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TiVo, Amazon Partner for Digital Movie Downloads

Consumers able to purchase TV, movies and watch on TiVo units.

Digital downloads have hit the living room.

While media center fanboys might argue otherwise, Mac fanboys are pointing to the Apple TV and Xbox 360 owners are busy watching HD movies, TiVo fanboys (myself included) have got to be psyched now that movies and TV shows from's Unbox will be available for download on Series 3 and Series 2 units, according to USA Today.

The companies say they will test "Amazon Unbox on TiVo" in a few hundred homes for an undisclosed period. Then they will offer it to any of the 600,000 TiVo subscribers who have their DVR connected to a broadband home network.

"We're taking this world of digital video content that is now available via broadband to PC users and putting it smack in the middle of the living room to make it a comfortable television viewing experience," says TiVo CEO Tom Rogers.

So what's the catch?

Well, apparently consumers who get TiVo through a subscription to DirecTV -- about 63 percent (!) -- can't use it, and neither can Comcast subscribers who get TiVo service in the cable company's DVR (expected to be offered this year).

And it's implied that users will have to go to on their computers to purchase the content, rather than doing it all straight from the TiVo unit.

TiVo users will go to to sign up and designate where they want movies and TV shows they buy to be sent. Unbox will send purchases to two TiVos, two Windows PCs or one of each. The PC then can load the video on up to two portable devices using Windows copy protection (no iPods). Buyers can burn DVD copies for backup, but they won't play in a DVD player.

(Sidebar: How pointless is it to backup a movie to DVD and then NOT be able to play it in a DVD player?)

Considering the fact that the official Unbox on TiVo FAQ doesn't mention anything about high-definition content, it surely seems that shows and movies will not be in HD.

Nevertheless, this is a big step for digital downloads as they make their way into the living room.

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