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Thursday, March 13, 2008

YouTube and TiVo In Promising Partnership

YouTube is expanding on a global scale and plans to go from just being an internet site to becoming a TV destination, as TiVo Inc. made an announcement on Wednesday on a new partnership that plans to bring YouTube videos directly on users’ television sets.

Tara Maitra, Vice President and General Manager for Content Services at TiVo said: “YouTube APIs enable TiVo to provide an extremely rich and highly personalized viewing experience for streamed video on the television.”

This collaboration will enable TiVo users to watch high-quality videos from YouTube right on their television, and with the help of YouTube’s APIs, they will also be able to search and instantly stream videos from YouTube.

The service reminds us of Apple’s initiative last year, when they started Apple TV, which also allowed users to watch YouTube videos on their televisions. The TiVo deal just seems to boost YouTube, which is already a popular Web destination, but could also become a television ‘must see’.

Out of a total of 4 million TiVo subscribers, less than a quarter of them will actually benefit from the new collaboration, as it requires a broadband connection supported only by more recent versions of hardware.

The service is expected to become available later this year, enabling users to rate, flag and share videos, as well as log into their YouTube accounts directly from TiVo and access their favorite channels and playlists.

YouTube has continued to grow in size and popularity over the years, and it became a top Web destination, and not necessarily only for young people. The ‘YouTube on your TiVo’ can only make things better for both, as it could attract even more audience.

“TiVo should be the best experience for all video options, whether it’s coming from cable, satellite or off a server,” said Ms. Maitra as quoted by The New York Times. Ever since it was founded, in 1997, TiVo became a lead provider of superior television experience, and it promises to continue to offer their customers everything they want in the entertainment field.

YouTube getting TV shot from TiVo

YouTube, not happy to be just an Internet site, is expanding to the medium it has helped undermine -- the boob tube.

TiVo Inc., the digital video recorder maker, announced that its customers would be able to watch YouTube videos on their TVs using one model of TiVo's set-top box sometime this year.

Over the last year, it has been possible to watch YouTube videos on the television through other devices, such as Apple Inc.'s Apple TV.

But TiVo, which has more than 4 million subscribers, could make YouTube a television star.

YouTube has been a thorn in the side of traditional media ever since the video sharing website was created in 2005. Now owned by Google Inc., YouTube has faced criticism and legal trouble that it benefited from visitors copying TV shows and putting them on the site.

YouTube has also hastened the fracturing of how people, especially teenagers, get their entertainment, with many turning on their computers instead of TVs.

Monthly, 66 million viewers watch about 2.6 billion videos on YouTube, accounting for about 57% of the 116.7 million monthly online video audience, according to Nielsen Online.

A Harris Poll in December found that 65% of U.S. adults who were online had watched a video on YouTube, compared with 42% the previous year. Among people 18 to 24, 85% watched something on YouTube, compared with 73% the year before.

"Among all age groups, there's interest in more video online, both professionally created and user generated," said Jim Schaffer, vice president of client development for media and entertainment research for Harris Interactive.

"But clearly the younger age groups are clamoring for it more," he said.

Many people already go to YouTube for the same reason they use TiVo -- to be able to watch TV when they want it. But with TiVo, YouTube might finally make it on the main home screen.

"It's possible it could bring people back," said Amanda Lenhart, senior research specialist at Pew Internet & American Life Project.

"But if it's really complicated it probably won't change how people watch their YouTube.

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