Amazon Partners With Tivo; Steals Walmart's Thunder

On the same day that Walmart launched a competing movie download service and then fell flat on their face over simple browser compatibility issues, Amazon announced an incredibly cool, long rumored new partnership with Tivo.

After several months of rumors, Amazon and TiVo have partnered to make Amazon Unbox content available from user PCs to their broadband-connected TiVo units.

The service hasn’t fully rolled out yet — a few hundred users are testing now. Plan is to roll-out the full service to all consumers by year end. Also, not all TiVo units work for this ( e.g. DirecTV or Comcast) and not all Unbox content either (e.g. Sony and Disney, yet). Other restrictions include: Mac users still can’t watch Amazon Unbox films on their computers, but are able to download them to TiVos; and limits cover two PCs, two TiVos or one of each — PCs can link with two portable devices. Still, this gives Amazon a horse in the race against Apple, which just started selling their Apple TV product. Now both Apple and Amazon have a way of getting their content into your living room even if you don’t have a PC connected to your television.

TiVo owns a coveted spot in millions of living rooms and has terabytes of aggregated viewing data on millions of consumers — when is someone going to wake up and buy? Could you imagine the targeted ads Google could deliver to the TV based on all that mined data? Or does Yahoo / Microsoft want to get that first-mover advantage and have instant ad inventory on the broadband-connected TV?

Editor’s Note: This post was written by guest contributor Steve Poland, whose blog Techquila Shots brainstorms web start-up ideas.