Amazon.com Inc. and TiVo Inc. will begin testing on Wednesday a service that lets users watch videos rented or bought over the Internet directly on televisions, as part of a trend to link personal computers and TVs.
The announcement from the two companies comes a day after Wal-Mart Stores Inc. introduced a test version of its video download service, which is the first by a major retailer to have the backing of all Hollywood’s major movies studios.
Amazon’s TiVo partnership extends the online retailer’s Unbox download service, and takes it one step further than online video stores like Wal-mart’s or Apple Inc.’s iTunes, which are geared toward computers or portable devices.
Movies and TV shows from “Amazon Unbox on TiVo” will be available to download to a customer’s TiVo box from computers for playback on their television set.
“It’s one thing for viewers to be looking at YouTube content online, but when it comes to full-length television and movies, for most people, it’s not television until it’s really on the TV,” TiVo Chief Executive Tom Rogers said in a phone interview ahead of the announcement.
The test service comes as media and technology companies experiment with new ways to court viewers who split their time between viewing traditional media, surfing the Internet and playing video games.