TiVo and iPods: At Last by Cathy Lu: Finally, a sanctioned way to move TV shows to your portable video device without having to pay two dollars for the privilege. TiVo has released
an upgrade to its Windows desktop software that makes it possible to convert and transfer your shows to an iPod, PSP, Treo, Nokia N80, Toshiba gigabeat, and any other device that supports MPEG-4 or H.264. Sure, there are hackish ways to do this already, but the official software should make things a lot easier. The catch–and the only reason I haven’t tried it yet–the software costs $25 (although if you use it for transferring 12.5 shows or more, you break even).
The new features work in conjunction with the existing TiVoToGo functionality, which lets you transfer recordings from your box to your PC over a wireless network. From there, the software automatically converts the transfers to the correct format. The updated software also includes the ability to schedule TiVoToGo transfers to take place automatically, such as in the middle of the night. (Incidentally, you can get this feature for free just by downloading the new Version 2.3 software; the $25 charge is only for people who want to transfer video to their portable devices.)
If you’ve ever used TiVoToGo, you know that it requires a lot of time and bandwidth. If you’re planning to leave for a trip, you really need to start downloading shows a few days in advance. Still, with enough forethought, I could see this being quite useful. Load up a week’s worth of TV, and a 20-hour plane ride doesn’t seem so miserable. (OK, it still does.)