Amazon and TiVo Team for Unbox Downloads

Just yesterday Wal-Mart entered the video download business, but today Amazon.com and TiVo fired back, announcing that they’ve begun testing a service which lets customers download movies and television shows from Amazon’s Unbox video download service directly to TiVo set-top boxes—no computer required.

“The television is and will continue to be the preferred platform for watching video content, and TiVo is leading the charge in offering broadband-delivered content to the living room,” said Tara Maitra, TiVo’s VP and general manager of programming, in a statement. “By adding Amazon Unbox on TiVo, we are expanding the TiVoCast service to include movies, television shows, and other premium content, giving TiVo subscribers access to the full range of video programming a consumer may want.”

TiVo customers will need either a Series2 or Series3 TiVo unit on their home broadband network to take advantage of the service. (No support is planned for DirecTV TiVo subscribers, or for TiVo users who access the service via a phone line.) To activate the service, customers just log into Amazon.com and follow a few steps to establish a link between their TiVo DVR and their Amazon account; once the setup is finished, users will be eligible to download movies or television shows from Unbox directly to their TiVo DVR, where they will appear in the “Now Playing” list of other recorded shows and programming. Television episodes purchased via Unbox are $1.99 apiece; most movies range from $9.99 to $14.99, with limited-time movie rentals starting at $1.99.

According to TiVo, video downloaded from Unbox is of higher quality than programming recorded at the “Best Quality” setting on a TiVo Series2 DVR. However, customers won’t be able to use TiVoToGo or Multi-Room viewing with video purchased from Unbox; however, Unbox’s RemoteLoad feature will let users download the videos to multiple TiVo’s or compatible PCs.

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