Amazon may tap TiVo to leverage movie service

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
In a bid to disrupt Apple Computer's reservations for a prime seat in the living room, Amazon is reportedly talking with TiVo about making its new Unbox movie download service accessible to TiVo subscribers.



Citing sources familiar with the discussions, the New York Post said the Internet's largest retailer is talking "with TiVo about creating a feature that would allow users to automatically transfer online movie purchases to their TiVo set-top boxes."



Amazon recently rolled out its Unbox service, which offers television shows, movies and other videos. The announcement came just days before Apple chief executive Steve Jobs orchestrated an elaborate presentation to announce the iPod maker's own movie service, which features full-length films from Walt Disney. Unlike Apple, Amazon has deals in place with every other movie studio except Disney.



During Apple's unveiling, Jobs also said Apple in the first quarter of 2007 will begin selling a media hub, dubbed iTV, which will wirelessly deliver all of a user's iTunes content -- including videos, TV programs, music, podcasts and feature films -- to their big screen TV.



Earlier this week, Newsweek reported that Apple and Google have been floating a concept that could make files from Google's free online Video service easily accessible through iTV.



Apple plans to sell the device for $299.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    While I am excited that my TiVo is getting enhanced functinality, I truly hope that the iTV will not fall behind because of this...
  • Reply 2 of 40
    This is one thing that could definitely give Amazon the upperhand.... If, of course, they can manage to get the service to actually work..
  • Reply 3 of 40
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Would that mean that Tivo would get the Windows DRM or would Amazon convert it to a different DRM compatible with Tivo's system?
  • Reply 4 of 40
    I've had tivo for years and still haven't installed their software to play videos on my PC. Its a pain in the ass. Trying to get unbox's crappy service to go ON to my tivo seems like even more of a nightmare.
  • Reply 5 of 40
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,074member
    Based on the DirecTV (series 1 and series 2 both) Tivo units that I have owned, I don't think that Tivo has particularly talented programmers. I doubt that the amazon link up will be popular.
  • Reply 6 of 40
    I think this is will create real competition for apple. Will the unbox interface sucks, Tivo's user interface has often been praised. I'm sure Tivo will simplify the movie downloading process. And with the millions of current Tivo users, this will give Amazon a major advantage in the video download market. Considering that Tivo comes with DVR functionality and that new Tivo boxes even have HD DVR capabilities, iTV really needs to be spectacular since I'm sure it will not come with DVR capabilities.



    I'm thinking that all that is need is web browser capabilities to offer a good enough product to do better than Tivo+Amazon.
  • Reply 7 of 40
    Tivo hopefully gets bought out by Apple some day. I have 4 Tivos, two are series2 and the others are older than that.



    Tivo was once a great product and I can't imagine living without it at times. However, their recent price 'restructuring' has doomed many longtime Tivo users into jumping ship.



    Canceling the 'lifetime' update service and forcing future Tivo purchases to pay the monthly charges which in 3 years outweight the 'lifetime' service price. I've had Tivo since day one, going on 7 years soon, and am glad there are alternatives now.



    It was bad enough the price of lifetime increased from its original $100 to $300 over the years but to cancel that option altogether was unforgivable.



    Thank god for Moxi, ElGato and the others.
  • Reply 8 of 40
    "the iPod maker's own movie service, which features full-length films from Walt Disney. Unlike Apple, Amazon has deals in place with every other movie studio except Disney. "



    I cant help feeling Jobs is cutting his nose off to spite his face insisting on fixed pricing for all videos.



    Every product range in free market driven countries, with the exception of iTunes, has a variety of prices depending on the "make/model". Does he really think the public are so dumb they cant understand different products having different prices?
  • Reply 9 of 40
    thought 1: re tivo lifetime pricing: it's that exact issue that caused my parents to get the dvr box through their cable provider instead of upgrading to a hd-tivo box. they have had their tivo for years but said f'it b/c they would have to buy some 800 dollar box and then magically start paying for service again. stupid. so they are moving the tivo to the non HD tv in thier house on the off chance they need to record two things at once.



    thought 2: the good thing about flat pricing is that it probably increases the basic number of sales. with sliding scale pricing it is easier for me to talk myself into waiting until the price drops or out of some other purchase because it is expensive as compared to other whatever (movies in this case). flat pricing like that is simple, easy and efficient. but scaled pricing has found its way to itunes also when purchasing the full CD.
  • Reply 10 of 40
    wilcowilco Posts: 985member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by e1618978


    Based on the DirecTV (series 1 and series 2 both) I don't think that Tivo has particularly talented programmers.



    All of the companies licensing their technology don't feel the same way.
  • Reply 11 of 40
    Tivo is definitely a rip off. With Comcast (err... Time Warner <spits hatefully in TW's direction>) we pay $10 a month for a HD enabled (our TV is still 640x480 unfortunately) dual tuner (thank goodness for that come Thursday night) box, no installation or startup fee.
  • Reply 12 of 40
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,074member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wilco


    All of the companies licensing their technology don't feel the same way.



    Off the top of my head -



    Series 1:



    - no folders, a pretty obvious thing you would need, and not hard to add.

    - sorting files recording list requires secret code

    - [and this is huge] way too many "this may take a minute" delays - they had an incompetant programmer working on their data storage.

    - insufficient testing. I have uncovered obvious bugs where it fails to use the 2nd tuner even though it could, and where it failed to record something that got pre-empted by a lower priority item on the season pass list.



    Series 2:



    - they added folders, but when you delete the last item in a folder it does not jump you out to the list again, it just says "empty folder". This is just stupid.



    I would have done a much better job than whoever they hired. Most of their effort when into the fancy background screen with the steam rising or whatever.
  • Reply 13 of 40
    msanttimsantti Posts: 1,377member
    TiVo Series 3 HD owner here.



    I love my TiVo but would rather get my movies and such via iTV.
  • Reply 14 of 40
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,692member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM


    Would that mean that Tivo would get the Windows DRM or would Amazon convert it to a different DRM compatible with Tivo's system?



    Whatever Amazon is using now, would likely have to be used?if it would work on a Tivo at all.



    I;'m not sure I can understand this.



    How many people use a Tivo? Not very many.



    The new Hi Def Tivo costs $800, plus $13 a month. It has limitations. The high def quality is good, but the SD is MEH.



    The SD Tivo's are just not popular.



    So people will have to pay for the Tivo (unless Amazon gives it away for free. Not likely, but possible), plus pay an additional $13 a month!



    This sounds as though it's getting too expensive for most people.



    I'm not even sure how thewy can work out the DRM issue. Can Tivo even handle it? That's a question that hasn't bee answered. It would need to be incorporated into the machines firmware, or software.



    Even if that could be done, it would take time to implement.



    By that time the service could be dead.
  • Reply 15 of 40
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    TiVO has nothing to lose and Amazon has everything to gain from this partnership. It's a good play on the part of both companies.



    Sure the two companies have some challenges but its not insurmountable. TiVO already deals with DRM issues. It comes with the territory and its all just software anyway.



    Vinea
  • Reply 16 of 40
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,692member
    Feh! A waste of time.
  • Reply 17 of 40
    From Tivo's SEC filing:

    "As of July 31, 2006, there were just over 4.4 million subscriptions to the TiVo service."



    The Tivo brand is synonymous with DVR and TV recording and has very high brand recognition.



    If Amazon sold movies on Tivo sets, a big chunk of this group would purchase movies from the service.



    If this deal closes quickly and the service is introduced quickly, Apple would then end up playing catch up. Playing catch up is no big deal if the competitors are no names without any brand recognition, but not with Amazon and Tivo.



    At a market cap of less than $700m, Tivo can easily be bought out to prevent a situation like this.
  • Reply 18 of 40
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by msantti


    TiVo Series 3 HD owner here.



    I love my TiVo but would rather get my movies and such via iTV.



    I am also a Series 3 owner, and I can't possibly imagine why you would rather pay for decent resolution, but low detail movies from Apple. I haven't heard one good thing about the quality of the video Apple sells; it doesn't even approach DVD. Even if the quality of Amazon's movies are the same or lower quality, the ability to rent from Amazon (as opposed to buying something I will watch once) seems to be the most ideal method.
  • Reply 19 of 40
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by infinitespecter


    I am also a Series 3 owner, and I can't possibly imagine why you would rather pay for decent resolution, but low detail movies from Apple. I haven't heard one good thing about the quality of the video Apple sells; it doesn't even approach DVD. Even if the quality of Amazon's movies are the same or lower quality, the ability to rent from Amazon (as opposed to buying something I will watch once) seems to be the most ideal method.



    It's been said by others many times, but I agree that the download model is begging for rentals. I can see a renter wanting to watch something tonight. If you are buying to keep, then it's harder to justify losing the tangibility, features and flexibility of a DVD in order to buy it tonight. I'm not saying no one will buy, it's just a harder sell.
  • Reply 20 of 40
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross


    Whatever Amazon is using now, would likely have to be used?if it would work on a Tivo at all.



    I;'m not sure I can understand this.



    How many people use a Tivo? Not very many.



    The new Hi Def Tivo costs $800, plus $13 a month. It has limitations. The high def quality is good, but the SD is MEH.



    The SD Tivo's are just not popular.



    So people will have to pay for the Tivo (unless Amazon gives it away for free. Not likely, but possible), plus pay an additional $13 a month!



    This sounds as though it's getting too expensive for most people.



    I'm not even sure how thewy can work out the DRM issue. Can Tivo even handle it? That's a question that hasn't bee answered. It would need to be incorporated into the machines firmware, or software.



    Even if that could be done, it would take time to implement.



    By that time the service could be dead.



    Melgross a couple of things



    1. Where is the stat that not many people use Tivo?. huh, the majority of the people who use DVR uses Tivo and

    2. How many people do you think will use Itv?. I'd bet my year salary that there will be more Tivo users than ITV users for the next 4 years (I'm giving apple 4 years to make this work)

    3. Tivo with amazon is expensive?.. what, you expect Itv with itunes to be cheap?. If people cannot afford Tivo with onbox, they sure aint gonna be able to afford a $299 ITV device with itunes (newsflash Melgross, After you buy ITV, the movies from itunes will not be free, you still gotta pay for those!!!).

    4. They can work out the DRM issue. This is not like going to the moon or building an atom bomb. I could work out the DRM issue and i am just one man. I'm sure they can find developers somewhere on this planet to work out the DRM issue.

    5. Even if it takes time, the service cannot be dead. How can it be?. Is ITV on the market tomorrow?. How long do you think they would take?. Me by myself would take a few months. ITV will not be coming onto the market until next year and as wonderfull as you think the itunes movie service is currently, it's not demonstrably better than onbox. Apple is not gonna crush amazon by no means and in fact, ITV may be dead on arrival (or alive only in the mac community) if amazon and Tivo can get their shit together before ITV arrives. Again, you understimate the programmers on planet earth. We are a talented bunch of people. Heck, if we can develop software for a space shuttle, we can do the DRM thing. It's an afternoon job for one person. I'm sure it will take longer only because they have to figure things out, make sure no one can circumvent, etc but basically, this is a weekend job.
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