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TiVo upgrade allows instant response to TV ads

TiVo has introduced a feature that lets television viewers send personal information directly to advertisers when they see certain commercials, a move designed to open up TiVo’s technology to more markets.

The move underscores advertising’s importance to the future of TiVo, which comes only a few years after its introduction sent a chill through the ad sector with technology that let TV watchers skip over ads, Reuters reported.

TiVo will now give advertisers direct access to viewers who are interested in their wares. The DVR maker said the upgrade lets some one million of its Series 2 stand-alone subscribers instantly respond to specially encoded advertising.

However, TiVo says the changes will not affect the way users normally view shows and skip ads, and will not force them to watch any ads they choose to ignore.

Under the new system, consumers can select an option to tell TiVo to release their contact information to an advertiser. For example, after watching an ad for an automobile or family vacation, users can use the remote control to request a brochure be sent to their home.

Reuters noted that many consumers purchase DVRs hoping to avoid commercials. But TiVo said that lots of users choose to watch long-form commercials, typically about cars or Hollywood films, after they are downloaded discretely to TiVo set-top boxes.

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