SEATTLE: Online retail giant and personal video recorder pioneer TiVo are jointly offering a video download service to bridge the gap between PCs and TV.

Amazon Unbox is being tested on a limited group of TiVo subscribers who will be able to rent or buy videos, download them directly to a set-top box, then watch them like any other recorded program via their TV.

Avers TiVo ceo Tom Rogers: "It's one thing for viewers to be looking at YouTube content online, but when it comes to full-length television and movies, for most people, it's not television until it's really on the TV."

The full service is expected to debut later this year and will be available to the 1.5 million TiVo DVRs with broadband capability.

Adds Bill Carr, Amazon's vp of digital media: "We think this is a breakthrough. We're providing people with the simplest way to actually play back their digital content on a television set."

  • Wal-Mart, America's largest seller of DVD movies, this week also launched its long-awaited download service featuring over 3,000 movies from all Hollywood's major studios.

    It trumps Amazon's deal which does not include Walt Disney films; while the other main download rival, Apple's iTunes, offers just Disney and Paramount movies.

    Hypes Kevin Swint, Wal-Mart divisional merchandise manager for digital media: "With thousands of movie and TV titles now available for download, coupled with the strength of our successful physical DVD business, this is an unprecedented offering of video content, features and capabilities currently unmatched in the market."

    Data sourced from multiple sources; additional content by WARC staff