Cable operators who think they have plenty of time to enter the hot portable media player market better think again. It may take off sooner than they anticipated.
In the latest move in this rapidly evolving market, TiVo announced Mon. that it will make it easy for its subscribers to transfer recorded TV programming from their standalone digital video rcorders (DVRs) to Apple Computer's new video iPods and Sony's PlayStation Portable (PSP) devices. TiVo, which already allows its customers to transfer TV shows from their DVRs to PCs and laptops, said it will test this new enhancement of its TiVoToGo service over the next few weeks with TiVo Series2 subscribers who own iPods or PSPs. If all goes well, the company then plans to offer the feature to all TiVo Series2 subscribers sometime early next year.
With EchoStar now offering a portable media player, DirecTV gearing up to do the same and the three biggest wireless phone providers all adding video and other multimedia content to their cell phone handsets, it may behoove cable operators to move faster than usual. In a recent report, the Consumer Electronics Association estimated that 152 million Americans, or 70% of U.S. adults, now own some kind of portable entertainment device.