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Netgear Can't Set TiVo Free

TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) is featured in the new home media-storage product from Netgear Inc. (Nasdaq: NTGR), but that doesn't mean TiVo has quite breached the whole-home barrier.

TiVo is included on ReadyNAS, a network-attached storage (NAS) appliance that Netgear plans to launch on Monday. Media and analysts got a sneak peek last night at a Netgear bash held in a San Francisco art gallery.

ReadyNAS Ultra is intended for distributing media (videos, pictures, music, etc.) to pretty much any device, including smartphones and tablets. To achieve that, ReadyNAS Ultra comes loaded with the necessary software from companies including Orb Networks Inc. , Skifta -- and TiVo.

The result is like cable's "TV Everywhere" concept, only for all media.

Well, almost all. TV shows recorded by TiVo can only be viewed through TiVo boxes, representatives of Netgear and TiVo confirmed. And for some, that killed the party.

"That's a real shame," said Colin Dixon, an analyst with The Diffusion Group (TDG) , upon being told this news.

The messenger, Netgear product line manager Tiffany Pham, was apologetic. "We all want it the other way," she offered. But it's out of Netgear's control; the issue is in the digital rights management applied to the videos.

Dixon's reaction reflected his high hopes for TiVo's role in the announcement. "So disappointing," he told Light Reading later. "One of the things I've been puzzling over is how TiVo is going to keep up with things like TV Everywhere."

TiVo doesn't even have a whole-home version of its DVR yet, although it's working in that direction as part of a partnership with Suddenlink Communications . (See TiVo's Crafting a Whole-Home DVR.)

It's possible to build an ersatz whole-home DVR out of TiVos. But you need one full-blown TiVo box for every television you'd want to watch; a true whole-home option would consist of one TiVo receiver and simpler client boxes for the home's other TVs.

TiVo's comments lately -- including some by a spokeswoman at last night's bash -- indicate the company is is working on a whole-home DVR. At the very least, TiVo officials realize that everyone thinks they need one.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:30:25 PM
re: Netgear Can't Set TiVo Free

I guess you could argue this wasn't such a surprise, but after seeing all the things Orb and Skifta can do (more about Skifta in a future blog post)... TiVo kind of fell flat by comparison. Especially since the whole Netgear event was about the awesomeness of being able to consume your media anywhere. 

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