PVR pioneer, TiVo, has filed a patent infringement suit against US satellite TV provider, EchoStar. They are claiming that EchoStar are using technology that violates their patent, “multimedia time warping system”, that enables viewers to “store selected television broadcast programs while the user is simultaneously watching or reviewing another program” that they filed for in 1998 and were granted in 2001.
The headline is clear, TiVo start to see the PVR world become accepted by the general public and want to start gaining income from their patents – they have 40 awarded and a further 100 applications pending. It is also in TiVo business plan to increase their income from patents and reduce their reliance on selling boxes.
We wonder if there is another, less immediately obvious, intention. One of TiVo’s largest customers is US satellite TV provider DirecTV, who were recently taken over by Rupert Murdoch and amongst the many companies that Mr Murdoch has as interest in is NDS. NDS market a PVT, the XTV PVR, which could be a major threat to TiVo and their continuing relationship as a supplier to DirecTV – unless DirecTV know legal action would following the changing of suppliers.