Set-top boxes

TiVo May Exit Retail Hardware Business

After Rovi closes on its acquisition of TiVo and assumes the TiVo name, the new company is likely to ditch the retail set-top hardware business.

That was the message from Rovi Corp. CFO Peter Halt at the Cowen and Company Annual Technology, Media and Telecom Conference yesterday. (Hat tip: Dave Zatz.) Halt was very clear that Rovi wants to maintain its retail presence post-acquisition, but that it has little interest in being the company that manufactures TiVo boxes.

"Being in the hardware business isn't something that necessarily excites us," said Halt. "There are several box providers out there who have direct-to-retail. We'll be looking at the possibilities of working with them, having them control the box. And while that would be a partnership and we wouldn't get all the sales as a result, we think that's probably a better way to approach the consumer space."

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Despite trying to reinvigorate its fan base with new products like the TiVo Bolt, TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) has struggled in recent years to gain retail market share, losing out to competitive streaming devices like the Apple TV and Roku product line. (See TiVo's Retail Fortunes Flag.)

Prior to announcing the acquisition by Rovi, TiVo had intended to launch a new direct-to-consumer product in 2016. However, whether Rovi plans to move forward with those plans is unknown. TiVo also insisted in March that it would reduce its retail costs, which could potentially be achieved by outsourcing manufacturing. (See TiVo Teases New Retail Product and What's Next for Rovi & TiVo?)

If Rovi does partner with hardware companies in the future, it wouldn't be the first time that the TiVo brand has shown up on boxes made by third-party vendors. Philips, Samsung Corp. and Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) are among the companies that have furnished hardware for TiVo in the past.

TiVo has also partnered with other manufacturers for years in the service provider channel. Most recently, TiVo joined a deal with the NCTC that involves selling lower-cost boxes produced by Evolution Digital and powered by the TiVo software platform. (See Evolution Digital Signs NCTC Deal .)

— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

Joe Stanganelli 6/5/2016 | 12:16:41 PM
Software As Marc Andreessen said, "Software is eating the world."

As we get more reliant on cloud and virtualization (and, in turn, whiteboxing), this is hardly surprising.  The trends suggest that we'll eventually whittle down to a handful of premier proprietary hardware vendors.
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