TiVo to Market “Whole-Home” DVR, Tries to Play Catch Up to Microsoft Media Center Extender Model

Time-Shifting the Ad Industry: Tom Rogers, President and CEO, TiVo | D6 Highlights | AllThingsD Interesting notes over at All Things Digital today coming from TiVo at the D6 conference. Tom Rogers, TiVo’s CEO, gave an interview live on stage to Kara Swisher and John Paczkowski wrote up some notes on the interview.

Most of the interview is all stuff that we’ve heard before. TiVo is cozying up to the advertising industry. TiVo is partnering with cable companies. TiVo gives consumers control over their TV viewing experience, blah, blah, blah. Typical trademarked Tom Rogers marketing soundbites.

But, then at the very end of Swisher’s interview comes a gem. It literally is the last sentence in Paczkowski’s article on the interview. He buries the lead:

“What about ease of use? TiVo wireless adapters are good, Rogers responds, acknowledging there’s nevertheless a multiset issue: You still need a second box. But we’re working on a whole-home model, he adds.”

Say what? This is the first time I’ve ever seen TiVo mention a home server sort of strategy for serving up media.

I used to be a passionate TiVo user, but over time I migrated to a Microsoft Media Center strategy for my home. Why? Because I found that the Media Center experience which combined a dual tuner HDTV recorder, all of my photos, all of my music, etc. was a more complete set up for me.

Another major reason for dumping TiVo though and going with Media Center was Microsoft’s brilliant Media Center extender strategy. With Media Center, XBox 360s act as extender units and can pull all of your digital media content (TV, photos, music, home movies, Flickr faves, and a whole lot more) from a single PC in your home. In my case I’ve got the Media Center PC in the attic and XBox 360 extender units in the living room, kitchen and bedroom.

Not only do my XBox 360s act as Media Center extenders, but they also all have DVD players to play my Netflix movies and they all are kick ass gaming machines for the kids to play XBox 360 games.

The problem with TiVo in the past is that you have to buy a separate TiVo unit (including onerous monthly fees) for every single TV in the home.

But what I got from today’s interview as reported by All Things Digital is that this is soon going to change. That TiVo, like Microsoft, will be offering some sort of a home server based media center strategy for the whole home.

Now this is smart. I still doubt it will be for me since I’d rather not pay TiVo a monthly fee every month (I pay Microsoft zero every month), but it is a step in the right direction in my opinion.

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  1. I couldn’t agree with you more. I recently siwtched from two Series3 TiVos to a Dell XPS running VMC and a CableCARD tuner and the single greatest strength about VMC over Tivo is the way it works on multiple TVs with the use of extenders. It was way more difficult to setup, but I find it much more enjoyable to use.