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In TiVo’s (NSDQ: TIVO) latest attempt to differentiate itself from the commodity DVR box makers, the company is partnering with Rhapsody to let subscribers directly access the subscription music service for a $12.99 monthly fee. As with the normal Rhapsody service, customers will have the option of trying it for free before committing, while Rhapsody subscribers who already have the necessary equipment will get the service at no extra charge. Financial terms of the agreement were undisclosed. Release.
For a long time, TiVo has had higher aspirations than simply being a premium DVR vendor, as it wants its boxes to be gateways to a digital living room or “internet hubs.” But while its piecemeal assemblage of third-party content services (Amazon’s (NSDQ: AMZN) UnBox, Fandango, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) Weather, etc.) is popular with some users, it hasn’t translated into financial success. It still hasn’t regularly turned a profit in the industry it spawned, nor is it expected to do so anytime soon. The company’s stock is up on the year, although that’s partly due to the company’s successful patent suits against satellite operators.
It’s hard to see this latest partnership moving the needle much. Consumers remain skeptical about subscription music, and the fact that such a service can now be accessed through a set-top box isn’t likely to change that. NYT’s Brad Stone does a good job explaining just how unappealing this offering is for him, as a consumer: “I