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TiVo May Be a Buyout Target 149

Moose writes "Ars Technica has a piece up about the takeover rumors surrounding TiVo, now that it has a lawsuit win to boost its chances in the marketplace. From the article: 'It appears that TiVo is at a major crossroads, with brilliant technology under what now appears to be enforceable patents and a rapidly growing subscriber base, but with larger players in the TV market lurking just out of sight, possibly with pen to checkbook already. The DVR innovator seems to have little control over its own destiny now, and future success may rest in the hands of the legal system. Godspeed, TiVo.'"
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TiVo May Be a Buyout Target

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  • Apple (Score:5, Interesting)

    by intrico ( 100334 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @09:11AM (#15148086) Homepage
    Apple really should buy TiVo. I really believe TiVo nicely complements the overall direction and image of Apple's product line. They just need to make slight modifications to the casing to make it match their other products. Also, it really wouldn't be too hard for them to tie it into iTunes service as well, thereby using iTune's success to increase the TiVo user base. If this happened, Apple would corner the home entertainment market. Hopefully someone at Apple has the insight to see this. Of course, there are behind the scenes accounting and finance factors that determine whether or not a large buyout like this would be feasible for a company such as Apple.
  • by Khammurabi ( 962376 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @09:15AM (#15148114)
    Yes, most of its sales used to come from the hardware, but last year, subscription payments for the TiVo service brought in almost twice as many sales dollars as the hardware ($167 million to $72 million). And TiVo is quite happy giving up hardware sales, as they sell their boxes at a loss--it cost $84 million to produce the hardware that was sold.
    I've said it before:
    Tivo's greatest asset is its brand and unique UI, not its DVR. Tivo should give up its DVR sales and instead license its brand and UI to other DVR makers. This would give Tivo a more predictable income and allow the company to expand into other areas. The reason Tivo is a buyout target is because any CEO with half a brain has thought of this and sees the company as piggy bank just waiting to be cracked open.

    If Tivo isn't willing to follow the lucrative business model sitting in front of them, a bigger company will gladly come along and "guide them" in the right direction.
  • Re:Apple (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stunt_penguin ( 906223 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @09:47AM (#15148450)
    Also, you could recode your recorded videos to MPEG-4 so that you can dock your 'pod on the tivo and take your programmes with you. This would of course be perfectly legal, like home taping. It wouldn't, of couse sit well with media so will (probably) never happen.

    What i would like though is a PVR unit like my Philips PVR, but one that has a network jack on the back to allow netowrk access to the hard disk, and playing of content via the network. Are there any PVRs out there like that, or has the DMCA in the USA gotten there first?
  • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @10:43AM (#15149010)
    Back to TiVo, they were the first. They deserve the patent because they did invent something, and before it was invented it did not exist in that form.

    Not really. The concept of simultaneously reading and writing a computer file that happens to be video data was patented back in 1993 [] by somebody else. It's a very broad patent, and is not easily worked around like most of the patents that TiVo actually filed.

    Now TiVo owns the rights to that patent, but it's because they bought it out a couple of years ago. (And they were probably infringing that patent prior to that point. IOW, TiVo probably built its empire by violating others' intellectual property.) Basically, TiVo got their most valuable and dangerous IP the same way that any other patent troll company does: not with innovation, but with a cash payout.

  • by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @11:03AM (#15149214)
    You're missing a feature that I find completely invaluable--the TiVo will go out and record other shows that it might think you like based on your recording and rating history. That is, if you like a show, you give it 2 or 3 thumbs up. After it's built up a "profile" of the shows you rate highly, it will go out and record other shows when you're not watching it. I've found quite a few shows I wouldn't otherwise have watched due to this.

BLISS is ignorance.