CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Mobile

TiVo To Go to add PSP, iPod compatibility?

TiVo To Go to add PSP, iPod compatibility?

It's being widely reported today (News.com, Yahoo, Engadget, CNBC) that TiVo is set to announce that its TiVo To Go feature will add official support for transferring recorded videos to the Sony PSP and the video-enabled iPod. In theory, this would allow users to sync either device with their PC and download TV shows that have already been transferred to the computer using the existing TiVo To Go software. On the surface, this sounds like a great idea--watch last night's Daily Show on the train to work, for instance.

Of course, as with every potentially cool development regarding transportable media, there's a litany of caveats, cautions, and asterisks. To transfer a show to your iPod or PSP, you'll need to first transfer it to your PC--that's a painfully slow process that often approaches real time, and it's the major shortfall of the current TiVo To Go software. Then, the transferred program needs to be transcoded to a format that will work on your portable device of choice--another time-consuming process. Other issues: the software will be a for-pay upgrade, not a freebie, and it's not expected to be officially available until early 2006. And aside from all the technological challenges involved, there's also the potential for corporate politics to sabotage this effort; it's unclear at this point whether TiVo has the blessing of Apple or Sony, two companies that are notorious for proprietary solutions and aggressively protecting their turf. While they may not be able to "break" the TiVo To Go functionality with a firmware update, I sincerely doubt that either company will be bending over backward to help TiVo. Both have grand plans for delivering video content to their respective devices--Sony's PSP Media Manager software and LocationFree TV are no doubt the first step in a more elaborate video content solution, and Apple's iTunes video downloads have already shaken up the TV industry.

I like what TiVo is trying to do here, but I really wish it were something more like Dish Network's PocketDish solution, which lets you directly transfer shows from a DVR to a handheld video player. If TiVo (or some other set-top manufacturer) could add such plug-and-play functionality for iPods and PSPs, it would be couch potato heaven.