TiVo’s Quarterly Call (Brings Me Down)

On the financial end, TiVo’s quarterly call yesterday was largely depressing. USA Today summarizes:

The digital video recorder pioneer said late Wednesday that it took an $11.2 million write-down in the quarter ended in July for leftover standard DVRs. […] The 18-cents-per-share loss far exceeded the 5-cent loss expected by analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial. […] TiVo added just 623,000 subscriptions in the last two years as the number of homes with DVRs grew 161% to 23.5 million, according to Leichtman Research Group.

Not much good news there… However, Megazone listened in and reports on the Comcast front:

one of the first things I noticed is that Comcast has agreed to fund further development of the OCAP software to bring it to additional platforms beyond the Motorola DVRs, including Scientific Atlanta DVRs. […] TiVo on Comcast is continuing to progress well and Comcast stated: “we will commence the TiVo rollout process shortly, which will continue rolling out throughout the fall in Comcast’s New England Division including metro Boston, Southeast Massachusetts and New Hampshire.”

After all this time, I wouldn’t have used the word “well” to describe their (slooow) progress. But I’m happy to hear a specific launch time frame and locale, though they neglected to mention pricing. Comcast needs to rapidly expand beyond the New England division if TiVo is going to capitalize on this arrangement. (And they need to.) Given Comcast’s extended development bankrolling (now SciAtl boxes!), that’s exactly what they must intend. (I wonder if Cox is paying for the same thing. It’s been a year… When will they roll out TiVo software?)

Megazone also picked up on forthcoming Amazon Unbox “progressive downloads” that can be watched as they are received. An interesting tidbit, but what they really need is HD content. Which TiVo must know… CEO Tom Rogers said yesterday that HDTV growth “progressed at a pace that surprised many in the industry, including us.”

On the valuation front, Bear Stearns believes:

TiVo undergoing a transformation which is not well appreciated by the market, in our view. Several new initiatives are currently not included in our model, like Stop||Watch and the international opportunity, which represent upside to our valuation.

Both these areas are seeing movement: Another ad agency subscribed to StopWatch this week and it sounds like Spanish-language TiVo units will be available in Mexico City any day now (via Cablevision). Though it’s too early to discuss Australia, given the unique EPG situation and TiVo’s non-existent DVB-T hardware.

Last but not least, after yesterday’s Deal of the Day, I asked one of my TiVo contacts if we’d ever see another unit with an optical drive. The short answer: It’s been considered, but there are no current plans.

Disclosure: I have never bought, sold, or owned TiVo stock.

7 thoughts on “TiVo’s Quarterly Call (Brings Me Down)”

  1. Sad thing is, I have two (upgraded) Series 2 units in use and another two in storage for parts (ebay cheapies), since the power supplies don’t seem to like life all that much.

    I’d buy a new Tivo HD, (or two), but without TivoToGo and networking to another Tivo capabilities, why would I bother.

    Yes, HD would be a step up, but the lack of portability and not being able to share shows from the Living Room to the Bedroom is too large of a step down to switch at this time.

    I know, all planned for the future, but it’s not like the price is going to go up, so I’ll just wait…

  2. I’m waiting on my second HD TiVo as well. Even if TiVoToGo and MRV make it this year (as suggested), I wonder what sort of restrictions we might see on digital content and I worry most about transfer times. TTG & MRV are pretty slow with standard def content (on S2 hardware), so I wonder how bad it might be with HD. Supposedly Moxi’s upcoming retail box will move HD across coax (Firewire spec) in real time which appeals. (Another example: Verizon’s FiOS TV moves SD content in real time over coax.)

  3. Good point(s). I’m usually an early adopter, but I also remember waiting six years for TTG on the Mac platform.

  4. Just bought another S2DT to provide the multiroom stuff for the HD I intend to get soon. As with others I can’t live without this capability, but its time to get HD. I would buy more if the capabilies were there, i.e. replace every other Tivo I’ve got.

    wrt transfer times, I’m probably going to go Ethernet to resolve this, assuming its even possible to do MR for HD. 802.11n so far isn’t worth much until Tivo certifies an 802.11n adapter. Even then I’d have to do tests in my (crowded) frequency band…

  5. and once MRV is enabled on TivoHDs, I wonder if you’ll be able to go back and forth (albeit at lower quality) between HD and non-HD Tivos…

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