Digital video recorder (DVR) pioneer TiVo has fallen on tough times lately, but a new deal with cable giant Comcast has caused a dramatic turnaround in both the company's stock price and its overall future. Under terms of a deal that were released yesterday, Comcast will begin marketing DVR set-top boxes to its customers next year that bear the TiVo brand and technology, providing users with a significantly improved experience over the basic DVR functionality that the cable company now offers.
"We are focused on providing our customers with a 21st Century television experience,"
says Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts. "TiVo has revolutionized the way consumers watch and access home entertainment. By partnering with TiVo, we are continuing to deliver technology that enables our customers to watch what they want when they want on TV ... We look forward to working with TiVo to enhance our current service and offer customers the best-in-class DVR experience."
TiVo will develop new software for Comcast's DVR solution that includes the look and feel, and functionality, of TiVo's well-regarded system. Despite the rampant enthusiasm with which TiVo users promote the service to others, TiVo hasn't performed well in the market. Fewer than 7 million homes in the US have any form of DVR solution, and just 3 million of those machines are running TiVo software. 97 million homes in the US, meanwhile, have cable. So the deal with Comcast--the biggest cable provider in the country--is a huge win for TiVo, which could see adoption of its technology skyrocket as a result.
Previously, TiVo had rejected a less lucrative deal with Comcast and had seen its biggest partner, satellite TV provider DirecTV break off relations, choosing to go with a rival DVR service. These failures resulted in an executive exodus at the company and a steadily falling stock price. But Tuesday's deal seems to have lifted TiVo, at least temporarily.