TiVo, Apple, TiVo


New York Times’ had a brilliant epiphany this morning, TiVo has an Apple problem. Matt over at PVR Blog had asimilar moment last year. And I was just too far ahead of time to make sense to anyone back in September 2002. Here is what I wrote in Red Herring back in the day: Tivoted: If you think that Mac users are fanatical, you should check out the TiVoted, worshippers of the TiVo personal video recorder (PVR). As for TiVo the company, it’s no slam dunk. A cultlike following doesn’t necessarily translate into a huge market share. Just ask Steve Jobs. Of course you could read, Ta-Ta Tivo



Interesting comparison. In all honesty I think Apple should purchase Tivo. Tivo needs help to face the onslaugh of the TW and Comcasts. They need financial backing and Apple has 5 billion in reserves ready to make that next opportunity payoff big. Here’s the strategy

1. Apple purchases Tivo. Tivo STB are displayed and sold in every Apple retail store.

2. Apple, over time, rolls the Tivo subscription fees into their .Mac service. .Mac gives users a webmail account(15MB) and iDisk which is 100MB of online storage. Apple charges $99 a year for this but additional Tivo functionality would cost $120 per year.

3. Apple would eventually merge the Tivo STB with iTunes. The Tivo UI would stay the same but the familiar iPod UI would now handle music and photos would be added. Tivos would all have wired ethernet and Wifi . Tivos would support Quicktime giving them the ability to play multiple codecs.

4. Cable Card support would obviate the need for choosing a TW/Comcast STB.

What do the respective companies get in the deal?

Tivo- Gets larger financing and distribution. They get the backing of a company deeply involved in content creation and networking. Apple.

Apple -Get’s a platform in which to they can build off of. Tivo gives them Video recording and playback for the living room. They would only need to add iTunes Music Store support and Photo support to complete the Multimedia Masterstroke.

It’s fairly obvious that Apple’s success in getting the iTunes Music Store going will eventually parlay into an iTunes “Media” Store. I fully expect to be able to download movies and even software eventually. Apple can turn Tivo into a Mac and PC powerhouse that drives Digital Entertainment in the living room.


I’ve seen this strategy all over the place – the problem is that the store just doesn’t make much money. They need to own the content to make a lot of money because of their transaction, infrastructure and delivery costs.

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