TiVo & Nero Collaborate on PC DVR Software

This can’t be good news for Beyond TV, SageTV, and ReplayTV… TiVo’s entering the PC software DVR market (!) with Nero at an unspecified time and price. A few years ago, perhaps before current CEO Tom Rogers took the helm, PC DVR software was alluded to at a conference call – But I had assumed the idea had long been passed over. If TiVo was doing this on their own, I’d say it was a bone-headed move for a niche market owned by Microsoft’s Media Center these days. However, TiVo’s expense and risk are probably low by partnering with Nero. And as the press release mentions, this is a clever way of pushing the TiVo interface and experience towards an international audience. (Nero, who you may know as a DVD-burning software company, has offices in Germany, Japan, and China in addition to the US.) Some details from the press release:

Under the agreement, Nero will develop a software solution that will bring TiVo features to the personal computer. Capitalizing on the growing PC TV tuner market, it will answer the consumer demand for a trusted PC-based DVR experience […] “This agreement provides TiVo with an opportunity to deliver its interface and differentiated feature set globally via the PC, enabling TiVo to use all avenues of mass distribution — from consumer electronics, to cable and satellite boxes and soon, the PC,” said Tom Rogers.

16 thoughts on “TiVo & Nero Collaborate on PC DVR Software”

  1. kK, I assume they’ll be sourcing that guide data at some point as the the global aspect was emphasized twice in the release. Personally, I think his has and always will be a niche market. (I run MCE and BTV now and then.) As with the Rhapsody deal, I assume Nero will take on the bulk of development engineering and expense. Perhaps some fruits of the effort will include better TiVo Desktop extender functionality…

  2. this sounds similar to the comcast situation: license tivo software to other companies and get it into the hands of the masses and make a little money in the process. hopefully this happens and provides a means for millions of new customers, once they see the software they will want the hardware!

  3. I am not that excited. How will this be different than Sage and BeyondTV? I would love to see someone break the Microsoft cablecard monopoly on the pc. Maybe Tivo can.

  4. Interesting to say the least. I’d be more excited about it if Tivo was working with Snapstream or SageTV though. I have my doubts about how quickly Nero could get a usable product to the market when Snapstream’s BTV & Microsoft have the install-it-and-it-works consumers and SageTV has the enthusiasts (and more) consumers.

    Didn’t Tivo have a PC-version out once before?

  5. Wait. there is no mention if you’ll have to pay the $12.95 monthly fee to use this software. No monthly fee is one of the things that makes the alternatives attractive.

  6. Brent, TiVo has never had PC DVR software though they provide TiVo Desktop for TiVoToGO transfers off the TiVo unit and some very rudimentary extender functionality. There’s also been some freeware over the years (for example Galleon, TiVoWebPlus) that’s hooked into TiVo units in interesting ways. Ben D (of EngadgetHD) and I were chatting – will be interesting to see if this includes MRV to/from TiVo units. Also, like Jeff I wonder if they’ll require some sort of periodic charge for service and guide data. (One reason why Replay TV’s PC version is doomed.)

  7. Makes sense internationally, since it seems that the PC tuner market is not locked down by the cablecard / mpaa group as it is here. Tuners include support for DVB / satellite etc. abroad. Until the market is open to progress, it will be a non-starter here.

  8. Well, like you say not a lot of details in the press release. I’ve got MCE on my PC at home, and I don’t really use it. If it costs per month for the guide data (which I would assume), it might not fly. If it doesn’t have MRV/TTG functionality to allow it to talk to other Tivo’s in your house, its dead on arrival. If it did have cable card support in the US, without requiring you to buy a new PC though… but only if that content could be transcoded to play on my iPod and could be transferred to other Tivos in my house.

    Personally I’d rather they just partnered with Sling and built a Slingbox into the Tivo HD so I can just dial in from my laptop and watch a stream from a Tivo in my house, and without impacting the people in my house trying to use the same Tivo…

  9. Dave,

    If they don’t eventually take advantage of all the TiVo functionality plus the technical capabilities of the PC to free TiVo from the strategic drawbacks of their hardware, it will be very foolish.

  10. Is it possible that Nero will be selling the software and Tivo will be collecting the standard subscription fees it gets now. It’s all about the advertising model these days. More eyes the better. – John

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