update LAS VEGAS--Delivering the first keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates touted a partnership with TiVo during what was mainly a state of the union address on Microsoft's digital media strategy.

The television recording pioneer has enlisted Microsoft in its new TiVoToGo effort to offer mobile versions of TiVo-recorded programs. The service will allow owners of recent-vintage TiVo boxes to transfer programs to a Windows XP PC, from which the programs can in turn be shuttled to Microsoft-powered portable devices, such as Portable Media Center video gadgets and Smartphone mobile phones....
The presentation was marred by several technical glitches, including a Windows XP Media Center slide show that couldn't be launched and an Xbox game demonstration that abruptly ended with a blue-screen memory error.
Yes, another classic Microsoft demo moment that will be remembered forever....
Anyway, this TiVo To Go thing sounds pretty cool.  I went to set it up on my laptop yesterday, when I first read about it.  I was informed that my Windows Media Player didn't have the proper codec.  So, doing as instructed, I downloaded the Windows XP Video Decoder Checkup Utility.  A more draconian piece of software I haven't seen in a long time.  First of all, it was nearly useless in Firefox -- shocking.  I resented the whole "genuine Windows" checkup routine that I had to start with...took several minutes since Firefox is smart enough not to allow you to "open" a program directly from the web.  Especially good considering that MS was downloading an ActiveX control in this process.
Once I went through this whole Rube Goldberg contraption, including having to enter my Windows serial number (which is conveniently on the underside of the laptop), I was able finally determine what codecs I did have installed, and sure enough, none of them matched TiVo's supported list.  What does TiVo say you have to do?  Go buy them!  That is some deal they struck with Microsoft!!!  I wonder if any of those codec vendors is a shell owned by either MS or TiVo ;) (anyone care to recommend one in particular?)
Once this is all set up (and I still have to set something up on my desktop and TiVo unit, I believe), the feature sounds incredibly cool.  I would love to be able to watch my TiVo programs while on airplanes and in hotel rooms while travelling.  It's a great deal, and one which re-establishes TiVo's leading edge capabilites.  Kudos.
Link: CNET: Gates touts TiVo deal at CES >

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