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Record profits courtesy of EchoStar

TiVo was one of the first names in DVR technology and introduced many to the concept of not having to learn to program a VCR. DVRs are now ubiquitous devices that are so ingrained into our daily lives that many can't live without them.

TiVo has announced its financials for Q3 2008 ending October 31. Highlights for the quarter according to TiVo include $105 million in damages resulting from litigation with EchoStar. Net income for the quarter was $100.6 million compared to a new loss of $8.3 million the same quarter a year ago.

Other important TiVo events in the quarter that helped its record setting profits was partnering with Netflix on movie streaming, Comcast rolling out TiVo service to more markets and an extended distribution agreement with DirecTV. Extending the DirecTV agreement puts TiVo in partnerships with three of the top five TV distributors in America.

TiVo president and CEO Tom Rogers said in a statement, "This was another solid quarter for TiVo, our fifth straight of Adjusted EBITDA profitability and we are well on our way to delivering our first Adjusted EBITDA positive year. Our strong balance sheet, consisting of over $200 million in cash and short term investments and no debt, along with our continued solid financial performance and the progress we have made on our strategic content and distribution relationships, positions us well for the future."

Service and technology revenues for the quarter were $51.7 million, a drop for Q3 2007 where TiVo raked in $58.3 million. EchoStar is the reason for record profits at TiVo. Had the EchoStar award not been received TiVo would have posted a loss of $0.9 million. TiVo says it added 44,000 subscriptions during the quarter compared to 69,000 gross additions a year ago.

Take away that large settlement and TiVo is losing ground not gaining, though some of that could be blamed on the economy.

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Other DVRs?
By Motoman on 11/26/2008 12:04:27 PM , Rating: 2
...forgive me for not knowing, I guess, but do other DVR units involve TiVo patents or anything, such that they get royalties?

I have to admit that about the only thing I have any desire to add to my home theater (to wit, I have very little interest in buying a Blu-Ray player or upgrading my 1080i TV to 1080p) is a DVR device of some kind. My brother has one and uses it all the time, and it's pretty obvious how useful it is. I've just not yet been convinced I want to spend the money for it...would probably just build myself a HTPC and use it for that.

RE: Other DVRs?
By crimson40 on 11/26/2008 12:08:06 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Other DVRs?
By Motoman on 11/26/2008 12:51:22 PM , Rating: 1

Is there any great point to using TiVo software, as opposed to all the other TVR software on the market for PC use? I briefly used an ATI TV card probably close to ten years ago...even at that time, it easily showed me all the programming available in an easy format and made it brain-dead simple to select and record a show. How much more of anything do you need than that?

RE: Other DVRs?
By Mitch101 on 11/26/2008 2:12:45 PM , Rating: 2
Tivo for the PC.
Comes with a one-year subscription to the TiVo service.
after that
Prepay Monthly $12.95 per month.
Annual $129 = $10.75 per month with 1-year commitment
3 years for $299 = $8.31 per month
Product Lifetime service for $399

Anyone know if this Is it printed anywhere on the box? I smell lawsuits.

Beyond TV
no subscription fees, ever!

RE: Other DVRs?
By TomZ on 11/26/2008 5:17:04 PM , Rating: 3
I agree - I don't understand why people pay more than $100/year for TV channel & show information - what a rip. I also get that on my Vista HTPC for free.

RE: Other DVRs?
By Mitch101 on 11/26/2008 1:55:06 PM , Rating: 2
Easiest method is to get the INTEGRATED DVR from your service provider. Direct TV, Dish Network, Cable all have a DVR of some sort for a small fee. Every year or two that your contract is up for renewal call them and claim your thinking about switching and they will give you free DVR service for 6 months and some other stuff to make the DVR service pretty much free or something similar. Not sure how much you can negotiate with the cable company they don't seem to care but Direct TV negotiates well. I didn't even have to pay for my HD-DVR from them. The ease of use is worth the $5.00 a month.

An external Tivo is ok but if it has to control a cable or satellite box its usually limited in some way to recording only one channel at a time, limited channels, no HD unless you use and antenna or again channels limited etc. An external Tivo will have you feeling very limited. Its can be very pricey for the unit and subscription service. You would need to get many years of use out of it with a lifetime service sub to remotely come to the cost of the integrated units.

HTPC's are nice however controlling them in the living room can be the nightmare. For example when my HTPC had an IR remote control it would boot up/come out of hibernation any time it saw ANY IR signal which is a waste having it run any time I am just watching TV. Even then its costly and kind of limited unless you use an antenna or can get channels without a cable/sat box. You can really do a lot with a HTPC but I recommend putting it somewhere other than the living room where you can manage it with a keyboard and mouse and get yourself a Media Extender like the Popcorn Hour to stream the content from the HTPC to the living room. Media extenders are much easier to control than HTPC's.

If you are going to use a PC in the living room I highly recommend using Windows XP and XBMC. Yes I said XBMC its not just for X-Box's any more. Get an X-Box 360 controller and its USB adapter. RF control on a HTPC is king. XBMC simply has the best screen calibration ability and easiest interface. XBMC is a must have if you have a rear projection television. XBMC doesn't currently record programs though you can run other apps in the background to do this.

Microsoft Media Center I only like if you have an LCD or Projector. Otherwise I find it slow and limited in playback options. Pass if you have a rear projection because it lacks real screen calibration abilities. If you do go the route of Media center edition then an X-Box 360 is probably your best option for a streaming device in the living room. Also download a program called TvVersity.

Just my 2 cents.

RE: Other DVRs?
By kkwst2 on 11/27/2008 8:41:49 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry, but you're spreading some misinformation.

The Tivo HD allows you to record HD channels directly using CableCard. It doesn't need to control a box. It has distinct advantages over the service provider DVR in many areas, including better software, better series recording, larger hard drive (which you can manually upgrade pretty easily), ability to back up programs to your computer, ability to put recorded programs on your laptop and watch them while on a trip, etc. The cost difference for me is negligible. The DVR fee for me is $15 which is about the same as the Tivo+cablecard monthly fees.

Recording HD on a HTPC can be problematic with cable. if you can run an antenna for network TV, then great. If you're dependent on cable for HD, unless you're buying a new TV with cablecard tuners (mucho bucks), you're stuck with QAM, which is variable and often problematic. Usually QAM only has network channels in HD, so if you want to record ESPN, etc. in HD then you're not going to be able to do it with a home-built HTPC.

I agree that a PC with an Xbox 360 and Tversity is a good extender. I use it and am pretty happy with it. However, it can't match the simplicity of a Tivo HD with cablecard.

RE: Other DVRs?
By Mitch101 on 11/28/2008 9:56:17 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the correction on the HD-Tivo abilities. The problem there is my cable company doesn't offer cablecard. Booo! I also tried to keep my post simple.

The conclusion I came to was that at $5.00 a month to have DVR service on Direct TV its cheaper per month than TIVO and didn't require me to purchase any special hardware. Even if I got a TIVO with lifetime sub of $300.00 it would take 5 years of use before it begins to pay for itself. Thats just the subscription not including the cost of buying the Tivo hardware. Direct Tv has given me my HD DVR for free. Granted I will have to return it if I am no longer a subscriber but that's fine. I should say that Tivo hardware can be re-sold so there is some return on investment.

My guess is if you have a movie sub and archive movies then it may pay for itself.

Truth be told there is no perfect solution all depends on your budget and or technical ability.

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher
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