But here's the thing: it's been ten years since TiVo first introduced the Philips-built HDR110 at NAB, and while the company's name has since become synonymous with time-shifted digital video recording, it's not because its products have achieved runaway success. In fact, it's the exact opposite: most consumers choose to get by with awful cable- or satellite-company DVRs, and TiVo's only just barely pulled a full year of profitability, two factors that have kept it firmly on deathwatch since 2005. Not only that, but while TiVo might have pushed the DVR into the mainstream, it hasn't meaningfully innovated since -- apart from HD output and the aforementioned streaming services, you'd be hard-pressed to tell a brand-new TiVo HD from an original unit by using it for five minutes. Worse, the entire DVR category's essentially remained stagnant as well -- one study found that the average DVR-enabled family records just 15-20 percent of the TV they watch, a startlingly low number by any measure.
So look -- it's not working, guys. We're happy that Comcast is now offering the TiVo interface in certain markets as a paid option, and we'll be pleased as punch when those long-promised new DirecTiVo units ship out, but the simple fact of the matter is TiVo can't continue to rely on the same strategies and ideas that haven't worked for the past ten years. What TiVo needs is a new plan -- and we've got five simple ideas that might help kickstart the company and the DVR market for the next ten years. Read on for more.