Monday, January 24, 2011

Tivo Snags Another Cable Operator

Count Charter, a top 5 cable provider to a lengthening list of cable operators now offering a Tivo set top box. Along with Comcast and Cox (although I have yet to see a full rollout), others include Suddenlink, RCN, and Direct TV. "Under the deal -- which represents one of TiVo's biggest service provider wins in years -- Charter this year will launch TiVo's Premiere DVR in unspecified markets, along with forthcoming multiroom DVR features. The MSO also will use the TiVo guide on non-DVR set-tops."

Even more exciting, is the level of sophistication that Tivo adds to the Charter and Tivo-enabled home. "The initial TiVo market launches in Charter territories will include Web applications, such as access to local news, sports and weather, as well as Facebook and Twitter updates, right from the TV, plus access to Charter's VOD library, including more than 900 high-definition titles." Truly added value and appeal.

As the volume of choice on television increases, Tivo has proven itself superior with better search capabilities than anything that other set top boxes offer. Add to that the expertise they bring, recording shows that it intuitively thinks may be of interest to the home. It is ultimately those devices that bring better search and recommendation to the home, that as a result, brings value to the consumer. And value hopefully translates as acquisition and retention for the cable operator.

10 Billion Served

No, not McDonalds' hamburgers, rather 10 billion iTune downloads and growing. So it is no wonder that online competition exists. The latest into the fray is Sony. "'Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity,' which Sony unveiled in September, started in the U.K. and Ireland in December and in France, Germany, Italy and Spain this weekend. It’s available on Sony’s Playstation 3 game console, Blu-ray Disc player, Bravia televisions, personal computers, and will be on smartphones using Google Inc.’s Android operating systems." So non-Apple devices can now get an online music store. As Apple and it's devices own the market share, should Apple even be worried? Doubtful.

Still, should the same providers of such content choose to stop offering to Apple, it would certainly affect sales. I doubt any such move would be in the best interest of the content companies, especially given the market share that Apple serves. And as Apple products have proved superior to other smartphones and music players, it is hard to imagine that such an offering will have a big dent on Apple. As long as Apple continues to innovate and improve, they will keep attracting more users and such their iTune and App stores will only continue to provide a greater source of revenue and growth.