Netflix Hits TiVo – In HD!

Ever since the abortive first attempt was announced four years ago there have been on-again, off-again rumors of TiVo and Netflix working together again. They finally got it over with and released the tension in October by announcing a new deal. At the time they indicated the service would launch soon – and they were right, it is launching today!

But they have one more surprise up their sleeves – high-definition content! From the press release (below) it looks like they’ll be launching with some HD content available to stream to TiVo. As stated previously, the Netflix service is only available on broadband connected TiVo Series3, TiVo HD, and TiVo HD XL units. The Series2 platform unfortunately is incapable of supporting the video codec Netflix uses. Only the newer units have the required hardware, sorry, that’s just how it is. It isn’t like Series2 units don’t have options – Amazon VOD, CinemaNow/Disney, and Jaman are all available.

This is likely why the HD units started getting the new software revision last week, to prep them for the launch of Netflix.

Press release below:


Just in Time for the Holidays, Offering Brings Budget Conscious Entertainment to Consumers

ALVISO, Calif. – December 8, 2008 — After announcing a groundbreaking partnership in October with Netflix Inc., TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ: TIVO), the creator of and a leader in television services for digital video recorders (DVRs), today announced that subscribers to both Netflix and TiVo® Series3, TiVo HD, or TiVo HD XL can now access thousands of movies and TV episodes instantly streamed from Netflix directly to their TVs.

The service is being offered at no additional charge to customers who subscribe to both services. This morning subscribers can browse through an expanding library of more than 12,000 movies and TV episodes at, add them to their Netflix instant Queue, and then watch them on TV with just a click of the TiVo remote. The library includes titles from every genre, with a modest selection of HD content available as well. Both standard and HD titles are expected to grow in the weeks and months ahead.

“With so much talk focusing on the economy these days, this partnership makes more sense than ever because it brings people more movies at home, offering substantially more entertainment options than cable or satellite,” said Tara Maitra, GM and Vice President of Content Services at TiVo Inc. “TiVo offers consumers everything they need from just one box. Not only great content from Netflix, but also movies from The Walt Disney Studios and Amazon, music from Rhapsody, videos from YouTube and even pictures from Picasa Web Albums and Photobucket. And that’s all in addition to TiVo’s core functionality that made us a favorite in the first place. It adds up to a one-of-a-kind value.”

“Netflix offers an unbeatable combination of convenience, selection, and value, which now extends to TiVo customers,” said Netflix Chief Marketing Officer Leslie Kilgore. This partnership is a win-win-win for Netflix, TiVo, and consumers alike.”

Movies are streamed from Netflix through TiVo DVRs via 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 are available to watch instantly through the TiVo service. With the TiVo remote control users can browse their instant Queue, make selections right on the TV screen, as well as read synopses and rate movies. In addition, they 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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  • Tim

    Dude, this is awesome. I’m gonna get a lot of use out of it.

  • ljk

    i configured one of my s3′s last night.
    i see no hd content.
    anyone found/streamed any hd content from netflix?

  • Tim

    I started watching Season 2 of 30 Rock, and the bar in the middle of the screen did say “HD”. It looks great but HD? ehh…maybe.

  • MegaZone

    That’s the problem with ‘HD’ – anything 720p or above can be called HD. But there is no accounting for compression levels. 720p VC-1 streaming video at 4Mbps is HD, so is 1080p VC-1 Blu-ray video at 40mbps. Clearly there is going to be a quality difference.

  • rbiro

    You can’t browse Play It Now content from the TiVo. You have to identify shows from the Web page and add it to your Play It Now pseudo-queue. It is that list which shows up on the TiVo.
    I was quite underwhelmed with the picture quality on my 42″ Plasma. I watched the first 5 minutes of Heros, Season 2, Episode 1. Like most over-compressed content, in the middle a scene without significant camera motion – aka virtually static image – the quality is good. But it takes a full second or more to recover from scene changes, explosions or general action scenes. The pixelation from over compression is just ridiculous. I assume they are using some form of fixed compression instead of a more dynamic algorithm that can give better fidelity for short bursts.

  • Patrick

    I’ve enjoyed Netflix on Xbox and was really looking forward to Netflix on Tivo – one less thing to turn on/one less remote, etc. But, my first attempt to watch on Tivo tonight has been a disaster. Several times I was either dumped to the main menu or live TV. When it was playing, it kept pausing to adjust buffering speed. Add in the incredibly slow menu access to Video on Demand and then to Netflix. It got so bad I tried switching back to XBox to finish the movie. But no dice there either – it seems if you start watching a movie on one device, you can’t finish watching on another..

    I’ll give it another shot in a day or two, but I’m thinking this may have been released a bit early.

  • Tom

    I had the same problems Patrick described (as did my Mom, when I activated her account). I suspect it was first day curiosity overwhelming Netflix. When I was able to reconnect, I was able to pickup where I left off.

    The quality was pretty good, but haven’t watched anything that might lend to compression artifacts (Pertwee episode of Dr. Who, Hoax & Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic).

  • Tim

    I didn’t have any problems during the day yesterday, but at night I was booted to the main menu. Ehh, it’s new.

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