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TiVo’s Survival

Todd Spangler has a great piece up today on TiVo’s survival dilemma, which Om Malik goes on to validate over on GigaOM. Todd’s piece is a must-read.

One option TiVo may have had at one point was to shift to a software-only model. Given its die-hard fan following, it probably would have had an easier time at this than ReplayTV. However, that hardly seems like an option now given all the investment the company has made on the hardware side and the fact that the interface is no longer the revolutionary outlier it once was.

4 Responses

  1. I just fundamentally disagree with the premise. The cable companies don’t care about TiVo’s boxes either way really, they’re not going to try to block them, and TiVo doesn’t need the cable companies to promote them. As long as they work, that’s all that is required.

    No one needed cable companies to promote VCRs or DVD recorders either.

    We’ve been seeing articles like this, with minor variations, for years. And they never come true.

    TiVo is unlikely to ever be a volume leader, but they’re not trying to be either.

    I don’t think Todd’s article had anything new or worthwhile to say.

  2. The difference now is that TiVo has gotten into the content business by adding the Amazon Unbox service. Cable operators do care about that because they would much prefer for consumers to hang out in the cable VOD ecosystem. Plus, of course, they like the rental revenue of the leased set-tops.

    And VCRs and DVD recorders aren’t relevant examples here. Cable companies didn’t have to promote them because retail was the only buying channel. Consumers didn’t have a service provider putting VCRs and DVD recorders in their homes. They had to go out and buy them on store shelves if they wanted the functionality.

    All of that said, I’m not counting TiVo out yet. I’m just saying that the company’s road to success seems to get harder every year.

  3. I would disagree with the basic premise that TiVo or anyone else needs cable. I recently realized I can get all the cable shows I watch on iTunes now. For less than a year of cable.

    I think the real question is, in 5 years, who will even still use cable?

  4. Dan- That might work for you, but in addition to the fact that I can’t get ESPN and other live sports on iTunes, I also can’t browse channels the way I can on traditional TV.

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