Rumor Mill: What’s Next for TiVo?

TiVo plans to unveil a major new product at an event in New York next Tuesday, but has declined to provide any specifics, instead describing the product as the “next step in the evolution of DVRs.” TiVo’s CEO Tom Rogers added fuel to the fire of speculations by telling Bloomberg about “a stunning new way” of finding and selecting video.

TiVo has been in serious need of innovation for some time. Not only is the company bleeding subscribers, but its hardware lineup hasn’t seen any major updates in years. Of course, TiVo still has more than a few fans with hopes that the company will be able to turn its fate around, and many are speculating about what could come next for TiVo. We’ll be at the company’s event on Tuesday to report on what TiVo’s future really looks like. In the meantime, here’s a selection of rumors floating around on the Interwebs.

TiVo Premiere. Patrick McCarron reported in December that TiVo accidentally sent him the wrong paperwork with his new DVR, revealing that there will be a device called the TiVo Premiere. The docs revealed that the device will have one multi-stream cable card, no phone jack (thank god) and no S-video.

Engadget added to those rumors yesterday by reporting that Best Buy’s intranet already lists a TiVo Premiere and a TiVo Premiere XL product. The Premiere version will sell for $299 and offer up to 45 hours of HD video, with the XL being priced at $499 with a capacity of up to 150 hours of HD, as well as THX audio. Both devices promise “access top on-demand movies, TV shows, music videos, web videos and more.” Both devices will be available for sale starting March 27th.

QUERTY remote. Engadget reported last November that TiVo mentioned a “keyboard remote control” during its third-quarter 2009 earnings call. A full keyboard remote would make sense. TiVo’s peanut remote control used to make a lot of sense when users were primarily scheduling recordings through its program guide, but the addition of on-demand features and extensions that require entering search terms with an on-screen keyboard make it painfully obvious that the peanut won’t cut it much longer.

Flash. TiVo has been hinting at using Flash for a while, but it seems to get serious with these plans now: The company’s current job listings include two openings for a “Senior Software Engineer – Flash/ActionScript,” and both would be “responsible for the overall architecture and development of new FlashLite applications along with a large team of local and off-shore developers.” Yeah, you got that right: A team working on Flash apps that would run on an embedded version of FlashLite. Maybe the company will even launch a platform that will be open to outside app developers?

So what do you think: What’s in store for March 2nd? What does TiVo have to offer to turn its fate around, and what would possibly get you to buy a new Premiere DVR? Let us know in the comments.

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