Netflix Lands on TiVo!

Dave Zatz —  October 30, 2008

Over 4 years in the making, Netflix digital video has finally found its way to TiVo!

The process probably hasn’t played out exactly the way TiVo and Netflix anticipated when they initially inked a development agreement in 2004… In fact, the struggle to find content and move this project forward drove Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to declare there’s “no work going on,” “no content,” and “no point” in 2005. Fast forward a few years and it’s pretty clear that the landscape has drastically shifted. Content is everywhere and Netflix intends to serve as many platforms as possible: “We want to be integrated on every Internet-connected device, game system, high-definition DVD player and dedicated Internet set-top box.”

Any day now, Netflix on TiVo will head into beta. What you see above is a rendering provided by TiVo illustrating the potential experience, and doesn’t represent the final UI. However, the new functionality is expected to be delivered to Series 3 and TiVo HD units quite soon – before the holidays. Why no Series 2 support you ask? The S2 chipset isn’t capable of handling the VC-1 encoded Netflix video, which also happens to be protected by Microsoft DRM. While I’ve got no insider info on this specific point, I’m hoping this new codec support and digital rights management platform paves the way for high definition TiVo video services from Amazon, CinemaNow, Jaman, and of course Netflix.

Press release follows:

TIVO AND NETFLIX ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP TO INSTANTLY STREAM MOVIES AND TV EPISODES FROM NETFLIX DIRECTLY TO THE TV THROUGH TIVO DVRs

Deal Provides Netflix with New Content Distribution Channel, Solidifies TiVo’s Leading Position as One-Box Solution for Simple Navigation and Delivery Of the Best Entertainment Content to the TV

ALVISO, Calif. and LOS GATOS, Calif.,  October 30, 2008 — TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ: TIVO), the creator of and a leader in television services for digital video recorders (DVRs) and Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), the world’s largest online movie rental service, today announced that they are teaming up to provide Netflix and TiVo® Series3, TiVo HD, and TiVo HD XL subscribers with the ability to have thousands of movies and TV episodes instantly streamed from Netflix directly to their TVs.

The two companies said they are initiating a test of the new capability today in several thousand U.S. households and expect it to be broadly available in early December, in time for the holidays.  The ability to instantly watch content from Netflix on the TV via TiVo DVRs will be offered at no additional charge to customers who subscribe to both services.

The agreement provides Netflix with an important new technology partner to instantly stream a growing library of more than 12,000 choices of movies and TV episodes directly from Netflix to the TV.  It also solidifies TiVo’s leading position for simple navigation and delivery of the best entertainment content to the TV.

“For Netflix and TiVo subscribers, this collaboration offers a fabulously easy way to enhance the enjoyment of watching movies in the comfort of their living rooms,” said Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix.  “Subscribers to Netflix and TiVo are avid movie watchers and this combination gives them immediate access to all of the great content available through TiVo and the thousands of additional choices available to be streamed instantly from Netflix.”

“Joining forces with Netflix creates the ultimate video on demand service and solidifies TiVo’s leading position as the one-box solution for aggregating, searching, and delivering the best content available anywhere right to the TV,” said Tom Rogers, president and CEO of TiVo Inc. “Adding Netflix to our already vast library of content differentiates TiVo even further from any other offering in the market today.”

Integrating the Netflix streaming functionality into the TiVo experience will result in quick and easy access to a growing list of movies and TV episodes that can be watched instantly at Netflix.  Movies streamed from Netflix via specified TiVo DVRs is done through a wired or wireless broadband connection and a Netflix Queue-based user interface.  Members visit the Netflix Web site to add movies and TV episodes to their individual instant Queues.  Those choices will automatically be displayed on subscribers’ TVs and available to watch instantly through the TiVo service.  With the TiVo remote control, users will be able to browse their instant Queue, make selections right on the TV screen, and also have the ability to read synopses and rate movies.  In addition, they will have the option of pausing, fast-forwarding, rewinding and re-starting whenever they wish.

For more information on how to have movies instantly streamed from Netflix via your TiVo DVR visit www.tivo.com/netflix.

24 responses to Netflix Lands on TiVo!

  1. Way cool.

    Glad I was on the west coast so I didn’t have to stay up until midnight to get the big news from you.

    Bill

  2. This is really good news. Been waiting for this for a while. I guess I will finally have to upgrade from my Series 2 box.

  3. Darn, http://www.tivo.com/netflix doesn’t seem to be live yet.

  4. Another question…

    What about Liquid TV support?

    Sure, I know you can already want your Netflix movies on your PC but I want to download them and use my remote.

    Bil

  5. Thanks for the heads up, Dave. That’s really great news. Can’t wait to see it. The more devices and avenues for viewing Netflix gets on board, the more incentive they have to add more content to Instant Watching, and more leverage to use against the movie houses/networks to speed up that process.

    Yay, TiVo! Netflix, DirecTV, Comcast…. it’s all coming up TiVo.

  6. Bill, it’ll be a streaming service – like they already offer on Roku, PC, etc. So, no download options as far as I know.

    James, the press release will officially hit the wires this AM and I expect that link to work about when it does.

  7. Dave, any idea if the much desired return of the DirecTivo will support this feature next year when its due to come out?

  8. Jack, I haven’t heard either way. But if you force me to guess, I’d say heck no. ;)

  9. ohh its like christmas came early.

    i am hoping we can get a hold of this early

  10. This is exciting news for the TiVo world but unless they offer high definition streams I won’t be signing up for it. Since I’m not a Netflix subscriber right now, it’d be silly for me to pay a monthly fee when I can get (pretty much) the same videos from Unbox.

    Of course, once HD streams arrive I’ll be hopping on that bandwagon and canceling any Blu-ray plans I might have. Woohoo!

  11. henderpa, Dan over at Silicon Alley Insider heard from Netflix that content would ultimately be offered in HD. (Though I haven’t received confirmation from TiVo, but that’s there M.O.) Just an FYI that Netflix is way more economical than Amazon Unbox… An unlimited 1-disc rental plan runs $8.99/month I believe, which also gets you unlimited streaming. Of course there are also differences in content – Amazon has more first run, mainstream movies to choose from.

  12. Big picture: this is the death of premium cable.

    Why pay an extra $5, $10 a month for HBO and Cinemax? Buy the one or two shows you want to watch (DVD, unbox, AppleTV), and get the crappy movies from Netflix.

    No wonder Comcast wants that 5 giga limit to downloads.

  13. Charlie, it’s even better (or worse?)… Netflix also offers television content, like Showtime’s Dexter and Weeds. :D FYI The Comcast cap is 250GB and most people will struggle to hit it… If the average two hour HD video download is 6GB, you’d have to watch a lot of content via the Internet to come close.

  14. Does this mean that this won’t be coming to series 2 or that it will just be awhile before they have the ability to stream it to series 2?

  15. mamul, You won’t see it on the Series 2. The hardware isn’t capable and I seriously doubt they’ll make changes to the source content to enable it. Time to upgrade?

  16. Oh man! I’ve waited 4 years for this. Thanks for the info!

  17. Very nice. With YouTube and Netflix only on the Series 3, it is certainly time to upgrade.

  18. any word on how to get on the list of testers??

  19. LOL. I almost forgot that Neftlix and TiVo had an agreement since nothing had been done.

    I’m really interested in how HD streaming is going to work and how much content it will eventually have. Although, if they don’t allow us to select desired quality level and do the whole dynamic thing, it might be useless.

    Bottom line is that I want TV shows in HD, dang it! Since many of them don’t make it on Blu-Ray, there needs to be a good way to get them without resorting to, ahem, “other” means.

  20. Jon, I assume TiVo will pull from their existing roster of beta testers. I did ask for advance access, but was denied as a member of the “media”… but you might want to throw your hat in the ring here: http://www.tivo.com/beta

  21. Still a slap in the face to the Series 2 owners. I just bought the Series 2 box this year and have been waiting for this promised Netflix/Tivo partnership for 4 years. Now I have to buy another box to replace one that’s less than a year old. Thanks for nothing Tivo.

  22. I’d love to hear the backstory on this. Why did it take so long? Who botched the first round? Was it Hastings/Ramsay or maybe the Rogers stepping in as new CEO? Or was it purely technical (ie Series 2 didn’t have enough ooomph. And why now? Who revived the relationship or was it stealth all the time? Dave you up to the task? Tivoers are dying to know!! We’ll really we’re just dying to use it.

  23. PT Pete, Nah I’m not up the task. It’s my understanding the original deal was unwound in 2005 when they couldn’t find content. Netflix has very clearly stated their strategy is to spread their content far and wide and TiVo’s Series3/HD platforms are capable of handling Netflix video encoding – though it’s probably taken some work to enable both the codec and Microsoft DRM. I do wonder if money flows in either direction or if they’re both content with the marketing angle…

  24. It would be nice if they included subtitles at least in English. Its been very irritating to see a lack of support for this from many different companies.