Who’s Taking Over TiVo Retail Manufacturing & Sales?

Dave Zatz —  May 11, 2018

As Rovi foreshadowed, prior to their 2016 TiVo acquisition, the merged company wants out of the retail hardware business. Not consumer services itself, but the manufacturing and distribution. As such, from Seeking Alpha’s transcript of the TiVo quarterly call yesterday:

In addition, we have signed on a major device manufacturer as our direct-to-consumer box partner. This partner will take over retail sales outside of TiVo.com, namely through Amazon and Best Buy. Once we complete this transition, we still will have direct consumer hardware sales through TiVo.com which we will be fulfilling through this box manufacturer. […]

What that means is that we are not going to be producing or manufacturing or contracting directly the manufacturer of these boxes. That will be done by our partners. We will be securing whatever volume we need for tivo.com. We will be securing from the partner.

In that sense, what I think as a distribution channel. But the majority of the sales to everything that happens for example on Amazon or in Best Buy will be handled directly between the partner and the distribution. We would be completely out of that transaction.

From an end consumer perspective, there will be no material change. There’s no significant co-branding. Of course, there’s always recognition of who manufactures the device that will continue. But basically, the consumer will continue seeing a TiVo branded devices with a TiVo experience, TiVo software that they know and love over the years. […]

Yes, in fact that’s a positive impact because they have better presence in those channels that we do today. And then, it’s a partner that we have a great relationship with. We’re very confident of their ability to succeed there. But we’ll continuously work with them, in some places when we decide to jointly try to promote something or jointly try to accelerate something. We’re not just a normal relationship that we will have with them.

So who is this mystery partner? The new TiVo Mini Vox is produced by Arris, a close TiVo partner. But I’m not certain what their retail experience is. Hmmm.

20 responses to Who’s Taking Over TiVo Retail Manufacturing & Sales?

  1. Best Buy Insignia TiVos, like they did with that television years ago??

  2. Philips (again)! :-D

  3. I’m wondering how this would affect their “Continual Care Protection”.

  4. Hmmmm:
    “From an end consumer perspective, there will be no material change. There’s no significant co-branding.”

    What does that mean? They’re not going to be “Phillips with TiVo” or “Roku with Tivo”?

    If so, that seems like that makes it more likely we’ll see Arris as the manufacturer just selling “TiVo” like they did with the Mini Vox. Arris has a little retail experience since they’re selling the (formerly Motorola) Surfboard cable modems on retail shelves.

  5. I just bought an Arris SurfBoard 8200 cable modem at BestBuy. Their brand is out there in almost every XFinity and Cox Cable internet home. It feels like they know what they’re doing.

  6. LTskier, at CES 2017 there were some indications Philips was moving forward with retail TiVo DVRs (again). But I assume it has fizzled out like so many TiVo initiatives. (Remember the Nintendo Wii U integration?)

    https://zatznotfunny.com/2017-02/tivo-heads-back-future-new-hardware-partners/

    In regards to Arris, does their retail experience reflect the hype from the call? Hm. (My mom also had a Surfboard modem, picked up from Costco. Since swapped out for free by Comcast given her new cable contract.)

  7. This may be a good thing, though time will tell.

  8. Doubt it Bud, suspect we’re just delaying the inevitable here… New sales will ultimately cease and existing retail subscribers will continue to beta test for TiVo’s cable partners.

  9. I think this is what many of us have been expecting. What is unclear is if this means there is going to be a “new” box released in the near future or not. It would seem to make sense that the retail cable only box be the same as the one cable companies are using. This leaves in question what if anything will happen to the combo OTA/cable box or an OTA only box and of course if there is going to be any TiVo support for ATSC 3.0 OTA.

    In the end I agree with Dave – at this point retail’s primary function is to beta test for their cable partners. Which leads me to believe whoever makes the cable partners boxes is the only real option to build the retail ones. Not enough potential volume/profit for anyone else.

  10. Who is going to be doing the software?

  11. “Who is going to be doing the software?”

    I am. I was the lowest bidder for the contract. And I have some great ideas!

    The biggest idea is that I am going to modernize the UX by massively disrupting the user. The user is the biggest impediment to a modernized UX, and so I’m doing away with the user. We’re going to have beautiful tiles that move around in hypnotic patterns, all showing various shows on TV. And to keep the user from interfering with this modern display, no interaction with the tiles will be possible. When the user tries to use the TiVo Peanut™ remote control, it will emit beautiful beeps and tones, but it won’t actually affect anything! I’m calling it Hydra 2™, and you’re gonna love it!

  12. After percolating further and discussing with peers, it’s got to be Arris (and their retail chops were oversold on the conference call – believe it’s a corporate requirement to pump up partners and investors;). They’ll largely reuse the MSO hardware, as they do with the Mini Vox.

    OTA is an interesting question atmusky – will they do a DVR that includes OTA (unlike the stock cable box) or is that the first retail hardware casualty. There’s no point messing with ATSC 3.0 in 2018 or 2019, so that’s not relevant at the moment. Wonder how much Bolt inventory TiVo has left, could be awhile… or could be some great closeout discounts coming our way.

  13. If they don’t make it better, ill never buy another one.

  14. I’m hoping there are still dvrs in the ATSC 3.0 era.

  15. As long as they don’t have the ugly hump the Bolt has, I will be happy. I certainly like the design of my Arris Mini Vox much better than the v1 and v2 Mini.

  16. Arris sells a LOT of cable modems through retail channels, and they may want to branch out into other stuff. They would be the perfect partner, as they make a LOT of cable hardware, and have for a very long time (including the ill-fate Motorola ComcasTiVo about a decade ago).

  17. ijuststreamnow May 14, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    Someone I know, who worked in TiVo Retail Marketing and was laid off after Rovi came in, mentioned to me that they would probably outsource the retail business. This was back in 2016, so I’m surprised it took them so long.

  18. Arris is the logical choice, who knows you might even get those things that people keep asking for, clock/channel display on the front, no hump in case, any color you want as long as it’s black. Basically a Tivo that looks like a Motorola cable box/dvr.
    The other possibility is Foxconn, they can build pretty much anything you want.

  19. While I think Foxconn could do it cheap, I’m almost certain its Arris. They are already making this stuff now (and for years). Why reinvent the wheel. They are immensely popular in retail (Surfboard modems).