search and discover television shows whether they have a TiVo DVR at home.

"What TiVo really does is show us what the other companies are going to do 12 months from now," said Phil Leigh, senior analyst at Inside Digital Media. "So look for the other companies to do this in 12 to 24 months."

TiVo's Innovation and Competition

TiVo Mobile joins a set of service features available to TiVo lovers -- including content from Amazon Video on Demand and Jaman, as well as videos from YouTube direct to the TV set. This December, TiVo is making available thousands of streaming movies and TV show episodes from Netflix.

"TiVo is clearly an innovative leader. If they hadn't been such a leader, they would have been wiped out by the DVRs that are sold by the cable and satellite companies," Leigh said. "It costs a lot more to buy a TiVo unit than it does to pay a $5 monthly fee to a cable operator."

Leigh finds it interesting that TiVo is an example of a company whose name has become a verb, yet still doesn't command the market share it should, given what it has accomplished on the innovation front. "The DVR service from cable companies isn't as good, in my opinion," he said, "but the typical consumer takes the path of least resistance."

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