TiVo and Best Buy to Develop DVR TV

Dave Zatz —  July 9, 2009

tivo-best-buy

You probably don’t remember that Humax LCD TV with builtin TiVo… which never launched in 2005. As a clutter-free minimalist (to the best of my ability), I do. And TiVo’s new tie-up with Best Buy indicates they’re going down this path again, entering the Internet Widget TV fray under the Insignia brand:

As part of the deal, the companies also said that Best Buy would finance an effort to bring TiVo’s software and search tools to Best Buy’s own brand of consumer electronics, like its Insignia high-definition TVs.

Of course, there’s no timing info. Given TiVo’s track record of glacially slow development, I’d say we might see a tru2way television in 2011. If ever. In the interim, Best Buy will heavily pump TiVo in their retail locations while the TiVo service will push Best Buy ads and develop a streaming Napster widget.

9 responses to TiVo and Best Buy to Develop DVR TV

  1. This is great news, I wonder if it means that we’ll now see some kind of Napster music plugin.

  2. Why Best Buy I wonder? Seems like a good move by TiVo to get it integrated into a TV I guess.

  3. As a Best Buy employee and avid TiVo user and supporter – this is EXCELLENT

  4. I don’t think they’re talking about building a DVR in the televisions so much as just adding other functionality or branding to to the televisions to make it all more commonplace. The article also started by saying TiVo was building a special DVR with Best Buy branding so I would think the goal would be to move as many of those units as possible. Even having the search interface without a DVR could be a valuable trojan horse of an interface over your normal cable provider (last part is speculation but the other functionality stuff is based on these passages from the articles:

    -TiVo … desperately wants people to stop thinking of its technology purely as a way to pause and record live television.

    That remains an important feature in TiVo boxes. But over the last few years, as cable and satellite companies introduced their own DVRs, TiVo has tried to position its device as a media hub that combines traditional television with a broad range of content from the Internet.

    Current owners of broadband-connected TiVos, for example, can watch YouTube videos, download movies from Amazon .com and stream movies from Netflix on their televisions.

    But TiVo has had a hard time telling people about that.

    “The kind of strategic marketing embrace this deal involves will very substantially advance the understanding of what we now have to offer,” Mr. Rogers said.

    As part of the deal, Best Buy also plans to use TiVo to offer advice and guidance on products like HDTVs and digital cameras and provide ways to buy these products via the television remote control. TiVo currently offers its users ways to order pizzas, buy products on Amazon and get movie tickets from Fandango from their TV sets. <– I want to buy products from Amazon through my Best Buy TV, btw.

  5. Brent, Best Buy is the king maker in retail (good for TiVo) and they need some differentiation if they want to go upmarket with their branded gear (good for Best Buy). Also, they had an existing relationship to build from. But it’s yet to be seen how it will play out.

    Jeff, That occurred to me as well. Though given my headline, I’m obviously leaning in the other direction – given TiVo’s past reluctance to dilute (expand) their brand/experience and perhaps my own wishful thinking. They should have started selling TiVo universal remotes and branded DVD-only boxes years ago in my opinion. Pitching a TiVo platform without DVR functionality would be a monumental shift. Not a bad idea given the fact they’ve lost 25% of their customers at the same time that DVR usage has increased exponentially – they could use a new angle.

  6. I think this is interesting on 2 fronts.

    One, with so many businesses clinging to old business models, it is cool seeing Best Buy trying to change with the times, to some degree. With the whole Napster arrangement, this could be their way to have a new business model (getting content into your homes).

    Two, I simply like to see anything that might help Tivo. My wife and I love our Tivo (I even called it one of the top 5 tech items a wife can love, on my site), and I worry about the company’s health, so anything that can give them more subscribers is a good thing in my eyes.

    Great site by the way. Just discovered it.

  7. There are 3 things I need to function:
    laptop, cel phone and Tivo

    Anything that keeps that unholy trinity alive, I’m all for.

  8. I think it’s great that TiVo is trying to expand their brand, but why BB Insignia TV’s? Everything I’ve ever read about those TV’s range from so-so to junk. I’d love to get another LCD HD TV with TiVo integrated into it, but I’m not going to buy an Insignia TV.

  9. I think this is a great idea. I wonder if the TV will have a hard drive built into it or is it only software based? And will the TV have cable card support.