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.