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October 27, 2005

AutoPilot: Tivo to iPod and Ad Removal

We've just released a new version of TVHarmony AutoPilot with support for converting Tivo recorded shows into a format compatible with Apple's new video iPod. We've added support for Palm devices capable of viewing video.

In addition, we've added ComSkip commercial ad detection and removal which as an option, will try to remove commercials during conversion.

For more info on our free TVHarmony AutoPilot product, click here.

Posted on October 27, 2005 | Comments (18)

October 14, 2005

Watching Television on a PSP

Via PSPUpdates.com, the newly released OS Update for the PSP will have support for Sony's LocationFree technology, allowing PSP owners to stream video content, including live television and shows recorded on a DVR, directly to their PSP on a wifi network. That means you can be sitting in a hotel room across the country and watch your favorite shows on your PSP streaming them from your house, through your always-on internet connection, through the hotel wifi connection on to your PSP. The price appears to be $350 for a base station, if you don't already own a Sony LocationFree TV.

It sounds pretty cool, albeit a bit pricey. Hopefully (although unlikely), the LocationFree technology uses a standard protocol, allowing developers to take advantage of it to provide direct support to streaming without a base station. I've been reluctant to upgrade my PSP from 1.5,which has the ability to run homebrew apps like game emulators, but more and more, I feel like I'm missing out by using an out of date OS.

Posted on October 14, 2005 | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 13, 2005

Video IPod

Apple's getting a lot of buzz on the Internet over the new video iPod, although not everyone is a true believer. According to Philip Swann:

"The video iPod will be Steve Jobs' folly. Americans will not watch full-length videos -- or perhaps even short music videos -- on 2.5-inch screens on portable devices. It makes no sense."

I don't fully agree with Swann, but time will tell how many people find portable video useful. I doubt adding video functionality will make users less likely to buy an iPod so I doubt it will negatively effect iPod sales, but the real question is how many people will use it for video and big the market will be for people who cater to it through services such as Video on Demand?

I doubt I'm the regular consumer, but I use the Sony Playstation Portable (PSP) frequently for video. I haven't had a chance to use a new iPod, but here's my head to head between iPod and PSP for users who primarily want video:

  • Size: iPod definitely wins here albeit the PSP is easy to carry as well
  • Screen Viewing: While I haven't seen the iPod in action, the PSP is the likely winner here with a 16:9 screen. My first take on the iPod is that they should have made the screen longer to be 16:9, and just make users turn the iPod while watching video.
  • Storage: The PSP doesn't come with a hard drive (you use memory sticks instead), so iPod wins here. My 1Gb memory card suits me just fine for video for everything but an intercontinental flight, but there is was to augment it like Portable storage drives like the Tripper.
  • Music: The PSP supports MP3 files but nothing like the iPod
  • Games: PSP wins hands down
  • Included Software: The PSP comes with no software and adding video is an esoteric process
  • Price: PSP retails for $250 although you can find it cheaper. iPod will set you back $299 - $399 depending on hard drive size. If you add in a 1GB memory card, PSP is about the same price.
  • Getting Content: Stay tuned for this. iPod has some music videos available for download, as well as television shows. PSP has it's own video disk drive called the UMD, and has a few titles available for it. PSP has Video on Demand in some international markets, but nothing yet for the US or Europe

Without seeing the iPod in action, it's debatable which is the best device for video. If the screen of the iPod looks good and you aren't a gamer, iPod looks like the best device. If you play games occasionally, then PSP may be a better device for you.

Of course, you could buy a unit like the Creative Zen Portable Media Center or an Archos AV420, but up until yesterday, they were charging a premium for these units ($450 - $500). Not surprisingly, Creative has already cut the price of the Zen PMC with a $250 rebate. These guys are definitely going to feel the squeeze the worst from the Apple announcment.

Posted on October 13, 2005 | Comments (0)

October 09, 2005

TVHarmony AutoPilot

We're happy to announce the beta release of our first software product, TVHarmony AutoPilot which can be freely downloaded here. The software automates downloading and converting TivoToGo files into popular formats such as MPEG and Playstation Portable (PSP) compatible formats. In addition, you can download the conversion utilities separately.

We believe we made a good tradeoff between allowing users to legitimately convert their Tivo content into standard formats but still urge people not to violate copyright laws by publicly distributing the shows on the web. When the software converts programming, it imprints their Tivo Media Access Key as a watermark in the lower right hand side of the movie. Since the Media Access Key can easily tracked back to an individual Tivo owner, users will be more reluctant to post copyrighted content on the web.

The Beta 1 release still needs some polish and we have plans for many more features, but at this point, it provides enough functionality to be useful. If you ever wanted to move Tivo content to your PSP or other media player that supports MPEG, AutoPilot is an easy way to automate the process. With the new functionality to upload MPEG files back to your Tivo, you can also use your home PC as a storage system for content you haven't had time to watch.

Feel free to download the software here and please contribute your ideas to our forum.

Sample Watermark

Posted on October 09, 2005 | Comments (1)