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TiVo to allow video iPod downloads

Digital video recorder maker TiVo Inc. plans to announce a feature on Monday that will let subscribers transfer recorded television programming to Apple iPod digital music players or Sony's PlayStation portable devices.

The enhancement will include exclusive capabilities such as TiVo auto-sync that will allow subscribers to choose if they want new recordings of their favorite programs easily transferred to their portable devices via their PC. Every morning the devices can be loaded with new programs recorded the night before.

"The increasing popularity of mobile devices for viewing video such as Apple's iPod and the PSP device demonstrate the enormous consumer demand for entertainment on the go," said Tom Rogers, CEO of TiVo. "By enhancing our TiVoToGo feature, we're making it easy for consumers to enjoy the TV shows they want to watch right from their iPod or PSP — whenever and wherever they want."

TiVo said it will begin testing the feature in the coming weeks with a select group of TiVo Series2 subscribers who own the Apple Video iPod or PSP devices. The company also plans to make the feature available to its entire standalone TiVo Series2 subscriber base as early as the first quarter of next year.

Last year, TiVo made available to all its Series2 subscribers the TiVoToGo feature, which allows subscribers to transfer TV shows from their DVR to a laptop or PC over their home network. Today's announcement adds support for the Apple iPod and Sony PSP, as well as the ability to specify Season Pass recordings to conveniently transfer to the portable device via the PC overnight.

Subscribers will need to purchase certain low-cost software to facilitate the transfer of content from the PC to these portable devices. To discourage abuse or unlawful use of this feature, TiVo intends to employ "watermark" technologies on programs transferred to a portable device using the TiVoToGo feature that would enable tracking of the account from which a transferred program originated.

TiVo had previously promised to release a version of TiVoToGo for the Mac, but has yet to do so. The software remains Windows-only with no new word on a version for Mac OS X.

According to the company, the transfer process from a TiVo Series2 set-top-box to a computer occurs roughly in real-time. Therefore, an hour-long show will take an hour to transfer to the computer, then roughly another 10 minutes or so to sync to a portable device.