Once upon a time, futurists imagined television sets that would let you buy what characters or news anchors were wearing. That hasn't really come to pass, but TiVo and PayPal will be rolling out a similar service: ads for products that can be purchased on-screen. Beginning in fall of this year, TiVo says it will work with advertisers to create PayPal-enabled commercials and Showcase promotions. Customers will be able to set up and save a link to their PayPal account, after which they can use the remote to purchase items and have them automatically charged and shipped to the address on file.
It's an interesting idea, a sort of one-click shopping for television viewers or a home shopping system without the phone. It's also a shift of the online advertising mindset — with its focus on direct conversions — into an older medium. TiVo already offers various forms of interactive ads, and this partnership could end up blurring the line between TV and computer even more.