Netflix Streams Onto TiVo

Hmm, I wonder if I upset someone over at TiVo? I didn’t get any advance notice on this one. Well, anyway, on to the news. Correction, their PR firm did email me – a little after 20:00, less than four hours before the embargo lifted at midnight eastern. That’s a little late to be letting folks know about a major announcement, especially as I know others got the word around 15:00. Unfortunately, that was after the last time I’d checked email before midnight. I might’ve caught it, but I’m down with a bad cold and not hovering online as much as I normally do. I only caught it after seeing the news elsewhere.

Netflix streaming is coming to TiVo – very soon. It is great news, but it isn’t too surprising. TiVo and Netflix first talked about partnering over four years ago, though that initial deal seemed to fizzle when Netflix had trouble getting content rights.

In the meantime the market has completely changed. Netflix has rolled out their streaming service and TiVo has added streaming support to their platform for YouTube. And, of course, movie downloads from Amazon and Jaman, with CinemaNow/Disney expected any day now. Content providers are much more open to digital distribution than they were four years ago, and the technology has improved as well. A lot of us have been expecting TiVo and Netflix to bring streaming to TiVo. Especially after Netflix made deals with LG and Samsung to stream to some their Blu-ray players.

This now gives TiVo content from four major services – Amazon, Jaman, CinemaNow (soon), and Netflix. The only major service left that I can think of is Blockbuster/Movielink. And, honestly, they’re not exactly the market leader. I suppose TiVo could work with VUDU to build a VUDU client into TiVo, but with all the other content I don’t know that it would be worth it for TiVo. More benefit for VUDU I’d think. The only thing left to make TiVo *the* platform for movies is HD content, and I’m sure that’s coming.

As Amazon VOD also offers streaming, I expect TiVo to bring that to their platform in addition to the downloads available today. And we’re all just waiting for HD content. There have been repeated hints and mentions of work toward bringing HD content downloads from Amazon to TiVo, and more recently Jaman and Cinema now. And just today Netflix announced they’ll be streaming in HD to Xbox 360. So maybe we’ll see Netflix in HD on TiVo as well.

What’s next for TiVo and broadband content? I think we’ll see them making deals with more content portal sites and networks, like and It is just logical, and TiVo already has the infrastructure to support such streaming sites. I think TiVo is making the right moves.

The Netflix streaming, like YouTube, will be coming to the TiVo Series3, TiVo HD, and TiVo HD XL. It isn’t clear if they’ll be using H.264, like YouTube, or if the streams will be using VC-1 – which Netflix uses for their PC and Mac streaming. The TiVo hardware is capable of supporting both codecs, but VC-1 hasn’t been used to date. Why no Series2 support? As with YouTube, the hardware doesn’t support the newer codecs.

Picked up from Zatz Not Funny.

The press release:


Deal Provides Netflix with New Content Distribution Channel, Solidifies TiVo’s Leading Position as One-Box Solution for Simple Navigation and Delivery Of the Best Entertainment Content to the TV

ALVISO, Calif. and LOS GATOS, Calif., October 30, 2008 — TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ: TIVO), the creator of and a leader in television services for digital video recorders (DVRs) and Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), the world’s largest online movie rental service, today announced that they are teaming up to provide Netflix and TiVo® Series3, TiVo HD, and TiVo HD XL subscribers with the ability to have thousands of movies and TV episodes instantly streamed from Netflix directly to their TVs.

The two companies said they are initiating a test of the new capability today in several thousand U.S. households and expect it to be broadly available in early December, in time for the holidays. The ability to instantly watch content from Netflix on the TV via TiVo DVRs will be offered at no additional charge to customers who subscribe to both services.

The agreement provides Netflix with an important new technology partner to instantly stream a growing library of more than 12,000 choices of movies and TV episodes directly from Netflix to the TV. It also solidifies TiVo’s leading position for simple navigation and delivery of the best entertainment content to the TV.

“For Netflix and TiVo subscribers, this collaboration offers a fabulously easy way to enhance the enjoyment of watching movies in the comfort of their living rooms,” said Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix. “Subscribers to Netflix and TiVo are avid movie watchers and this combination gives them immediate access to all of the great content available through TiVo and the thousands of additional choices available to be streamed instantly from Netflix.”

“Joining forces with Netflix creates the ultimate video on demand service and solidifies TiVo’s leading position as the one-box solution for aggregating, searching, and delivering the best content available anywhere right to the TV,” said Tom Rogers, president and CEO of TiVo Inc. “Adding Netflix to our already vast library of content differentiates TiVo even further from any other offering in the market today.”

Integrating the Netflix streaming functionality into the TiVo experience will result in quick and easy access to a growing list of movies and TV episodes that can be watched instantly at Netflix. Movies streamed from Netflix via specified TiVo DVRs is done through a wired or wireless broadband connection and a Netflix Queue-based user interface. Members visit the Netflix Web site to add movies and TV episodes to their individual instant Queues. Those choices will automatically be displayed on subscribers’ TVs and available to watch instantly through the TiVo service. With the TiVo remote control, users will be able to browse their instant Queue, make selections right on the TV screen, and also have the ability to read synopses and rate movies. In addition, they will have the option of pausing, fast-forwarding, rewinding and re-starting whenever they wish.

For more information on how to have movies instantly streamed from Netflix via your TiVo DVR visit

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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  • Dave Zatz

    It’s VC-1 and uses Microsoft DRM. Surprised it took them this long since everyone other than Apple seems to be using it. (:

  • MegaZone

    TiVo confirmed that? Cool. That means they do have WMV/VC-1 support in the software now then. Actually, do you know if this will be flipped on for the current software, or will there be a ’9.4.1′ with the VC-1 support? Could that be the beta program recruitment that recently leaked out?

    Either way, now that TiVo has MPEG-4/H.264 and WMV/VC-1 decoding support I hope they start supporting video blogs natively so we can move away from TiVo Web Video transcoding on TiVo Desktop. And get us some HD blogs from Rev3 and the like.

  • Dave Zatz

    Yeah, I asked them how it was encoded and protected. Not sure if it’s in the current build or coming with a fall update, though. I assume it’ll be in an update, but just guessing.

  • Tim

    Sweet, I have a bunch of stuff in my queue that’s “View Now”

  • Glenn

    Mega–Good news, thanks. Have to disagree with you about Hulu though. For me its a FREE service (with ads) that I can use to fill in episodes or shows I missed for one reason or another. Maybe I only notice a show is on and start watching after the third episode and want to see the first two. Maybe somebody recommends a show to me. My Tivo can only record the things I tell it to. So I watch some stuff on Hulu. Sure maybe my cable provider has as a VOD, but my TivoHD doesn’t work with that, at least not until I replace it with the yet to be announced tru2way compatible version we’re all expecting to be announced soon. So for the moment I’d personally LOVE to see Tivo add support for services like Hulu. And not just Hulu–why not CBS.COM or ABC.COM as well, or even There’s a lot more to web video than youtube these days.

    Yes I understand that each one of these brings different codecs (flash, ON7, h.264…) and thus challenges for Tivo, but hopefully we’ll see support for these over time. If Tivo wants to be my video STB for all time, it needs to move in this direction.

  • MegaZone

    Glenn, I’m confused – I said I think TiVo *will* add services like Hulu and

    What’s next for TiVo and broadband content? I think we’ll see them making deals with more content portal sites and networks, like and It is just logical, and TiVo already has the infrastructure to support such streaming sites. I think TiVo is making the right moves.