DirectTV Sells TiVo Stake. TiVo Reacts with Updates

Trouble at TiVo this week – DirectTV, controlled by News Corp, has sold its 55% equity stake in the PVR company. TiVo still has a contract to supply DirectTV with PVRs until February 2007, but news of the sale caused the company’s shares to drop 14.5%.

The news comes only a few days after DirectTV vice chairman Eddy Hartenstein resigned from TiVo’s board. These two events have cause others to speculate that DirectTV may wish to bring in a new PVR supplier, such as NDS.

DirectTV is TiVo’s biggest source of subscribers, a dependence that was causing concern to observers.

As more manufacturers continue to launch PVR product lines, TiVo’s subscription model is making less sense to consumers: why pay a US$12.95 (€10.74) monthly fee for a programme guide? However, by offering features not found on other PVRs such as home networking, TiVo expects to exceed 10 million subscribers by 2008 – though figures stood at just 1.6 million at the beginning of May this year.

TiVo’s home networking, now a free add-on, allows subscribers to use their television to display photographs, and to stream music to their stereo systems. The feature works on wired and wireless networks by connecting a network adapter to the USB port on the TiVo Series 2 box.

TiVo have also announced that they are working to expand this functionality so that films and music downloaded to a PC from the internet, can be played back on televisions and stereos.

Nikon have just partnered with TiVo to showcase professional photography on subscribers’ televisions through Nikon’s Legends Behind the Lens promotion. Also, purchasers of some CoolPix digital cameras will be able to use PictureProject software to upload images to their TiVo box.




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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?