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TiVo's next act: software only?

Marc Perton

While TiVo has bundled its services with set-top boxes provided by other companies -- at one point DirecTV was said to account for nearly 70% of TiVo's customers -- the company has long promoted itself as being a hardware provider as well as a service. Now there are signs that the company may be moving away from that model and shifting to an all-service future. In recent comments to analysts, TiVo CEO Tom Rogers said that he envisions much of the company's future growth as coming from partnerships with cable operators. "We're a total software upgrade when you think of the cable side of our business. The more that are out there, the more we have an opportunity to roll out to, the more we have the ability for cable subscribers to become TiVo subscribers." While risky, the strategy might be TiVo's best bet to stay alive in the industry it helped create, given that many cable operators are already providing DVR service using boxes and software provided by companies such as Scientific Atlanta. TiVo's main cable deal so far is with Comcast, but the company has been hurt by delays in rolling out that partnership's Tivo-capable boxes, which will be made by Motorola.

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