Just weeks after announcing its partnership with Rhapsody to offer music services, TiVo today announced a host of new features, as well as an eSATA storage product, that will be available for Series 3 and TiVo HD boxes.
We're most excited about the arrival of TiVo's Multi-Room Viewing (MRV) which will allow users to view their stored TiVo shows across separate TiVo devices in different rooms. For example, if you've stored an episode of Golden Girls in your living room, you can also watch it on the TiVo in your bedroom as you doze off. For TiVo fanatics, this is the best way to record all your favorite shows, even when you might have 3 or even 4 shows on at once (recording 2 per DVR, for instance). MRV support will extend across Series 2, Series 3, and TiVo HD boxes, although recordings must be sent from a Series 3/HD box to the Series 2, and not vice versa, and the Series 2 cannot handle HD content.
The Series 3 and HD boxes also now support TiVoToGo, which will allow any downloaded content to be sent across your network to a laptop or desktop computer, where it can be either viewed using Desktop Plus, or burned to a DVD. If you're using Mac OS, instead of using TiVo's Desktop software, you'll be able to use Roxio Toast 8 or Popcorn 3.
In a joint venture with Western Digital, TiVo has released the first
TiVo-certified external storage device, dubbed the "My DVR Expander."
It's a 500GB eSATA drive which looks just like the MyBook line
of external drives currently offered from WD, albeit with an orange
drive light. The My DVR extender will work with the TiVo HD and Series
3 DVRs and will be available from Best Buy or the TiVo store for
$199.99. eSATA support is nice, but the added box, power requirements, and heat have us thinking that hardcore users are better off hacking their own storage expansions or turning to a Weaknees TiVo.
Finally, TiVo also announced a progressive download feature, which will allow users to begin watching downloaded content from Amazon UnBox as it's downloading instead of having to wait until the download completes to begin watching the media. Keep in mind that this feature is completely reliant on the network connection's ability to download at a quick pace: if the download is too slow, the software may limit playback to avoid any hiccups.
We have a pair of Weaknees TiVos in the lab for testing, so we'll be testing out a bunch of the new functionalities, including the Multi-Room Viewing support, in the near future.