TiVo: You've been Warned Comcast and Netflix (TIVO, CMCSA, NFLX)
TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ:TIVO) is going to give Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) a run for their money. TiVo is launching its new digital video recorders, the TiVo® Premiere and TiVo® Premiere XL that provide a better blend of broadcast and online content for $299 and $499.
TiVO shares are up 1.7% today at $10.20, over the past 52-weeks the stock has ranged from $6 to $12.78. The latest on TiVo's new DVR from broadcastingcable.com:
Digital video recorder (DVR) hardware and software vendor TiVo has overhauled its core hardware product with a new user interface designed specifically for widescreen HDTV sets, better search capability across a mix of linear, recorded and broadband content, and direct integration of Adobe's widely used Flash software.
The new $300 "TiVo Premiere" box goes on sale Mar. 3, and will begin shipping next month. It will also be rolled out this spring on a leased basis by cable operator RCN, which announced a deal with TiVo last August and says that based on field tests TiVo will be its primary DVR going forward.
The Premiere box provides access to premium cable programming using CableCard conditional access, but does not support satellite services; TiVo is expected to deploy a new DVR with DirecTV later this year.
The goal behind the broadband-enabled Premiere, says TiVo CEO Tom Rogers, is to create one box and one interface that lets viewers watch broadcast or cable programming, on-demand movies and Web video, as well as listen to music.
"It's one box for all those purposes, and it's all usable off of one remote," says Rogers.
The new interface with Premiere, which was built with Adobe's Flash software, is designed specifically to take advantage of the size and scale of large HDTV sets and features improved graphics as well as a lot more information on one screen. It includes a customizable "discovery bar" showing poster art of several shows along the top, alongside a picture-in-picture video window of what's currently playing. Below that is a central search tool for browsing live TV, recorded shows, music (including Pandora Internet radio) and photos. Direct links to online movie services from Blockbuster, Netflix and Amazon are located in the bottom right.
While broadband-enabled TiVo boxes have provided access to online content for several years, the goal with the Premiere interface is to make the content easier to find from the home screen.
"People don't want to go too many screens deep," says Rogers.
The improved search feature with Premiere provides unified search across a mix of television and broadband content, with the ability to search based on a title or an actor. It displays all the sources where a consumer can find a particular show, including linear TV, on-demand and Web streams. It offers a range of filters that can group shows or movies into different categories, such as Emmy Award Winners, Academy Award Winners, or Most Popular.
The search tool also lets a consumer find and view Web content related to a show, such a bonus clip of 30 Rock content that is streamed by YouTube, and explore associations between actors and shows by viewing cast lists and actors' resume (a feature TiVo calls â€˜Six Degrees of Separation').
"We've tried to make the process of finding, searching, browsing and discovering as much fun as watching TV itself," says Rogers.