Rhapsody Music Service Lands On TiVo

The TiVo Rhapsody music service announcement made last January bears fruit today:

With Rhapsody on TiVo, you can choose from millions of songs, search for your favorites, tune in to continuous music on Rhapsody Channels, and build your own library—straight from your TV using your TiVo remote. Whether you’re in the mood for classical, hip-hop, or anything in between, it’s all just a few clicks away. And with a Rhapsody membership, you can listen all you want, without the need to buy individual songs.

Essentially, anyone with a Rhapsody account ($12.99/mo, free 30 day trial) will be able to access “artists, albums, playlists and channels” via a broadband-connected Series2 or Series3 TiVo. TiVo intends to flip the switch and activate the service today under the Music & Photos DVR menu, but you’ll need the fall software update (v9.1) to partake.

Having been a prior Rhapsody customer, I do appreciate their music service… on a computer or portable device. I’ve gone down the TiVo/TV-as-Jukebox path before and it doesn’t really do much for me. And now, with my precious plasma, I just want to turn it off when not watching something. Having said that, this new service does represent a significant technical accomplishment and further differentiates TiVo from generic DVRs.

17 thoughts on “Rhapsody Music Service Lands On TiVo”

  1. A few more thoughts… How many joint subscribers are there? How many new TiVo or Rhapsody subscriptions will this generate? (FYI I believe there are about 2.5 million Rhapsody subscribers and about 1.5 million stand-alone TiVo customers.) Would it have made more sense to devote engineering resources to beefing up TiVo’s own PC/Mac music streaming software? What happened to the other half of the January announcement – where’s the Music Choice video downloads?

  2. You should really take a look at Galleon (http://galleon.tv). One of its many applications is a music app. They have something called a jukebox which basically gives you the ability to create a play list on the fly on the TiVo. It even has a configurable screen saver that will keep your plasma happy.

  3. Meant to say, “you should really try Galleon as a standalone”. Adding in the whole shoutcast / winamp thing is a level of complication that just isn’t necessary. If you want streaming radio, there is an app for that as well.

  4. Were they really video downloads or just stills with streaming music?

    $12.99 sounds like a lot of money. Compare that to satellite radio subscriptions. Where is the package of Rhapsody & TiVo service where you get $3 off for subing both?

  5. Irwin, I’ve been using (and writing about) Galleon for several years. I’ve also tried a few other solutions, such as AudioFaucet. And as HDTiVo says, there’s already an audio streaming service in Live365. (And TiVo’s software isn’t half bad on the Mac since it uses playlists… if your tunes aren’t gunked up with DRM.) It’s the idea of using the TV as a jukebox that doesn’t really work for me. Around the house a docked iPod or XM receiver or even just tunes playing via computer is fine. For streaming around the house, I’d rather use a Squeezebox than TiVo/TV.

    HDTiVo, Good point on the missing joint subscription discount. Maybe they’ll offer a bundle deal at some point when the subscriber count is low.

  6. > Would it have made more sense to devote engineering resources to beefing up TiVo’s own PC/Mac music streaming software?

    I believe this software was developed by Real Networks so it didn’t use any of TiVo’s resources.

  7. I think the market from Tivo’s perspective is those people who have Rhapsody’s service already, but don’t have Tivo.

    Suddenly these people now have the opportunity to connect all these songs seemlessly to their entertainment center, and control it all from their remote.

    If they even get 10% of Rhapsody’s sub base to sign up for a Tivo sub, thats 250K subs. Not bad at all.

  8. One more summer of college, get my degree and go to work in Tivo’s Long-Range Planning Dept. – just gotta keep the company afloat for one more year… Rhapsody is nice and all but this feature is like 2-yrs too late to the game. That and all the new apps on my S2 have the thing really bogged down and menu-heavy.

    That and I just broke down and got the HR20-700 from DirecTV. Adding the D* dish to the mix of 7 Tivos for the HD.

  9. I’m thinking the trade off between Rhapsody and TiVo investing in its own streaming software involves the issue of access to the huge content base of Rhapsody.

    Very few people will get TiVo to add to their rhapsody, and rhapsody will have a small impact on TiVo subscriber retention. The existence of the combination may grab a few new users to both.

  10. BozzyKid, I spoke to a few reps of TiVo and Real tonight. While at first blush it does seem like the bulk of the development costs may have been picked up by Real, I get the sense that the business relationship and development process isn’t so clearly or simply defined.

  11. Also tried this out, the wife is hooked on it….she keeps trying to stump it with obscure 80’s bands…she has not succeeded.

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