Yankee Group to TiVo: buh-bye…

January 23, 2007

The days of the standalone digital video recorder are numbered. (That means you, TiVo.)

Yankee Group analyst Joshua Martin says the standalone DVR product category will cease to exist by 2010, “and its dissolution will result in the end of TiVo as we know it.”
TiVo HD Box
Why? Many reasons, Martin says, but it is the so-easy-a-caveman-can-understand-it arithmetic that dooms the pioneering DVR maker:

Cable and satellite providers: BIG. Tivo: small.

Cable and satellite providers can afford to give away DVRs for free, or rent them at a few bucks a month, many with fewer features than a typical TiVo box. And most consumers will be happy to pay just one bill – rather than one payment to service providers and another to TiVo.

At the end of 2006 there were about 18 million DVRs in the market, of which about 1.6 million were TiVos. By the end of 2011, there will be 46 million DVRs, he said.

“TiVo in the last year kind of missed the boat, with the dual tuner DVR, cable and satellite TV providers beat them to that. And (TiVo’s High Definition DVR) is really, really expensive. For an $800 entry fee, most people are willing to give that up.”

DVRs will become commoditized, he adds, “resulting in the end of TiVo.”

Well, not the total and absolute end, perhaps…

“TiVo has incredible brand value that resonates with customers and it will be an asset to any service provider, increasing the likelihood of an acquisition.”

Perhaps salvation is on the horizon in the form of cable industry partnerships. But one deal with Comcast has yet to yield a product some two years after announcement of the partnership.

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