When I first saw the press release, and this statement“today announced that they have entered into an agreement to further enable the connected digital home by integrating TiVoâ€™s television user experience with Neroâ€™s next generation of PC software”, I figured it was something like integrating TiVoToGo into Nero’s software, along the same lines as Roxio. But I was surprised as I continued reading:
Under the agreement, Nero will develop a software solution that will bring TiVo features to the personal computer. Capitalizing on the growing PC TV tuner market, it will answer the consumer demand for a trusted PC-based DVR experience for use with the estimated 50.8 million PC TV tuners that will be sold worldwide by 2011, according to In-Stat research report published in April 2007.
â€œThis agreement provides TiVo with an opportunity to deliver its interface and differentiated feature set globally via the PC, enabling TiVo to use all avenues of mass distribution â€“ from consumer electronics, to cable and satellite boxes and soon, the PC,â€ said Tom Rogers, President and CEO, TiVo. â€œWe are thrilled to work with Nero, a highly successful leader in software solutions for the PC who has the ability to develop a state-of-the-art program centered on the TiVo platform that will bring the same personalized entertainment experience to domestic and international consumers on their personal computers.â€
With little fanfare TiVo just announced that, with Nero, they’re going to be releasing PC-based DVR software that provides the TiVo experience.
That’s big news, the TiVo experience has always been tied to dedicated hardware. But I have mixed feelings on this, as the PC-based DVR market is very competitive and it is already dominated by products such as BeyondTV and the 800-pound gorilla that is MS Media Center. I’ve commented in the past how I expect ReplayTV’s PC-based software to crash and burn in the face of the competition, and that seems to be just what is happening.
On the other hand, TiVo has a couple of advantages. First, and foremost, is their brand recognition. ReplayTV never made it out of niche branding, while TiVo has saturated popular culture. So they will definitely have brand recognition. Second, TiVo isn’t doing this alone. Nero is an established player in the international PC video software market, best known for their DVD burning software, and they have the expertise to develop and distribute the software.
Since TiVo is sharing the risks with Nero, I think the downside is small here. And it should help spread the TiVo user base into new markets. I do hope TiVo does the right thing and makes the PC software inter-operable with standalone TiVo hardware – so you’d be able to do TTG/MRV between the PC and the TiVo, etc. This is one of the things ReplayTV got dead wrong – their PC software has nothing in common with their existing hardware platform, and there is no compatibility between them. So there is no synergy for existing users to try the PC software. The only commonality is really the brand name.
If the software truly does provide the TiVo experience on a PC, and it is priced right, TiVo has a good chance at grabbing some of the growing PC DVR software market.