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Rumor Mill: What’s Next for TiVo?

TiVo (s 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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12 Responses to “Rumor Mill: What’s Next for TiVo?”

  1. I’d pay up to $1000 for a Tivo that did this:

    *3 or 4 Tuners
    *1 Terabyte storage
    *Slingbox functionality for remote viewing
    *Streams Hulu as well as
    *Aggregates, Searches, and RECORDS streaming Internet video for later viewing
    *Plays (DLNA) media files from USB and home networks
    *App Store – open the Tivo platform to external widgets
    *Export video files in H.264 format
    *Optional Blu-Ray player
    *QWERTY remote control
    *Facebook integration
    *Complete info with full show history and episode reviews
    *IMDB integration for cast information

  2. My guess is that TIVO is going to shift from a pure DVR company to one that is going to compete with all of the aggregators out there. There will be a “TIVO Premiere” application that they will offer to other device manufacturers and they will also offer this on their own box. They will also launch an app store and essentially provide a way for content producers to offer their content directly to TIVO customers, bypassing the cable companies. This should intensify competition among Vudu, Boxee, Roku, and the numerous other players in the space. Should be interesting to see how this plays out.

  3. While the addition of a Qwerty remote would be neat, I don’t see how it would really add all that much to their current interface. Since I think that they will be launching the Qwerty remote, it makes me suspect that the software is going to be changed to support an internet browser. This would make it easier for TiVo to tap into Hulu,,, etc. without having to pay for distribution. I also think that we could see them add DLNA support so that consumers can watch DivX files without having to pay for a software upgrade.

    • I wish you ere right, but I somehow doubt that Tivo will go down the Boxee route, offering web content through a browser without striking licensing deals. Tivo is in business with cable companies, Comcast being one of them, and those guys really don’t like the idea of a browser-based set-top box.

  4. Saying this isn’t merely a new wrinkle promoted as the second coming of Christ, it would have to be even more dramatic than the three possibilities you mentioned in your article. Something that takes TiVo from an add-on to primary provider. Possibly bypassing cable and satellite TV by coming a competitor?

  5. Just mentioned in a recent post that TiVo should acquire Sezmi. They need to be less dependent on cable/satellite (who screwed them anyway) and they have a subscriber base to market products to that, while shrinking, is still very large for Sezmi’s desired penetration. I’m assuming also that Sezmi’s 1 TB DVR could benefit from TiVo’s software and UI, which users are already familiar with.

    Here’s the post: Sezmi and TiVo