DVRs got their start with TiVo. That much we know. But many assumed that TiVo would simply die out as cable and satellite companies got into the DVR business and increasingly made hours upon hours of programming available via VOD. To be sure, DVR and VOD competition has cramped TiVo’s style in recent years, but it’s amazing how strong its brand and products remain despite all of that nay saying and competition. Part of that stems from fan support: People simply rave about TiVo’s interface and features, which is a key reason Comcast has agreed to distribute TiVo boxes. So it’s perhaps fitting that TiVo just unveiled a partnership with Entertainment Weekly to let TiVo users automatically record anything its staff of reviewers and TV-aholic reporters recommend they watch. Great branding for EW. A nice convenience for viewers who actually want advice from a bunch of journalists (We don’t recommend that, by the way… unless the CableFAX brand is attached).
Combined with its recent deals to stream video from Amazon.com’s “Unbox” service and audio/music from RealNetworks’ Rhapsody service, TiVo has clearly joined XBox360, Playstation3, Apple TV, Roku and others as yet another box in the home competing with cable/satellite set-tops (even though it’s also trying to partner with cable ops at the same time). Meanwhile, TiVo in May submitted to CableLabs switched-digital equipment it hopes will enable its boxes to access SDV streams—largely seen as the eventual architecture that MSOs will adopt to more efficiently use bandwidth. It seems that TiVo doesn’t plan to go anywhere soon. And when you consider that the company this week posted a $2.9mln profit despite analyst predictions it would lose almost that much, well… like we said, TiVo ain’t going anywhere.