TiVo is planning to allow users to download programmes to their set-top boxes over the internet in a new trial service.

The digital video recorder company has written to subscribers saying that they will be introducing a number of broadband features in the autumn, including download delivery of selected television programmes, games, streaming radio and podcasting.

The current trial will involve three programmes, around an hour in total, which users can opt to download. It requires a TiVo Series2 model with a USB network adapter and a broadband internet connection.

TiVo has confirmed that it has a deal with the Independent Film Channel to offer a number of programmes to customers before they air on the cable channel.

IFC is a producer and theatrical distributor of independent films and provides the Independent Film Channel on cable television. The company is owned by Cablevision.

It follows reports that satellite broadcaster DIRECTV is planning to cease marketing TiVo to its customers as it promotes its own product, developed by NDS.

Many enthusiasts have pointed out that they are already able to download television programmes using various software and devices to receive both legal and illicit programming.