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TiVo to offer iPod and PSP compatability

SAN FRANCISCO — TiVo, the maker of digital video recorders, plans to announce a new feature on today that will let TiVo owners watch recorded television shows on Apple's video iPods and on Sony's handheld PSP game machine.

The announcement builds on TiVo's release in February of an update to its video recorders that allows its users to transfer programs to personal computers and DVDs, as well as to portable video players that support Microsoft's mobile video format. When the company releases new software in the first quarter of next year, it will extend that capability to the video iPod, released last month, and the Sony PSP.

"This is another thing we can do to add value for our subscribers," said Jim Denney, TiVo's vice president of product marketing. "We've seen reasonable demand and interest from people to bring their videos with them."

TiVo recorders, which compete with similar devices offered by cable and satellite television companies, allow users to automatically record television programming, as well as pause and replay live broadcasts. Subscribers to TiVo's service receive automatic updates to broadcast schedules. The company has 3.6 million subscribers and says it is signing on as many as 250,000 new ones each quarter.

When it released its TiVoToGo software in February, TiVo said it was compatible with portable video devices made by Creative Technologies, Samsung and other companies — players that have not been a hit with consumers. By extending that capability to the video iPod and the popular Sony PSP, TiVo is tapping into a market that is potentially much bigger.

Owners of the Apple or Sony devices will need to pay TiVo to unlock the portion of the new software that converts videos to the MPEG-4 format used by those players. While TiVo has not yet set the price for the software, similar programs typically cost between $15 and $30, Denney said. The cost will cover licensing fees and other expenses associated with using the MPEG-4 format, he said.

The new TiVo software will also have a syncing feature that will allow subscribers to choose whether they want new recordings of their favorite programs transferred to their portable devices automatically via their PC.

Apple, which is not involved in TiVo's announcement, introduced the video iPod last month and began selling music videos and programming from the Walt Disney Co. and Pixar.