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Hands-on with TiVo's new "TiVoCast" and PC-to-TiVo functions

We were a bit hazy on the deets the first time around, but now that TiVo has unveiled its new TiVoCast "network content partners" for Series2 boxes, it turns out there really isn't too much more to tell. Despite TiVo's protestations, TiVoCasting is still pretty much straight up video podcasting, with rejiggered branding and a lack of user flexibility. The main news is that TiVo has managed to nab some fairly decent -- if not totally exclusive -- content for the service, including various programming from CBS Interactive, Reuters, Forbes, dLife, Plum TV and Nano, not to mention old standbys like Rocketboom, and our personal fav, Danger Rangers. Unfortunately, Plum TV looks to the main one providing full episodes over the service, while other networks are mainly repurposing their online or supplemental content for TiVoCasting. As for developing your own channel of TiVoCast content, TiVo has teamed up with One True Media to allow people to upload and edit their movies online, and then share them via TiVoCast with a special code given to friends and family with Series2 setups. Not quite the sort of TiVoCasting freedom we would hope for, but it might prove to be a welcome feature to Joe Consumer. What we found much more exciting was the new PC-to-TiVo functionality being rolled out the TiVo Desktop Plus 2.4. We've got a full walkthrough after the break, but the basic gist is that you can take pretty much any video file and shoot it on over to your TiVo with little hassle. You just set TiVo Desktop to watch a particular folder, and when you place files in there they get automatically transcoded over to TiVo's format and become available to your TiVo over the network. Keep reading for the lowdown.

Alright, we laid these out chronologically, so it shouldn't be too hard to follow along at home.

First, find a vid. Borat seemed to be the theme of the night -- no complaints here.

Download vid to TiVo folder.

Video gets automatically converted.

And can of course be previewed from TiVo Desktop.

Connecting to the PC from the TiVo.

Select the video.

Transfer the video -- real rocket science, eh?

Wait for the video. To be honest, this didn't take long at all to queue up, maybe 3-5 seconds.

Play the video.

And here we go!

As you can see, playback starts before the whole video is even transferred. The green bar denotes amount transferred. Quite slick.

Green bar gets a closeup.

And that's the gist of the new PC-to-TiVo functions -- simple but effective.

Now for One True Media:

Videos can contain text, video, pics and songs, and it all looked fairly easy to throw together in One True Media's web app.

Once you're done with the vid, just click "Add to Your TiVo Channel" -- video is exported at VGA quality.

Let your homies know what be up.

The video had already been downloaded to the TiVo, but it was all pretty straightforward anyways.

Aren't they the cutest!

Happy birfday Sarah!