Tivo Halts Sales

Dave Zatz —  September 18, 2005

TiVo LogoIn a strange turn of events, Tivo is no longer accepting orders for DVR units via phone or web. Unconfirmed posts suggest the company they outsource sales duties to has folded. Upon calling 1-877-BUY-TIVO a recording informed me, We are currently experiencing technical difficulties. Please visit our website. However, potential web customers are being directed to Order at Best Buy and informed that we are temporarily unable to offer gift subscriptions. Furthermore Tivo no longer has an outlet to sell Tivo-branded accessories, such as replacement remotes, and is unable to fulfill TivoRewards.

TiVo LogoA year after announcing a partnership with Netflix, Tivo quietly updated their online account management tool this week allowing us to Enable Video Downloads.

Tivo says: Use this setting to enable a DVR to download TV shows, movies, and other video content from the TiVo service over your broadband Internet connection. Specific program offerings will vary from time to time and may not be available to all subscribers. You can turn this setting on or off at any time without charge. Changes to this setting take up to 24 hours to take effect. Your TiVo DVR must be connected to the Internet via broadband in order to download video.

Over 8 million UMD movies have been sold for the Sony PSP encouraging GameFly, the video game rental service, to begin offering flicks via mail-order last month. So I gave Netflix a call to see if they’re still sitting this one out. Steve Swasey, Director of Corporate Communications, told me Netflix has no plans to rent UMD movies saying it’s a “highly specialized, marginal” market niche. Instead Netflix is focusing new media attention on high definition DVD offerings. Meanwhile, Tom’s Hardware reports Sony will be increasing production of UMD movies from 200,000/day to 500,000/day to keep up with demand and they expect to sell 130 million discs in 2008.

With such high UMD movie production goals, will we be seeing UMD set-top boxes, PS3 UMD accessories, or even a new Sony Clie line in the future?