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Media (Apple) Media Technology

Apple to Buy TiVo? 491

vallette writes "Reuters is reporting that Apple may be interested in buying TiVo. Seems like a good fit to me. Both companies stock price is up on the rumor."
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Apple to Buy TiVo?

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  • Go for it! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Thursday February 24, 2005 @01:26AM (#11763425) Homepage Journal
    How can this not be a good idea? A decent PVR setup (with hardware acceleration) has been missing for the MacOS platform. Even though there are software options, they require heavy duty hardware and because there is no hardware acceleration, even a G5 takes a bit of crunching to perform compressions and such. Also, given Apple's video compression technologies such as Pixlet would make ideal means for encoding video for later replay, say on the plane or some such downtime.

    Of course the business analysis will make the ultimate determination of whether or not Apple is willing to make the move, (and Tivo has been losing money), but if any company can make it work, while showing the MPAA and equivalent TV organization a past history of success in media with iTunes, Apple is it. Come on, how would you like to in addition to the traditional PVR duties, be able to pull up TV episodes of old series that are not being shown, even in syndication? Or have a truly "on demand" movie library of all sorts, not just the popular canned options that cable companies think will be most profitable?

    • Alternatively... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Chordonblue ( 585047 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @01:33AM (#11763505) Journal
      Or how would you like to ride in an aircar to your destination, or 'micro-wave' all of your food?

      As usual, good ideas never live up to the reality and the problem here isn't so cut and dried. CONTENT is the issue. All I see Apple gaining is the TiVO name (which in and of itself isn't a bad thing). Content suppliers are the ones who will have to meet consumers halfway and if what's been going on with the DMCA, Broadcast Flag, and other nonsense, I don't see this changing.

      Now... If Apple decides to take chances and 'loophole' solutions to let their consumers do what they want with the content - THAT would be interesting. So far, it appears the consumer electronics industry as a whole is rolling over when challenged by the likes of the RIAA and MPAA.

      • by tgibbs ( 83782 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @01:54AM (#11763639)
        Content suppliers are the ones who will have to meet consumers halfway and if what's been going on with the DMCA, Broadcast Flag, and other nonsense, I don't see this changing.

        Actually, Steve Jobs might be the one guy who can do this. Remember, he's not just a potential DVR manufacturer, he is also, through Pixar, a content producer himself. So as he did with iTunes, he may well be able to work out a DRM scheme that is acceptable to the industry, yet not unacceptable to the average consumer.
        • Re:Alternatively... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by JPriest ( 547211 )
          There is a reason that almost every time you see a computer in a movie it is a mac. Apple has a good relationship with the movie industry.
        • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )
          Yep it could be a big win. ITunes for Movies. You download them to your IEntertainment Center and watch them on your TV, Computer, or Ipod Video. It is all too scary. Apple my be the one that beats out Microsoft. I for one will not welcome our new Apple overlords anymore than I welcome our current Microsoft overlords.
          • If Apple could modify the Mac Mini into a PVR (ATI 9200 All-In-Wonder TV) and to have a docking station for an iPod Video-to-Go using MPEG-4/AVC device they could rename it iPod Media Center or iPod Digital Lifestyle or iPod Home Entertainment. Couple that with an optional iPod RAID, a cheap 4 disk software RAID system with 4x250GB or 4x400GB drive. This could compete with Sony's Vaio Type X [ehomeupgrade.com]. The lack of PVR/DVR functionality is one gaping hole in Apple's digital hub strategy. I can imagine an iPod video de
      • Re:Alternatively... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Kesh ( 65890 )
        As usual, good ideas never live up to the reality and the problem here isn't so cut and dried. CONTENT is the issue

        Hello? iTunes Music Store on your TiVO, anyone? Not to mention if Apple starts selling music videos or other video content via iTMS...

      • So what you are telling me is that a guy that already has one hugely successful intertwined music device and digital music content sales system up and running would be unable to get anything done at all for a different type electronic content?
        • by Chordonblue ( 585047 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @04:59AM (#11764607) Journal
          Jobs might stand the best chance at succeeding, certainly - but it will also come at some sort of price. My guess is - YOU will be the one paying it in the form of protected content, or limited types of content being available.

          There is a reason why some music is not yet available on iTunes. Every company wants to own the online portion of this business and Apple - while they may be the biggest - is certainly not the only one. And we haven't even gotten to fighting with the big movie houses. You think Sony's Pictures division is going to be interested in supporting someone else's standard? I don't think so. 'Spiderman' is on it's way to a PSP near you but I'll be it would be a LONG time indeed before Jobs would be allowed to sell it.

          What makes DVD ubiquitous is the fact that you can find tons of content of every type for it, and know that it will play on your player. TiVO has built a business on a relatively open platform - the user's cable tv.

          I'm just not convinced that Apple needs TiVO to do 'iVids' or ultimately what this will get them.
          • by tgibbs ( 83782 )
            You think Sony's Pictures division is going to be interested in supporting someone else's standard? I don't think so. 'Spiderman' is on it's way to a PSP near you but I'll be it would be a LONG time indeed before Jobs would be allowed to sell it.

            Yes, it's probably just coincidence that the President of Sony appeared on stage with Jobs at the last MacWorld [macobserver.com]. He probably was just passing by and thought he'd stop in to say "Hi."
      • Re:Alternatively... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @05:01AM (#11764614)
        Okay, lets ignore the GIANT divide between PC and TV which Apple has tried to bridge before with its TV Mac or whatever that thing was.

        Apple would not only get the name but the familiar and excellent Tivo interface/software. This includes the familiar and excellent Tivo remote. Sure, upside down it looks like a, ahem, little black dildo [designfund.co.kr], but other than that its probably the best remote design out there. They also get Tivo's customer base and a chance to build upon a well-known brand.

        Lastly, they also get all that sweet, sweet tv datamining. The data tivo collects makes the Neilson system look like 1950's technology. Apple could better resell or use this information than tivo currently does. Sounds weird? Not any weirder than Apple being the largest online digital music seller and mp3 player producer.

        There's a lot to tivo Apple can build on. If apple wants to bridge the TV/PC gap then this looks like a smart move.
    • by useosx ( 693652 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @01:37AM (#11763536)
      So if Apple buys TiVo are they then dying twice as fast or twice as slow?

      Or are their deaths still interdependent?
    • Re:Go for it! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tgibbs ( 83782 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @01:49AM (#11763616)
      I think that it is likely that Apple will get into the PVR business, probably once the CableCard 2.0 standard is finalized and it becomes possible for 3rd party devices to replicate and extend the function of cable boxes.

      As a TiVo owner, I'd like to see Apple buy TiVo.

      But as an Apple stockholder, I don't see what Apple gets out of the deal.

      DVR technology? It's no great secret. There are open-source DVRs. If they want to buy the technology, Elgato [elgato.com] is probably cheaper, and their stuff already runs on OS X.

      The TiVo brandname? Apple is probably one of the few companies with little to gain from the Tivo name. Apple already has more brand recognition than TiVo, and they'd to better to merchandise a hypothetical Apple DVR as "the company that brought you the iPod" than on the basis of the less well known TiVo name.

      The TiVo interface? It's impressive for a consumer electronics product, but nothing special by Apple standards. Presumably, Apple would want to roll their own, as they did for iPod.

      Tivo's current customers? If they aren't making a profit for TiVo, why would they make one for Apple? Besides, Apple presumably will want to introduce something like the iTunes Music Store for HD video. This will require H.264 [apple.com] for efficient content delivery. Current TiVo hardware can't handle this. Presumably, current TiVo owners will be looking to upgrade in the next few years to a DVR with HD capability. Why shouldn't it be an Apple instead of a TiVo?

      TiVo's patents? This is the only thing I can think of that Apple might want. But I'm not sure how crucial they are. They certainly haven't stopped cable companies from handing out competing DVRs, or Elgato from implementing one on the Mac. Still, I suppose that it is possible that TiVo has some patent that would be crucial to the kind of user experience that Apple hopes to create.

      Eliminating a potential competitor for the DVR market? Again, perhaps, but at the moment TiVo isn't seeming like that big a threat.
      • Re:Go for it! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Hellasboy ( 120979 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @02:18AM (#11763773)
        An Apple product in every home.

        Think of possible upgrades. "Buy a computer AND a DVR" at a switch of a button you can browse the 'net on your hdtv, click a button and you're back to watching the shows you missed while browsing on the 'net. Hell, it wouldn't be so out of the ordinary that the DVR and OS can mingle together in some capacity (but not too much as they would want to keep the setup as simple as possible).

        When people buy a second home computer, they're going to buy the type of computer that's already found controlling their TV.

        Microsoft gained dominance by attacking the business market back in the 80s. Gaining dominance now means that a company needs to attack the home entertainment market.

        And someone will bring up how the game systems are trying to do DVR work. They won't succeed nearly as well because their is no line of succession past those systems. An Apple branded Tivo could lead to an Apple/Tivo hybrid (separate hardware in the same enclosure, don't make the mistake of windows mce) that leads to people using an Apple as their primary computer. Apple can do this because they do a great job of homogenizing their brand. An XBox has no consumer friendly interoperatiblity (sp?) with a Windows box.
        • Re:Go for it! (Score:3, Interesting)

          Weren't the S1 Tivos using PPC chips anyways?

          I wouldn't think it would be that much of a stretch to get the Tivo software working on a Mac with extra hardware for the MPEG-2 encoding and TV Tuners anyways. Not to mention it would probably work very well with the home video strategy Apple is pursuing on their desktops.
      • Re:Go for it! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @02:50AM (#11763931) Homepage
        Apple buys Tivo. Apple ads a DRM layer onto Tivo. Apple starts selling MPEG2 and 4 movies at iTunes. Apple lets you download movies and watch them on your big screen, whenever you want, somthing nobody else can offer. Apple releases an iPod with a color screen...

        Tivo has a large HDD, a network connection, and a large installed base. If you go with MPEG2 (still the DVD standard) instead of MPEG4, you A: save yourself a lot of re-encoding costs and B: incentivize buying a newer model with a bigger hard drive.

        This would be great. I don't think it's serious, but this would be great.

        Don't forget, Apple bought the basis for iTunes and the iPod before making them over with good design.

      • Re:Go for it! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by truesaer ( 135079 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @02:50AM (#11763932) Homepage
        TiVo comes prepackaged with a million subscribers, partnerships with cable and satellite providers, lots of patents and other IP, engineering expertise, brand name recognition, supply channels and marketing, etc.

        Developing from scratch would take what, a year minimum? These boxes have to be solid. You can't just throw MythTV into a system and start shipping.

        Buying TiVo gives them a running start. They can always call it the Apple TiVo or the Mac TiVo if they want.

        • by milkman_matt ( 593465 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @03:12AM (#11764052)
          Buying TiVo gives them a running start. They can always call it the Apple TiVo or the Mac TiVo if they want.

          or the iVo!
        • Re:Go for it! (Score:3, Interesting)

          by tgibbs ( 83782 )
          TiVo comes prepackaged with a million subscribers, partnerships with cable and satellite providers, lots of patents and other IP, engineering expertise, brand name recognition, supply channels and marketing, etc.

          The subscribers have obsolete equipment that won't be able to handle h.264 (MPEG-4), which Apple will need for HD content delivery. Why not sell them an Apple box instead of an Apple/TiVo box when they decide to upgrade? (and they'd be less likely to expect a special deal for being "loyal subscrib
      • You hit on something I didn't realize, but completely missed it yourself as well...

        Tivo's current customers? If they aren't making a profit for TiVo, why would they make one for Apple? Besides, Apple presumably will want to introduce something like the iTunes Music Store for HD video. This will require H.264 [apple.com] for efficient content delivery. Current TiVo hardware can't handle this. Presumably, current TiVo owners will be looking to upgrade in the next few years to a DVR with HD capability. Why s
    • Re:Go for it! (Score:5, Informative)

      by prichardson ( 603676 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @02:02AM (#11763694) Journal
      Misconception Alert!

      Don't worry, it's a minor one.

      Pixlet is designed for video editing. It compresses each frame individually. This is good for doing certain effects, since any frame can be pulled out of context.

      MPEG-4 compression uses previous frames to make a frame. This allows the file to be smaller, but doesn't allow frames to pulled out of context for effects to be added.

      Hope that clears things up! Otherwise, great post.
  • Right... (Score:5, Funny)

    by atezun ( 755568 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @01:27AM (#11763443)
    And mysteriously my TiVo no longer skips those retina burning iPod commercials
  • by loid_void ( 740416 ) * on Thursday February 24, 2005 @01:27AM (#11763446) Journal
    Most have seen these pictures [tecknohost.com].
  • Figures (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Walker2323 ( 670050 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @01:28AM (#11763448)
    If anyone can figure this one out it's Apple. Tivo is an amazing product, it just needs to be managed properly. Apple seems to be pretty good at that these days.
    • Re:Figures (Score:3, Insightful)

      by salemlb ( 857652 )
      More importantly, Apple has the sizable cash reserve to prop TiVo up until a way can be found to keep the device from losing money. iMovie store a possibility there. On the other hand, why would Apple want to take on a company that is losing money? Does TiVo have any IP that Apple needs? Any engineers that Apple wants to hire but can't pry away from TiVo? If all Apple is going for is a good PVR device for some future Mac... why not leverage your own brand and build your own? Apple has the tech and the
  • In my day... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hazman ( 642790 )
    Apple was the fish to be eaten, not the fish to eat.
  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @01:28AM (#11763455)
    Well, at least the TiVo service already somewhat goes with the current Apple naming scheme...
  • Digital hub (Score:4, Interesting)

    by caryw ( 131578 ) <carywiedemann@NoSpAm.gmail.com> on Thursday February 24, 2005 @01:30AM (#11763471) Homepage
    This would make sense as it would fit in with their "digital hub" [apple.com] philosophy. My only question is how would they integrate it with their existing product line?
    iPodTV anyone?
    --Fairfax Underground [fairfaxunderground.com]: Where Fairfax County comes out to play
  • Mac Tivo? (Score:5, Funny)

    by CTO1 ( 850830 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @01:30AM (#11763473)
    Great. Now my Tivo will play even fewer games.
  • I wish (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JHromadka ( 88188 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @01:30AM (#11763474) Homepage
    Not sure if the bandwidth requirements are there yet, but it would be an interesting proposition. iPod::iTMS, TiVo::iMVS (iMovie Video Store). Given TiVo's crapping on the Mac lately by not supporting AAC and no Mac support for TiVo2Go, I think this is purely wishful-thinking on the analyst's part.
    • Re:I wish (Score:4, Interesting)

      by protohiro1 ( 590732 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @01:39AM (#11763553) Homepage Journal
      It isn't that big of a reach. People forget that iTunes started with an aquisition: Soundjam MP. Why start from scratch with a set top box when someone else has done most of the grunt work? Given that Tivo runs on linux PPC and MIPS (series I & II) I would imagine the code is fairly portable. And getting it to run on darwin would likely be fairly trivial. If Tivo is a good buy Apple can really save money and time to market by aquiring them.
  • Analysts said that Apple's focus on its immensely successful iPod digital music player would probably preclude it from going after money-losing TiVo, whose growth strategy has been questioned due to the rise of cheaper DVRs being deployed by cable TV providers.
    If Apple did buy TiVo, the price differential would no longer be an issue--everybody expects to pay the Apple premium!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 24, 2005 @01:31AM (#11763484)
    Saw funny run-down of the Apple product cycle [misterbg.org] in someone's sig today. This cracked me up.

  • Let the wild speculation begin! I predict the iMovie store will play an integral part in this along with the new chip-based 3ivX encoder, and the cell processor system, and some sort of robot sent back from the future. Oh my!
  • Snide Remark (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ewhac ( 5844 )

    Frankly, I'm not really interested in paying $699.00 for a TiVo in translucent blue plastic.

    Besides, it doesn't seem all that great a fit. TiVo is based on Linux, and Apple has spent the last half decade working on Mach/BSD. "Apple-izing" the TiVo would take an enormous amount of parallel engineering, during which time no new TiVo products would come out.

    It's almost a cool idea, but I don't see it working.


    • Re:Snide Remark (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Moofie ( 22272 ) <lee@@@ringofsaturn...com> on Thursday February 24, 2005 @01:38AM (#11763546) Homepage
      Call me crazy, but based on the last few financial quarters, I'm guessing that Steve jobs has a better handle on his business than you do. If he does this deal, it's going to be because he thinks he can make it work.

      WTF is up with the blue plastic crack? How many current Apple products come in blue plastic?
    • Re:Snide Remark (Score:3, Insightful)

      by the pickle ( 261584 )
      OK, let's think about this. They could take the custom TiVo software and port it to Mac OS X in what, a month? That, by the way, includes the time to write a nice Aqua front-end.

      After all, as you so astutely pointed out, TiVo runs Linux, and Mac OS is based on BSD. The two are far more similar than different.

      I think the "analyst" -- and I use that term very loosely -- is demonstrating the very definition of "wishful thinking," but you're insane if you think an Apple TiVo would cost $200 more than a Mac mi
    • Re:Snide Remark (Score:4, Insightful)

      by 2nd Post! ( 213333 ) <.gundbear. .at. .pacbell.net.> on Thursday February 24, 2005 @02:02AM (#11763695) Homepage
      1) Why would a TiVo need to run on OS X?
      2) Why would it be difficult to port the actual PVR software to OS X?
      3) Why would it cost you $699?
      4) Why would it be in blue plastic?

      I suspect it would cost $499 and come in a Mac mini shaped box as additional software, and it would integrate with some kind of media software, like iTunes, and use Rendezvous to stream it across the network to all your Macs/PCs, and it would be compressed in H.264
      • 3) Why would it cost you $699?

        The answer probably involves a sentence ending in, "you cocksmoking teabaggers," but I'm not going to go there.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    There were and have been all sorts of rumours going round that the Mini was aimed at this kind of usage.

    Could mae a lot of sense - it would look pretty nice next to a tv.. with a wireless controlloer of some sort.. could be a very nice package.

    How do you think apple's FairWatch (or whatever they choose to call it) would end up looking like?
  • by Mr. Cancelled ( 572486 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @01:36AM (#11763520)
    "You see we have this new computer that we think would be a nice machine to power a familys media needs... It'll handle DVD's, CD's, mp3's, and a ton of other formats. And it's small! A family could tuck is away somewhere our of the way, and control everything through say a Bluetooth enabled remote. And did I mention it's quiet? You could hear a pin drop with it running a foot away from you".

    "Of course it would also nice if we could somehow integrate some PVR-like capabilities into our system... Time shifting and the like... Well say, that's what you boys do, now that I think about it. Look... You could sell media boxs for the next few years, until the cable companies, and the satellite companies put you out of business, Or... You could join up with me, and we can change the world!"
  • by newdamage ( 753043 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @01:38AM (#11763543) Homepage Journal
    If Apple were to do this and buy Tivo, all they'd have to do is integrate the airport express hardware into a tivo and you'd have a very nice way to wireless stream audio and video to your tv from your computer as well as still having a great DVR. I'd also like to see what Apple could do to possible improve the Tivo UI.

    Why would this work for Apple? Yes, Tivo is getting hammered by the big cable companies, but Apple has never needed market share to succeed, if they make a nice box to fix in the home threatre cabinet then the Apple hoardes will follow.
  • by piltdownman84 ( 853358 ) <piltdownman84 AT mac DOT com> on Thursday February 24, 2005 @01:39AM (#11763548)
    Really, why would Apple want Tivo? Last I heard tivo was starting to fall on hard times.

    Far better off just making their own PVR software. You can already hack together a pretty nice PVR using a Motorola DCT-6200 and a Mac. see here : http://macteens.com/more.php?id=410_0_1_0_C [macteens.com]

    The only reason Apple might want tivo is to leverage themselves somehow into the way that cable/satellite/ip content is distributed, just to block M$ push. Maybe i'm missing something but I don't see how buying tivo would help much if any with this.

    That said I would love to see a nice Mac Mini DVR from Apple. That said if they don't make one, not too hard to make one yourself.

    I, for one, welcome our iPippen overlords
    • There aren't many brand names that have tuned into generic verbs. "Tivo" is one of them. It already has a lot of clout and a fanatical base. Apple knows how to live on clout and a fanatical base.

      Maybe they're holding out until the stock price drops lower before they buy. The answer to your question is that Apple is buying the brand, and for cheap. They also probably have some internet-to-Tivo movie distribution scheme in mind. This could be big.

      One more thing: You meant "their" not "there". Please don't

    • Really, why would Apple want Tivo? Last I heard tivo was starting to fall on hard times.

      Yeah, Apple would never base a product on tech they got by buying a company that had fallen on hard times.

      That's why when it came time to design OS X, they made sure to start by buying a thriving, market-leading company with tons of customers: NeXT! :-)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 24, 2005 @01:39AM (#11763554)
    I don't want to start a holy war here, but what is the deal with you Tivo fanatics? I've been sitting here at my freelance gig in front of a Tivo (a revision 3) for about 20 minutes now while it attempts to copy a 17 minute show from one machine to another. 20 minutes! At home, on my MiniITX running MythTV, which by all standards should be a lot slower than this Tivo, the same operation would take about 2 minutes. If that.

    In addition, during this program transfer, the Channel Guide will not work. And everything else has ground to a halt. Even the media player software for the PC is straining to keep up as I type this.

    I won't bore you with the laundry list of other problems that I've encountered while working on various Tivos, but suffice it to say there have been many, not the least of which is I've never seen a Tivo that has run faster than its Wintel counterpart, despite the Tivo's faster Linux architecture. My ReplayTV with 8gigs of HD runs faster than this machine at times! From a productivity standpoint, I don't get how people can claim that the Tivo is a superior machine.

    Tivo addicts, flame me if you'd like, but I'd rather hear some intelligent reasons why anyone would choose to use a Tivo over other faster, cheaper, more stable systems.

    (Word to the mods. [kottke.org])
  • by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @01:40AM (#11763556)
    So it would be iTiVo then?
  • by MustEatYemen ( 810379 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @01:40AM (#11763557)
    Misery Loves Company.
    Wonder when Apple will pick up BSD cause that's been dying forever, oh wait.
  • by Linuxathome ( 242573 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @01:48AM (#11763606) Homepage Journal
    A cursory glance certainly highlights pros of an Apple/TiVo merger:

    1. Mac mini can be a TiVo unit (just use the S-Video out adapter for your TV set). Although it'll need a TV card (wish they'd come out with something like the Hauppauge Nexus-S satellite TV card).
    2. Next generation iPod Photo will probably be iPod Video with content that can be transferred from your TiVo unit (the Mac mini) to your iPod Video portable unit.
    3. Apple is probably not happy with just distributing music media (via its iTunes store) but is looking to the future to also provide downloadable video content via an "iVideo" store--what better way to do that than to buy the TiVo customer base and offer them this content.
    4. Apple can ensure that the saved video content has the right digital stamps (a la .AAC but for video) to restrict transfer of video to approved "devices" such as other TiVo units or portable accessories.

    The one downside I see in this merger is that Apple will probably concentrate less and less on the service of "timeshifting" (i.e. drop it entirely), unless they can ensure that users have a right to that material. READ: unless the bigwigs of TV land is happy about how Apple handles digital rights management of timeshifted/saved content. Although timeshifting and saving media for later viewing is currently acceptable, the logical path that this technology leads to, is the ability to share that content or make it portable--something that is not yet acceptable among Hollywood and the TV networks.
    • by fiftyfly ( 516990 ) <mike@edey.org> on Thursday February 24, 2005 @02:11AM (#11763742) Homepage
      Although it'll need a TV card
      How about a firewire adapter....and when people are actually buying this stuff an onboard apater on the next not-quite-so-obviously-an-adapted-ibook-mini in, say, a year.
      Next generation iPod Photo will probably be iPod Video
      How about a bluetooth enabled iPod (plus bluetooth enabled airport express) that can be used as a remote for thie iTiVO
    • One thing some have noticed is that there is an annoying flickering black stripe near the bottom of the screen with TV-out. I've seen it in my mini, and it was posted on BYODKM.net. I guess not everyone gets this. For DVI-out, I guess it's not a problem but I don't have anything with DVI in.
  • Debt (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Johnny Mnemonic ( 176043 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `eromsnidm'> on Thursday February 24, 2005 @02:09AM (#11763729) Homepage Journal

    Doesn't TiVo have a huge amount of debt? While their product may be interesting, I am under the belief that if Apple were to purchase Tivo, it would mean also having to acquire that debt--whereas, if anything, if Apple just purchased the rights to the TiVo software (to run on a mini, etc) they don't have to take on that debt too.

    What does Apple gain from a TiVo purchase vs a license to their tech? If Tivo were making money, there'd be that--but they aren't and their prospects are dim.

    I can see Apple licensing the tech, releasing it for free (for Macs) or as part of their iLife tools--and then charging a sub to hit Apple servers for schedule download. And I think they could do really interesting things with DRM content with OS X as a platform. I guess we'll see.

  • Jobs, not Apple... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by maysonl ( 642042 ) <maysonl&gmail,com> on Thursday February 24, 2005 @02:20AM (#11763783)
    TiVo would seem to fit much better into Steve Jobs's portfolio than into Apple's product line...
  • Why not TiVo? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by KingSkippus ( 799657 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @02:34AM (#11763843) Homepage Journal
    I keep seeing posts about how awful it would be for Apple to buy TiVo because TiVo is losing money and/or subscribers and because of the onslaught of competition from other PVR companies.

    Regardless of its declining status, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't TiVo still the current market leader for PVR products? I mean, if Apple DOES want to quickly get into the PVR market, wouldn't it just make sense to buy the market leader and go from there if possible?

    It just seems to me that even if TiVo is losing money and/or subscribers and/or market share, it would be a hell of a lot easier for Apple to buy it and turn it around than to start from scratch and overtake them with a whole new product line. Besides, TiVo does still have some interesting things going on. Even though the deal is winding down, they still have the DirecTV subscribers, plus the Home Media capabilities (easily integrated with iPods), plus the Netflix deal, and so on.

    Whether or not this actually happens, it seems to me that this would be a sweet deal for both companies, if (and only if) Apple seriously wants to get into the media center market.

    (If Apple does this just to "play around" in the media center market, then it will be an unmitigated disaster for both companies.)
  • anatomy of a rumor (Score:5, Informative)

    by aka-ed ( 459608 ) <robt...public@@@gmail...com> on Thursday February 24, 2005 @02:35AM (#11763846) Homepage Journal
    At 12:21 pm someone calling himself "philipswann" posted the following on the Yahoo board:

    TiVo Sale Rumors -- link
    by: phillipswann 02/23/05 12:21 pm
    Msg: 239226 of 239994


    (If you look at that link now, it's a rehash of Reuters news concerning the rumor, with no hint that Swann -- who has probably scared himself half to death by singlehandedly moving the market -- started this rumor himself)

    At 3:11 pm, Marketwatch issued a sloppy story [marketwatch.com] that credited an entity called "Inside Digital Media" for cracking the apple buyout story. However, if you visit the site, [insidedigitalmedia.com] you will find a blog entry that presents a well-reasoned rationale as to why Apple should buy Tivo, but no hard news at all.

    Subsequently, analyst Steven Kroll, Jr. (whose dad is a senior partner at the same firm) provided the "what we hear on the street" quote that Reuters served up.

    No one seems to have bothered at all to trace this garbage to its specious sources.

    I own some Tivo, and was watching all of this today because I was considering cutting my losses (this dog had lost one-third of its value in a month). Instead, I'm holding on and hoping for a short squeeze, or even the possibility that the rumors will alert video-on-demand competitors to what a bargain TIVO's 3 million subscribers would be for anyone seeking a toehold on the living room.

    So, while it looks to me that the rumor is only that, I wouldn't be too surprised if it became reality.

    • by Infonaut ( 96956 ) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Thursday February 24, 2005 @06:26AM (#11764819) Homepage Journal
      First, thank you for posting this interesting trail of breadcrumbs. The news behind the news shows that reporters are often driven by the desire to scoop the competition, and so don't do their homework properly.

      What's particularly interesting about this saga is that it was started by some random guy who could be your next door neighbor or someone embedded deep in Apple. Who really knows?

      The sloppy reporting that followed was then exposed by aka-ed, who though not "blogging" it in the most exact sense of the term was for all intents and purposes doing just that - taking advantage of a Web forum to shed a little light on how the rumor got started.

      The interplay between traditional "Big Media" players and bloggers is getting weirder and weirder every day.

    • by GeorgeH ( 5469 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @09:31AM (#11765503) Homepage Journal
      One thing: At 11:27AM (EST?) someone on the TiVo Community forums [tivocommunity.com] said:
      Rumor of Apple buying TiVo was reported on CNBC this morning, but as far as I can tell this was just some analyst's idea that it would make sense for Apple to buy TiVo, no actual inside information that a deal is in the works...
    • At 12:21 pm someone calling himself "philipswann" posted the following on the Yahoo board: TiVo Sale Rumors -- link by: phillipswann 02/23/05 12:21 pm Msg: 239226 of 239994

      Thanks for that. It's nice to know where this all started, because... well, despite all of the talk and speculation, I don't see how it would make _any_ sense at all for Apple.

      The true advantage TiVo has in the marketplace consist of (1) some patents on DVR tech and concepts, like Season Pass and such, (2) scheduling data to support tha

  • by qwerbus ( 583999 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @02:42AM (#11763885) Homepage
    its a very interesting thought to say the least. cringely had me mostly convinced with what he had to say about the mac mini. if this really went down it would be pretty clear evidence that he was right. i honestly think he has to be right, or there's a real chance of people not seeing the light and going with microsoft's IPTV instead. they really did impress me with that at CES.
  • Pricing? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @07:17AM (#11764970)
    One proble I see is Apple has never been one for losing money on hardware to sell a subscription service (not that I tink that is a wrong strategy) and getting people to buy a $300 TiVo box would be a hard sell.

    For bette ror worse, peopl will ocmpare them to $50 VCRs and think - $300 Why? Plus $12 a month? No way.

    That makes it hard to get th market share needed to sustain it in the long run. Sure, TiVo does a lot more, but you need to convince the average consumer, not a /.'er. TiVo's recently were in the $50 neighborhood at Best Buy, which brings them to the impulse price.

    TiVo is not exactly a household name, and I don't see Apple changing it's business model to sell them. After all, we don't see cheap 40G iPods to sell iTunes.

    OTOH, Apple could want some critical technology and buy TiVo to get it, then kill the service. Jobs is pretty ruthless with things he didn't invent, witness the newton, and some he did. Is TiVo NeXT?

    OTOOH, Appple has some great hardware engineers, and maybe they could come up with a TiVo Shuffle.
    • Re:Pricing? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anita Coney ( 648748 )
      Right now people are buying Mac Minis in massive quantities at 500 bucks. I would think that IF Apple bought Tivo, Apple would simply turn the Mac Mini into a Tivo device.

      So people would have to buy the hardware outright. They'll probably get a one year subscription for free. Then pay monthly after that.

      You can't really compare Apple products to mere VCRs and DVD players. Apple does a fantastic job at selling highly priced hardware to people willing to pay. In other words, Apple's version of Tivo wou
      • Re:Pricing? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gozar ( 39392 )
        So people would have to buy the hardware outright. They'll probably get a one year subscription for free. Then pay monthly after that.

        Or Apple will just require a .Mac subscription to get the program guide data.

  • AAPL (Score:3, Informative)

    by Refrag ( 145266 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @09:49AM (#11765660) Homepage
    Apple's stock isn't up on this rumor. Apple's stock is just up as of late.
  • It just makes sense. (Score:3, Informative)

    by mtaco ( 520758 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @11:53AM (#11766853)
    Too bad its probably not true, given the history of the rumor above.

    My 1st generation TiVO is already a box that sits in my living room, connected to my stereo, from which I could play songs/videos pulled off my hard drive. An I'm running Mac OS X. Considering I ended up buying a second device to do just the music piece of this http://www.slimdevices.com/ [slimdevices.com] if Apple came out with a new TiVo that did this plus movies, I'd have to seriously consider upgrading my TiVO.

    Its inevitable and obvious that Apple was going to eventually build a device to serve as the home entertainmentcomputer connection. For one thing, Steve Jobs said so about 8 years ago. They already have the codec to use for the video portion: H.264/AVC http://developer.apple.com/macosx/tiger/index.html [apple.com], and obviously they've also done the music portion.

    Whether or not they do an iVideos store is probably moot in the end. TiVo is a success just doing broadcast TV, the real growth would be becoming the defacto standard for digital cable and satellite. TiVO hasn't really persued this, but I expect Apple might, there's nothing sacred about the settop box business, and Apple has already show willingness to license iPod to other vendors like HP/Motorola.

    Nor does iVideos require broadband. DirecTV is already marketing cheap movies to PVR owners like myself. Come to think of it, even without broadband you could easily sell a service that was satellite based and offered you a menu of 100 different movies a month. After all, over pay per view, I already have a menu of about 25 movies/month, and the only reason its only 25 is because they repeat the movie all day long. With a Tivo, they would only have to broadcast a movie once.

    Hmmm... The TiVo already has a modem, so it could connect to a master server, order any movie from a long list of movies, then get the movie downloaded in one burst via the satellite. Since multiple people could mooch off the same movie download, it might be possible to have a list of 1000 movies available. If you picked an obscure movie, you might have to wait 24 hours for a download slot to open. It would be inconvenient, but if new releases were instantaneous (since you could start in the middle of any running download), its proabably acceptable.

    So say $500 for a new box that plugs into my existing video crap, lets me download from a list of 1000 movies over my satellite dish, replaces my sqeezebox for music (one less thing), stores all my DVDs for easy playback (less crap in the living room). In a word, hmm...

    TiVO couldn't do it alone, but Apple and TiVO could do it together.
  • by Kagato ( 116051 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @12:29PM (#11767228)
    Apple could help transform Tivo where it needs the most help. Hardware R&D. If there is a company that knowns how to making PowerPC hardware smaller and cheaper it's Apple.

    Take a $499 Mac Mini form factor. Remove the CD-RW, lower the processor speed, and use less expensive single purpose GFX hardware. You'll likely get hardware that is actually sold at cost instead of below cost.

    Add to the mix the fact that you're reseting the company, and can visit media partners you'd previously blown it with.

    Add to the mix being able to add the Tivo Software (Linux on PowerPC) to Mac (BSD-Like on PowerPC).

    Leverage Apples Media and Content distribution services.

    It might just work.
  • by podperson ( 592944 ) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @01:52PM (#11768189) Homepage
    What does TiVo do that Apple needs? Anyone who thinks TiVo's video capture capabilities, UI, or ability to download TV timetables automatically represent some kind of magic strategic advantage is smoking something. Apple has all of this now, what they don't have, TiVo doesn't have either.

    The key component missing from TiVo's business model is something Apple has already done with music -- replaced broadcast with play on demand. (This is probably why iPods don't have FM tuners, even though they could be added for insignificant cost -- Steve Jobs/Apple is simply anti-broadcast as a concept. You decide what you download / rip and play, not some random DJ or corporation.)

    Many of the companies Apple cut deals with to make iTunes Music Store possible are the same companies it would have to cut deals with to make Mac Mini Video Store possible.

    TiVo's model in a nutshell: If it gets broadcast, we'll make it easier for you to watch, kind of. But because the legalities are iffy, we'll place some weird artificial restrictions on what you can do with the recorded material. We haven't changed the relationship between the consumer and the content producer -- advertising is still paying for the broadcast, but our profitability is in large part predicated on screwing the advertiser.

    iTMS model translated to video: If you own it, we'll let you RIP it (or at minimum play it for you). If you don't own it, we'll let you download it for a reasonable fee (and maybe burn it). You pay for the content, not the advertiser, and not your cable company. You get exactly what you want, when you want it, not a rough approximation with ads you can kind of skip over.

We gave you an atomic bomb, what do you want, mermaids? -- I. I. Rabi to the Atomic Energy Commission