Archives For TiVo

appsLike other smart television platforms, TiVo’s had something of a revolving door policy when it comes to over-the-top services. Apps come, apps go – dependent upon business relationship, cost of upkeep (on aging platforms), etc. While TiVo has managed to keep the Netflix and Amazon tentpoles around, others such as Yahoo Weather, Dominos, and Rhapsody have all joined the deadpool. And, now, Spotify has exited, stage left. At least as far as Virgin Media TiVo subscribers are concerned. Granted, most TiVo apps aren’t updated at the frequency of other platforms, like Roku, and are comparatively slow to get going. In fact, when Spotify launched here, I did a little performance test… which was downright depressing. Yet, a notable TiVo marketing hook has been the merging of linear content and online services. So hopefully Spotify’s departure is limited to the UK and more a reflection of Virgin’s strategy (sorry, friends) than a foreshadowing of things to come here in the US on retail TiVo boxes.

(Thanks, Randy!)

tivo-next-gen-ui

While perusing the merger-related deluge of regulatory filings for notable nuggets, we learn that TiVo is developing a “Next Gen UI” (in addition to reinforcing another consumer product is coming, which we’ll discuss next). For color, Virgin Media indicates they “will be updating the existing TiVo set-top box to make its menus slicker and more picture-based.” Vertical lists of text are inefficient in many cases and TiVo’s taxonomy could use some work. I’ve also long said the existing interface isn’t optimized for the appification of television, which probably dovetails with that “next gen consumer product.” Further, I wonder if user profiles are still on the roadmap and when voice control will hit.

Sadly, as is the reality in this space (re: Roku), advertising will likely see increased representation in TiVo’s new look. From CEO Naveen Chopra:

We have had over the last few years a number of different approaches to monetizing that. That continues to evolve so it’s a business that we are still investing in, but it’s one that’s certainly in our discussions where we will continue to be a big priority for the combined company going forward. We think there’s lot of opportunity there. The advertising business in TiVo frankly has been subscale; it’s been something we think has been important to show what the next generation of advertising and interfaces can look like

For reference, TiVo’s current HDUI bowed with the Premiere in 2010… yet still hasn’t been completed. Hopefully, they can knock out their guide transition within the 90 day wind-down period (which I’m hearing is the likely timeframe) and deliver a (complete) graphical interface refresh in 2016.

(Thanks Sam!)

virgin-tivo

While perusing the merger-related deluge of regulatory filing for notable nuggets, I came across two fairly significant TiVo developments that I’d previously missed… in that Virgin has contracted the company to power its next-gen 4k set-top box (that probably isn’t a traditional DVR) in the UK and has extended their partnership through 2020.

Virgin Media is TiVo’s largest customer, by far, and the continued relationship surely assuages investors (and Rovi) over the short-term. Although, you have to wonder, at what point does Virgin’s parent company, Liberty Global, go for presumably more favorable pricing and corporate synergies by integrating their own Horizon platform?

Continue Reading…

From TiVo 10-Q Risk Factors:

Gracenote (formerly known as Tribune Media Services, Inc.) is currently the sole supplier of the program guide data for the TiVo service and we are transitioning the TiVo service to program guide data supplied by Rovi Corporation.  Gracenote is the current sole supplier of program guide data for the TiVo service. Our current Television Listings Data Agreement with Gracenote expired on May 19, 2016. On April 28, 2016, we entered into an agreement with Rovi Corporation to supply program guide data for the TiVo service after the expiration of our agreement with Gracenote. Our agreement with Gracenote provides us with a wind-down period post-expiration to allow for the transition of the TiVo service from use of Gracenote to alternative program guide data.  Gracenote has indicated that it is unwilling to provide a short term extension and that any longer term extension would be at a significant increase in cost. If we are unable to transition the TiVo service to use program guide data from Rovi by the end of the wind-down period (or if Gracenote ceased providing program guide data to the TiVo service prior to the expiration of the wind-down period and prior to our transition to Rovi program guide data), we would be subject to a period of time in which we are unable to provide the TiVo service to our customers and certain distribution partners, or alternatively, we may be unable to provide certain features or functionality which are currently part of the TiVo service for a period of time for our customers and certain distribution partners. In any of these events, our business would be harmed through the potential loss of customers, distribution partners and the associated revenues as well as potential contractual penalties and damages.

From Rovi CFO Peter Halt:

The consumer channel is one that has been very successful for TiVo. What people often forget is that the investment that they’re making in the consumer device is the same investment that they are making for the MSO provider. What the consumer channel gives them is a direct contact with the consumer and a very passionate loyal audience that gives them direct feedback. And it’s been a source of great innovation for them and stuff like that.

That said, being in the hardware business isn’t something that necessarily excites us. When we acquired Fanhattan and the Fan TV platform, they had an OEM relationship and we’re focused on a box solution. And when we acquired them, we said, we’d look to move to be box agnostic and be able to partner with box providers who can do that. There are several box providers out there who have direct-to-retail. We’ll be looking at the possibilities of working with them, having them control the box. And while that would be a partnership and we wouldn’t get all the sales as a result, we think that’s probably a better way to approach the consumer space. But don’t look for us to exit the consumer space.

tivo-bolt-packaging1

Photo via jccfin on TiVo Community. Thanks!

Just seven months after launch, TiVo has gone back to the drawing board on Bolt pricing. While we don’t yet know every detail, based on new packaging Best Buy shipped out prematurely, the included year of TiVo Bolt service is no more.

New white box:
TiVo service subscription is required and sold separately.

Prior black box:
First year of of TiVo Annual service included.

new-bolt-pricing

TiVo’s likely goals are to limit potential customer churn (when that first year is up) and to lower the barrier to entry. As such, leaked dealer pricing indicates both the TiVo Bolt 500GB and 1000GB units drop by $100. Of course, this is mostly smoke and mirrors… as, after one year of service, new customers would actually end up paying more, should monthly and annual pricing remain unchanged — which I suspect will be the case, when everything gets official May 2nd.

Fortunately, you have a few days to get in on the original TiVo Bolt and service dealio during what looks to be a ReplayTV-esque transition should you want to roll the dice. $232.40 for the Bolt, with a bundled 12 months of service, is extremely compelling… unless you were holding out for that possible pro-level box next fall.

Patent Trollvi rises…

Yes, the leaks were true. Rovi intends to purchase TiVo.

While TiVo creates amazing products and has successfully deployed their solution to numerous cable operators around the world, beyond patent litigation and licensing, they haven’t found much financial success. Basically, the writing was on the wall. Continue Reading…

tivo-roamio-ota

After blowing a 2015 holiday launch and abandoning their $1m “Aereo” acquisition, the TiVo Bolt OTA is seemingly shelved as an updated OTA-only Roamio DVR has been announced, featuring a generous 1TB of storage and favorable pricing, running $400 — that’s “all-in” with lifetime service, no recurring fees. Available May 2nd, this larger capacity Roamio OTA includes all the classic features you’d expect and a few new tricks, like commercial SkipMode. Sadly, given the intended audience, the box glaringly lacks newer cord cutter apps like a Sling TV or HBO NOW.