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03/24/2003 Archived Entry: "TiVo wins... for now"
Posted by CKL @ 12:01 PM PST

SONICblue has announced that it's filing for bankruptcy and negotiating to sell its ReplayTV and Rio divisions to D&M Holdings, the Japanese parent company of audio equipment manufacturers Denon and Marantz. The SONICblue web site assures users that "the ReplayTV service you have come to love will not be affected or interrupted in any way." Right.

I'm not at all surprised by this. I just wonder what D&M will do with ReplayTV. Denon and Marantz aren't in the service business; they make hardware. But it would be great to have a commercial PVR that doesn't charge subscription fees, and I think that's the only real competition anyone can offer against TiVo. That's one reason Dish Network's DishPVR line of integrated satellite receiver PVRs sell so well-- no additional monthly fees. The other reason is that the user doesn't have to set up two separate boxes and deal with two possible points of failure.

I still expect the PVR business to be taken over by cable and satellite TV companies eventually. Cable companies are pushing digital cable, which requires you to use their equipment anyway, just like satellite. Why not include at least basic PVR functionality? Storage is cheap, you can get open source software for free (both TiVo and DishPVRs run Linux), and the benefit for the consumer is astounding. Roll whatever fees you want to charge into the programming bundle, and it's a done deal.

Sooner or later, somebody will get it.

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Posted by @ 00/00/ 00:00 PST

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