By GREG SANDOVAL, AP Technology Writer
Add TiVo Inc. to the list of companies trying to wed the Internet to
television. The digital recording company is preparing to enable
customers to download TV shows to their set-top boxes via the Internet
-- even before the shows air on TV.
TiVo has struck a deal with the Independent Film Channel to transmit
several of the cable channel's shows through a broadband connection as
part of a trial program. A group of customers were asked to take part
in the test and those who chose to participate will begin receiving
the IFC shows next week, said TiVo spokesman Elliot Sloane.
Content on demand has long been a holy grail for Internet and cable
companies as they try to create the next generation of television. No
one yet has found a way to overcome key technological hurdles, such as
finding a speedy way to pump two-hour movies through broadband, or
convince Hollywood that it can profit from Internet broadcasts.
Still, broadband connections are picking up speed, and are moving
closer to becoming a reliable delivery method for broadcast-quality
video. Should the day come that video is downloaded at the touch of a
button, some of the stakeholders in the sector foresee a vast video
universe of endless variety.
For TiVo, the news comes a day after the company saw its stock fall
more than 6 percent following a media report that DirecTV was planning
to stop marketing the service to its 14 million customers. News
Corp.-owned DirecTV is planning to throw support behind a competing
digital recording company. About 70 percent of TiVo's 3.3 million
users have come from its deal with DirecTV.
TiVo shares were up 3 cents at $5.65 in midday trading Friday on the
Nasdaq Stock Market.
Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.
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