Dream Machine: Tivo Series 3 Available in September?

The following post appeared on PVRBlog today:

Wild rumor: Series 3 TiVo out on September 13th?

This is a really big deal for Tivo fans out there, because for the last 12-18 months we’ve been in a sort of limbo. DirecTV has betrayed us by abandoning Tivo as their primary DVR platform. At the same time, the only viable High Definition Tivo has been through DirecTV.

Now, with the deals Tivo has signed with Comcast and Cox, it’s likely that in 2007 many cable customers will have access to the best of both worlds:

  • Cable’s great range of local & nationwide High Definition programming
  • Tivo’s best-in-class DVR software for their DVR boxes

The problem has been waiting and uncertainty. How quickly will DirecTV shoot themselves (and their customers) in the foot with their migration to an incompatible MPEG4-based high definition line up that is not compatible with their current Tivo boxes? How quickly will Comcast & Cox offer their solutions to offer Tivo software on non-Tivo boxes?

The Tivo Series 3 looks like a potential “third answer”. For a price, you’ll be able to buy a best-in-class High Definition box that will work, dual-tuner, with any cable system that supports the CableCARD standard (which should be all of them – note the word should).

This box was demoed at E3 earlier this year, and it has had Tivo fans salavating since then.

The price looks steep, so this looks like a niche product for the ardent fan who wants the absolute best high definition DVR out there.

In the meantime, it would be great for someone to write a Harvard Business School case study on the incredible blundering by DirecTV with its DVR strategy and its relationship with Tivo. DirecTV had a multi-year lead on having an integrated dual-tuner DVR, and completely botched any attempt at leadership in the digital living room by avoiding differentiating software features that Tivo had readily available. A phenomenal embarrassment, worthy of ridicule.

Personally, my loyalty to DirecTV was 100% tied to their Tivo-based solution. As soon as a viable High Definition product is available from cable, I’m switching, and I’m taking my $100/month with me.

The official Tivo page for the Series 3 is available here.