Best Buy’s TiVo-Powered HDTVs Launch 7/31

Dave Zatz —  July 15, 2011

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Announced a little over a year ago, it looks as if Best Buy’s Insignia-branded, TiVo-powered HDTVs are nearly upon us. From the original press release:

The new Insignia televisions will provide Best Buy customers with an exceptional, intuitive user experience for accessing online content by utilizing the latest TiVo non-DVR software and advanced television service. TiVo’s easy-to-use platform will give the viewer a one-stop-shop for delivering and searching content right on the television.

As expected, the product to be delivered features no DVR capabilities and represents TiVo’s first “connected” television – or cTV as Best Buy has christened it. Of course, the market is saturated with smart TVs at this point, yet Best Buy has tremendous marketing muscle and they’re obviously hoping TiVo’s famed user experience is compelling. In fact, TiVo’s integrated guide and universal search set it apart from most Internet-connected televisions hosting app silos. This new platform (running TiVo’s HDUI, no less!) also presents an opportunity to pump Best Buy’s Napster music streaming and CinemaNow video on demand services via WiFi. Of course, as an existing TiVo Premiere owner and someone in need of a new flat panel television, what would really set this offering apart from the competition is the ability to stream recorded content from an existing DVR on the other side of the house. Unfortunately, I can’t say one way or another if that’s on the docket.

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From the materials I’ve come across, you can clearly see that Best Buy intends to launch both 32″ and 42″ Insignia cTV TiVo HDTVs on July 31st. I don’t have any data on cost, and I’m afraid to speculate given the pricing variability in this space and without knowing how Best Buy intends to position this solution. But, I can tell you that “a TiVo subscription is not required.”

30 responses to Best Buy’s TiVo-Powered HDTVs Launch 7/31

  1. any idea if there will be a monthly service fee?

  2. Dave, Very nice scoop! If these support streaming from the Premiere or Premiere Elite I’m sold on the 42″ for my bedroom!

  3. will i be able to stream recordings from a premiere on the network? it better.

  4. Jon, did you see the note? TiVo subscription not required.

  5. sam, wow i read right over that… thanks!

  6. Will these include a completed HDUI, guide and all? :-P

  7. The way that advertisement is written it almost looks like an OTT solution only which doesn’t make a lot of sense. No Live TV integration / Guide will make this TV a big loser.

  8. Jon, I bolded the no subscription stuff since it’s easy to get lost betweenthe pics.

    Sam, I doubt they’d take on the expense or potential confusion of integrating a CableCARD. I would assume it has standard OTA ATSC tuning capabilities and I also assume this will be positioned as a smart TV. However, they’re going to need more apps and something more modern than that shabby Netflix app to compete. Of course, Premiere-to-DVR streaming could change the dynamics. There’s not many Premiere owners out there, but if we all buy TVs and tell our friends and family how cool it is, it could work out OK.

  9. I see a couple issues with this TV.

    – Limited universal remote support. Most people program the cable box remote to control the TV so the TiVo functionality will be lost. My Panasonic has some apps, but I use the TiVo remote so I never look at them.

    – Like Dave just posted, out of date apps will be a big distraction assuming you see them. Hopefully TiVo updated these for the TV which would mean one day we would see them on the TiVo but who knows when or even if.

    -I don’t see the point unless it has streaming from another TiVo since otherwise you are using a local box and then this goes back to the first issue of not using the TV remote.

  10. Good point on the remote, brennok. Speaking of which, will they be bundling something TiVo-esque with this?

  11. So will this have a CableCard? Do they still make TVs with CableCard support?

  12. So 7/31 is a Sunday. Does that mean the press release/announcement will be earlier (as in next week), that the date is a placeholder, or could the date have shifted? Hm.

  13. I’m skeptical about ability to stream from a TiVo box (would be incredibly cool though). Overall, I’m a little unclear on why this TV ever came to be; plenty of other smart-TV platforms out there with more apps.

    Re: remote control — they could bundle a Slide remote with it. It officially dropped in price this week to $59.99 (Amazon has it for $46.99).

  14. Maybe this will be the unveiling of a new Netflix application for TiVo.

  15. Maybe this will have streaming capabilities from the Premier. Then it would definitely have more appeal.

  16. I’m trying to figure out what the icons under the show description are. There is a Netflix one, but the blue rectangle and white G are new to me. Maybe the blue one is for broadcast tv, but don’t know of any G* video providers.

  17. Bill – That looks like the G in the Insignia logo. hmmm. the CinemaNow logo is right there too

  18. After reading this Insignia Community post I’m 99% certain that this box will not stream from other TiVo’s. Its OTT only.

    http://community.insigniaproducts.com/t5/Make-Your-Mark-The-Insignia-Blog/LOOK-MA-NO-BOX-Insignia-TiVo-tag-team/ba-p/10436

  19. “After reading this Insignia Community post I’m 99% certain that this box will not stream from other TiVo’s.”

    If true, that’s a shame. TiVo should really be trying to think of itself as a platform.

    There truly are platform synergies they can achieve if they think that way, even if usage seems minor in certain products.

  20. Seems as though the release of these TVs would be an ideal time for TiVo to also push out streaming from device to device (what better device to view it on?), Amazon instant video streaming (obviously can’t download to this), and an improved Netflix experience.

  21. This is simply TiVo getting their foot into the SmartTV market. This TV will have absolutely no tuning capabilities and brings nothing new to the SmartTV table except their universal search feature.

  22. Sam, Why would Best Buy foreshadow a TiVo feature that TiVo, Inc hadn’t even announced for retail products? And still hasn’t announced… (even though kinda sorta active)

    At the very least, we should assume it tunes ATSC OTA in addition to those online offerings. I’m not ready to throw in the towel on DVR-to-TV streaming. Although I do wonder about that 7/31 date and wish I’d hedged a bit. Hm, we shall see.

  23. I don’t get why they wouldn’t intigrate a DVR. Seems like common sense but maybe I’m missing something. Personally, all tvs should have a minimal dvr. Something that would allow even just up to 5-10 min of pausing, rewinding. It couldn’t possibly take up that much space in the hardware.

  24. So it’s a TiVo inside a TV, except without the DVR? So all we get is the online video access, like Netflix and YouTube? I’d rather have an AppleTV or Roku built into a TV.

  25. Marge Geneverra July 15, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Tivo with no DVR capability?

    Other than a Tivo-branded smart TV user interface, what’s the point?

    There are plenty of “smart” TVs out there, with apps for NEtflix, Amazon, etc. Also boxes like Roku.

    Add to that Best Buy’s high prices & I can’t see this going anywhere.

    I’m not sure that I even like the idea of smart TVs (although I own one). I like the idea of the TV as a monitor, and a separate smart box that I can swap out as technology changes. I can see the flat panel display lasting many years, while the “smart-part” going thru frequent evolution.

  26. From reading Insignia Community posts, it looks like some sort of local storage may be available to cache streaming content: “[b]asically, you’ll be able to access a ton of online content, like on-demand streaming movies from sites like Netflix, CinemaNow, Amazon on Demand or Blockbuster on Demand.”

    Doubt it means that Amazon Instant streaming for Prime customers is coming. Knowing glacial pace of TiVo’s improvements, they probably took AppleTV route (2nd-gen ATV forgoes HDD for 8GB flash for cache).

  27. Yeah, even the tiny, inexpensive Rokus provide some caching… and a trick play button! But I suspect TiVo won’t provide that feature on live TV – not because of any technological challenge, but because they’d prefer you buy a full fledged DVR.

  28. Dave–do you know what company manufactures the Insignia brand TV?

    Thanks!

  29. Funny you should ask… I’m researching similar this AM because these sets must have passed through the FCC approval process due to the WiFi capability. Was hoping to dig up some additional details. Unfortunately, some cursory web research doesn’t indicate who Best Buy/Insignia outsources to and actually seems to suggest they could lean on more than one manufacturer.

  30. if they have not updated the Netflix feature with the ability to browse that content and if there is not the prospect of being able to add other content apps – they it becomes a Why Buy and not a Best Buy.