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TiVo Download Trial experience

I watched my free TiVo download of Red Trousers last night. TiVo is experimenting with letting users download video over the Internet and this free offering was either a beta test, publicity, or both. Red Trousers wasn't exactly the best video to judge the new technology. It's been awhile since I've last saw it so I don't know if some of the poor video quality was because it is a cheaply shot documentary about Hong Kong stuntmen or because TiVo compressed the heck of it.

The video quality is akin to VCDs -- it doesn't really look like the Best/High/Medium/Basic settings that you might be used to. It doesn't have the big blocky jumbles that you really notice on Medium and Basic, but it is clearly lower resolution than Best. Text is bit harder to read and there were a lot of edge artifacts. There were also spots in the video that seemed jerky and the color levels seemed off (blacks weren't right), but I don't know if that was the compression or the way Red Trousers was shot.

There is a blue recording icon when you are downloading the video. Unlike streaming video from other TiVos, you have to wait until the entire video downloads before you can start watching it, which probably means they don't think they can transfer it enough to show it in real time. I have no idea how long it took, but it doesn't matter too much as you can still record other shows at the same time. It would probably be more annoying if you were trying to have people over to watch the video and you were all sitting around waiting for the blue icon to go away.

It's hard to rate the overall the TiVo download technology as this wasn't the full experience. How much will it cost? Will you get to keep the video? Is this targeted at movies or TV shows? How will I choose what video I am downloading? I'm a bit annoyed at the lower video quality, which is probably enough to make me pass this up for movies, but for the right price the sit-on-your-butt convenience might be worth it.

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This page contains a single entry from kwc blog posted on November 23, 2005 6:04 PM.

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