More TiVo & DirecTV Reconciliation Speculation

Zatz Not Funny is reporting on a new Bear Stearns report which suggests that DirecTV may return to using TiVo for their DVRs once Liberty Media complete their acquisition of DirecTV:

We believe the new DTV management may be more amenable to renewing a relationship with TiVo. The TiVo HD-DVR offers several advantages over the NDS DVRs, including better user interface, wireless access can provide quasi-VOD service, ad revs would be incremental, and TiVo’s HD-DVR is already cheaper than NDS’ HD-DVR.

We already know that the TiVo HD platform has been designed to serve as a basis for further development. And the DVB-T reference platform, which is TiVo HD derived and forms the basis for the Australian unit, is also capable of being modified for DVB-S – another satellite system. It is logical to believe that the TiVo HD could also be readily modified to be a new DirecTiVo.

TiVo and DirecTV still have a working relationship, TiVo is working on updated software for the current DirecTiVos. And Liberty Media is one of TiVo’s corporate investors, so it certainly makes sense that they would want to throw business in TiVo’s direction. Just as News Corp shifted DirecTV’s DVRs to NDS, as News Corp also owns NDS. Keeping it in the family is a better return on investment.

This is certainly not the first time the rumor has come up since the Liberty Media buy was first announced. DirecTV’s recent acquisition of ReplayTV casts a small cloud on the matter, but it still seems like that buy was for the patents. The patents would give DTV some protection from lawsuits, such as the one TiVo brought against DISH Network, as well as giving them some more leverage in negotiations with other vendors.

EDIT: As I was writing this post I meant to mention that TiVo is participating in the Bear Stearns 21st Annual Media Conference on March 11, 2008. I just plain forgot to include that tidbit somehow.

About MegaZone

MegaZone is the Editor of Gizmo Lovers and the chief contributor. He's been online since 1989 and active in several generations of 'social media' - mailing lists, USENet groups, web forums, and since 2003, blogging.    MegaZone has a presence on several social platforms: Google+ / Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / LiveJournal / Web.    You can also follow Gizmo Lovers on other sites: Blog / Google+ / Facebook / Twitter.
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  • kog

    I wouldn’t hold my breath hoping for this. DirecTV has just put too much resources into building their own DVR. While the R15 is a NDS unit, the HR20 and HR21′s are not. I think the best that Tivo can hope for is if DirecTV opens up their platform for Tivo to try and sell into. This would be like the cablecard Tivo’s. Customer would buy the hardware and subscription for the Tivo service from Tivo and get the access card and programming subscription from the satellite provider. It could be interesting if they can get the same deal with Dish as part of their lawsuit settlement. Then Tivo would have their foot in just about all the service provider types.

  • MegaZone

    Actually, from everything I’ve heard, the HR20 & HR21 are based on the NDS HD platform. The same as BSkyB, which is also controlled by News Corp.

  • kog

    Really? Everything I’ve read says the HR20 and HR21 are in-house and are not NDS boxes. I’ll have to check with my friend at DTV to see if he knows more. I know the R15 is a NDS box.

  • MegaZone

    Hmm, I did more digging and I’ve found conflicting reports now. I’d always read that DirecTV used NDS for the R15, HR20, and HR21. But since you commented I dug around and found some claims that the HR20 and HR21 hardware came from Pace or Thomson, and the software from DirecTV.

    So it isn’t clear which is true.

  • kog

    I checked with a friend who works at DirecTV and he told me that NDS does the middleware for all of their boxes EXCEPT the HR20/21. So it’s kind of an odd duck in their family of receivers. Given that, I have a hard time imagining them flushing all that stuff down the toilet in favor of Tivo.