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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just an open question to the forum. What direction do people see the DVR/PVR market going? With the recent introduction of the Panasonic & Toshiba DVD-R/-RW/DVR and the RCA DVD/DVR with Guide+, M/S's attempts at a Media Center type interface/PC, Moxi/Digeo's MediaCenter, and Scientific Atlanta's Explorer 8000 . . . . it looks like to me that this market is becoming segmented. There are the "full featured" DVRs (Tivo and Replay) which are stand-alone (at least so far) units that have the utility of a good GUI plus the guide listings (albeit, for a price). Then there are the combination units such as the Panasonic & Toshiba units that combine DVD recording capability with a DVR and a fee-free guide, but are mostly 1st generation units and have some rather big limitations (at least if one is to believe the reviews written so far). And then there are the cable-centric units such as the Moxi/Digeo or Sci-Atl Explorer 8000, which are "add on options" to existing cable services, but again, are early generation devices and have more than their fair share of glitches (again, if reviews are to be believed). Last but not least, there's M/S which seemingly can't stand to be left behind on any digital frontier. To be honest, not completely sure what to make of their Media Player/Mira effort. Don't know too much about it.


Just curious what the opinions are in terms of direction the vanilla consumer market will head (i.e. not the technophile market) and whether or not the Tivos and SBs of the world will play in that market (if it ends up NOT being the stand-alone, subscription based device).
 

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DVRs will become mainstream as the cable and satellite market continue to create integrated DVR/recievers. I believe that TiVo and SB will continue to appeal to the technophiles. I also believe that both companies might license software to cable companies much like TiVo has for DirecTV.
 

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I think that the ultimate PVR is a video-on-demand server. But what comes between now and then is a bit less clear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That would be a possible direction for both SB and Tivo to head. However, I have some concerns about such a prospect (i.e. either SB or Tivo licensing their software). First and foremost, M/S seemed to enter (and exit) this space quite quickly/easily. Which would suggest to me, that a company with enough resources, espeically the SW programming variety, could enter this space quite easily WITHOUT licensing anything from Tivo or SB. A potential example would be an electronics "giant". However, Sony has already partnered with Tivo, which makes me think that my assessment may be off a bit.

Of greater concern to me (if I were SB or Tivo) would be alternatives such as the Panasonic DVD/HDR or Toshiba unit that use guide + data to schedule recording. If these types of devices (or guide +) ever get their GUI or forward scheduling "together" (i.e. more programmable like Tivo or SB) I think a model shift could occur. The saving grace for Tivo and SB is that they are on the 3rd and 5th generation devices, respectively (I think) and have a development edge. What niether company has (when compared to an electronics giant) is piles of R&D money . . . or positive cash flow for that matter. Fortunately, SB is a bit diversified, but I'm not certain to what extent that diversification/size helps the RTV division. To me, there's the risk. Much like M/S was able to "catch up" quickly to Netscape in the browser arena, both Tivo and SB will need to continue to create value (via features, not HW) at a rapid pace to stay independent/viable. I'm thinking that if I were, maybe, Sony, I'd wait until the opportune time to gobble up one of these companies (not sure about market cap of either, so that's pure speculation). The risk for both Tivo and SB is that if they remain a "premium product" or even a "technophile product" the market they're selling to is quite small. If a Panasonic or Toshiba can get a DVD/DVR product's price down to the sub $500 range (with a decent GUI and a bit better guide + functionality), I'd be concerned if I were Tivo or SB. I think RCA managed to pull this off -- they're still a bit high at $599 -- but executed poorly, but not bad for a 1st generation product.
 
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