October Surprise: TiVo to Stream Netflix

In the beginning, there was Netflix streaming movies and TV content to the PC, and it was “meh.” Then there was the Roku Netflix player and it was actually pretty good. And lo, then there was Netflix streaming to the Xbox, and the LG and Samsung Blu-Ray DVD players — and things got interesting. Today, Netflix announced that it has added TiVo to its list of streaming partners… and we were surprised.

This one came out of left field. Netflix had earlier said that it had four set-top box partners and with the announcement of Samsung last week we thought that was it. But, BAM! Here it comes with another brand-name partner.

Perhaps TiVo needs Netflix more than the other way around. TiVo has been hemorrhaging subscribers over the past year and a half. According to TVbytheNumbers.com, the DVR maker had 3.6 million subscribers in July 2008, the same level it had in July 2005.

Netflix on TiVo will be available to TiVo Series3, TiVo HD, and TiVo HD XL owners. The two companies will start testing the new service today in “several thousand” U.S. households, and they anticipate it will be widely available in early December (read: “Hey! Please ignore your cable DVR and buy a TiVo this holiday.”).

Our question: Given the TiVo models the service will be on, will they get HD streaming like Xbox is getting?