Let’s Hope Best Buy Helps TiVo Sell More Boxes

By  |  Thursday, July 9, 2009 at 6:00 am

TiVo Best Buy PartnershipBeloved-but-beleaguered DVR pioneer TiVo has found itself a ally: Best Buy. The two companies have struck a deal that will see TiVo boxes heavily marketed in Best Buy stores, reports Brad Stone in the New York Times. The relationship will put Napster (owned by Best Buy) on TiVo’s set-top boxes, and let Best Buy deliver information and shopping opportunities through the TiVos it sells. Best Buy also plans to build TiVo software into its house-brand TVs under the Dynex and Insignia labels.

The Times story includes one statistic which, if you like TiVo as much as I do, is alarming: Two years ago, there were 1.727 million households with TiVos, and that number has fallen to 1.6 million today. Most of the defectors have presumably left TiVo in favor of renting DVRs from their cable companies for a few bucks a month, and I wouldn’t be surprised if many of them did so when they upgraded their TV setups to HD and needed to replace aging standard-definition TiVo units.

As good as TiVo is, it’s a far costlier entertainment option than a cable DVR: You’ve got to both buy a box and pay Tivo a monthly fee that’s higher than cable DVRs cost. (Some of us choose to pay TiVo a sizable one-time fee rather than the monthly subscription.) I’d like to see the world look at TiVo as a premium product that’s worth the extra bucks, and perhaps the arrangement with Best Buy will result in more folks buying and loving TiVo. I know I don’t want to be part of a relentlessly dwindling cult…


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7 Comments For This Post

  1. Rich Says:

    TiVo is, and I’m sorry to say this, dead. A case of being first-and-best, but lapped (several times) by the second and third wave. TiVo needs to forget about hardware altogether and find a much better brand than Dynex (snort!) with whom to associate. If Samsung TVs had Yahoo widgets AND TiVo software, you’d have yourself a pretty nice, useful-to-adults competitor to the Hipsters’ Mac/AppleTV ecosystem and the Gamers’ Xbox360/PS3 ecosystems.

  2. Evan Says:

    In the long run, Tivo is cheaper, at least for me. When I ditched my Comcast HD DVR, my monthly bill went down enough that I’ll offset the cost of the Tivo box in a couple of years. When I throw the Netflix streaming on it (which is really what makes it better than my Comcast box, since I don’t watch much TV) it can really save money if you’re a movie watcher.

  3. John Says:

    Ditto Evan. And from what I’ve seen of my friends cable DVR’s,the Tivo interface is much easier to use. I do hope though that Tivo does have an eye to the future, and I hope that future is remote storage of media files that I’ve recorded, that can be streamed on demand through my box.

  4. DaveZatz Says:

    TiVo’s lost a lot of customers. But most are DirecTV folks who no longer sell their hardware and the original models don’t support MPEG-4 (and the vast majority aren’t HD). If TiVo wasn’t in my blog wheelhouse there’s no way I would have paid the $900 I did for a Series3 with Lifetime Service. (My TiVoHD was a much more reasonable purchase and $6.95/mo for an add-on sub is also very reasonable.)

  5. EdCarden Says:

    I had Tivo and miss it dearly! I’ve been thru Cable-Sattelite provided DVR’s since and they all are inferior, no thats being to generous, they all SUCK compared to Tivo in terms of ease of use and features. I sadly can’t use my old Tivo because it’s not compatable with my HiDef hardware & connections and B) the HiDef Tivo hardware is way TOOOO expensive to justify when the sattelite/cable providers HiDef boxes are a few bucks a month rental.

    If Tivo wants to win back its base & grow it’s gotta do the foillowing:

    1) Get affordable! They have to of recouped R&D costs by now so I can’t understand how their hardware can be soo much more expensive

    2) Make a deal with a amjor cable provider to provide the hardware even if Tivo does so with $0 profit in the deal. Just so they can get their name & hardware back in folks living rooms.

    3) Marketing – Show those who have never used Tivo before that there is a better way to DVR. I have to admit that things are better with my latest providers new system, the U-Verse system by AT&T. But even this new killer system is inferior to the 5+year old Tivo box I have with the esxception of being HiDef capable.

    The 5+ year old interface of Tivo is way superior to anthing the sattelite/cable providers have. Why? Because the providers are counting on us going with their half-done products because they will rent them for a few bucks a month verses paying Tivo $600 or more for an HD capable box plus monthly fees.


  6. Carl Says:

    I remember buying our first Tivo as a birthday gift for my wife. I was told, “this is the stupidest gift you have ever bought for me!” Two weeks later she would have ripped your arms off, if you had tried to take her Tivo away!

  7. Santos Nieves Says:

    Just wanted to point out that the direct tv/tivo box will be available by the the holidays

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