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TiVo Beefs Up Video Sharing

TiVo users will be able to share home videos with other TiVo-using family and friends. Users will also be able to use TiVo's PC software to convert Internet videos for watching on TV.

TiVo is expanding its broadband services for TV, making it possible to use its digital video recorder to find and view more online content, and to share home videos with friends and family over the Internet.

TiVo unveiled the new services Tuesday in a series of announcements that reflect the company's long-term strategy of blending TV and the Internet in ways that can differentiate its DVR from those of competitors. TiVo, the largest supplier of DVRs, has seen its market share erode as cable and telephone companies offer competing products.

The new services, which are available through TiVo's high-end, Internet-connected Series2 and Series3 DVRs, include the ability to store a home video on an Internet service, and then share it directly with another TiVo subscriber. The service is expected to launch the first quarter of next year.

The service will let subscribers upload videos to TiVo partner One True Media, which stores them online and provides editing tools and a personal channel code to distribute to friends and family. People can use the code to have the content downloaded to their TiVo DVR, where it's stored and updated along with other TV programming.

TiVo users can receive video at no additional charge, but creators must sign up for an account with One True Media and pay $4 a month.

TiVo also plans to upgrade its current PC software later this year with the ability to reformat online video, so it can be shown on a TV connected to a computer. The new software makes it possible to watch most online video, which isn't always in the proper format for television.

"There is an explosion in video on the Web that is not intended to be rights-protected, and now the consumer can decide which of that video he or she would like to view on the TV set," Tom Rogers, president and CEO of TiVo, said in a statement.

TiVo Desktop Plus 2.4 will support video content downloaded to PCs running Windows XP in formats such as QuickTime, Windows Media Video, and MPEG-4.

Other new products include the ability to search across broadcast, cable, and online content sources, and then organize the videos for easy access and recording. The service, called unified search, is scheduled to launch next year.

Finally, TiVo announced a partnership with talent agency International Creative Management to offer subscribers TV show and movie recommendations selected by Hollywood actors and directors represented by ICM. TiVo also said it signed CBS Interactive to deliver original content created for the Web over TiVo's Internet service, TiVoCast. It's the first network deal for TiVoCast. Financial details weren't disclosed.

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