More Good News for Time-Shifting TV Viewers

Early last week, Instant Video Technologies announced that it has acquired Delaware-based Timeshift-TV, a developer of digital-video technology that allows users to "personalize their TV viewing experience by adding VCR functionality to live broadcasts." Similar in concept to recent products released by TiVo and RePlay, these digital recording devices are aimed at giving consumers more control over when and how they watch their favorite TV shows.

This marks the first acquisition by San Francisco-based Instant Video Technologies, which the company says will enable it to add time-shifted, real-time broadcasting capabilities to its intellectual-property assets. IVT currently holds patents relating to "faster-than-real-time" delivery of video and audio over networks—a technology that underlies IVT's Burstware software. IVT says its intention is to incorporate aspects of Timeshift-TV's technology into upcoming releases of Burstware.

IVT's chairman and CEO, Richard Lang, states that "Timeshift-TV's technology puts control over broadcast television scheduling in the hands of the viewer. The technology dovetails well with IVT's faster-than-real-time video and audio burst technology by giving users full, VCR-like control in conjunction with IP network video delivery. We believe the combination of time-shift functionality and Burstware software will also have particular relevance in set-top box implementations."

According to Lang, Timeshift-TV's technology provides "always-on" cyclical buffering that lets users choose a program already in progress and watch it from the beginning, while the show continues to be recorded. Viewers can pause and skip forward or back within a broadcast. The company also claims that Timeshift-TV can record several channels simultaneously.

Lang also states that the technology underlying Timeshift-TV originated several years before the emergence of other digital-TV technologies available today. "IVT intends to leverage important features that distinguish Timeshift-TV's technology from other digital VCR technologies to tap into new markets and applications," says Lang.