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Monday, November 07, 2005
Yahoo to Connect Services With TiVo

Yahoo and TiVo are are teaming up to connect Yahoo's online service to TiVo's set-top boxes, which, in addition to recording television programs, have a largely unused capability to connect to the Internet.

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.

Conversely, Yahoo is working to move its services from personal computers to other devices, including mobile phones and - by way of devices like TiVo - the television set.

This month, TiVo users will be able to use Yahoo's television listings to find programs and, by checking the appropriate boxes, send instructions to their TiVos to record those shows.

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 subscribers already have the ability to remotely schedule recordings from the TiVo Web site, but this will give the DVR pioneer a way to potentially tap Yahoo's large user base and gain some much-needed new customers.

The Alviso, Calif.-based company has about 3.6 million subscribers but it accrued fewer new customers in its last fiscal second quarter than it did the previous year, according to the company's financial report released in August. And though the company posted its first profit in its eight-year history during that quarter, some analysts question whether the company can continue to grow as satellite and cable companies develop their own DVR technology that offer lower subscription fees.

Meanwhile, Yahoo, the leading destination on the Web, is seeing tremendous growth as more people turn to the Internet for news, entertainment, communication, and other services.

But the Internet giant is also under constant pressure from rivals Google and Microsoft to expand its own offerings.

So far, attempts to combine the Internet and television, like WebTV from Microsoft, since renamed MSNTV, have had limited appeal. America Online abandoned its similar AOLTV product. Some manufacturers, like Thompson, have put Web browsers into high-end televisions, but this feature has not caught on.

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