Last September at the IBC show in Amsterdam, Netherlands TiVo’s Director of Product Marketing, Jason Wong, sat down for an interview, the video of which has just been posted. He had a few interesting things to say which hint at possible future directions for TiVo. At the 1m50s mark he mentions TiVo building a portfolio of products. He repeatedly mentions a ‘zapper box’, which from context is the non-DVR TiVo Preview or a similar product. At the 3m15s mark he talks about the whole-home DVR and second screen.
He mentions“a couple of thin-client zapper boxes, with or without a tuner”, which is interesting, since the existing TiVo Preview does have a tuner and CableCARD slot. Perhaps TiVo is working on a more Roku-like streaming-only device? He does mention it again later, referring to it as a ‘thin-client’. I’d like to see that, since I really don’t use Live TV at all and removing the tuner would reduce the cost and complexity of the box, and allow it to be smaller.
Even more interesting, immediately following this he says“that same DVR, with some transcoding capability, can power an iPad or a smartphone within the home”. That’s the second screen, and this is especially interesting considering he said this in September and last week TiVo was showing off a technology demo of a transcoding box at CES. More interesting, he effectively goes on to explain why TiVo is looking at a standalone transcoding box today, and is not yet bundling this into the DVR. It comes down to cost – bundling transcoding into every DVR is too costly today, but he implies that as costs come down it will migrate into the DVR.
But what was music to my ears was his statement at the 5m25s mark, when referring to the types of technology they’ll be using for streaming.“Yes, using DLNA and DLNA approved DRM like DTCP, but yes.” I’ve been saying for years that TiVo should stop using proprietary systems and embrace the growing number of standards, and specifically DLNA and DTCP-IP, to interoperate with other systems.
He then goes on to talk about TiVo’s emerging app strategy, using the SDK which was recently teased. It sounds like they will be opening development up to third parties much more broadly than they have in the past with the likes of HME.
And, finally, he explains TiVo’s software development strategy. As I suspected, and I’ve posted before, they’ve pulled everything into one common ‘trunk’ which they then branch as needed for each partner. If they create something unique for one partner in a branch, they’ll then merge that back into the common trunk so that development for one partner strengthens the trunk and benefits all in future releases. That’s not surprising, it is a standard software development practice.
I hope Jason will be attending The Cable Show in May, he seems like a good fellow to talk to. The full video is worth watching: