With TiVo facing a freeze-out at the hands of some former partners, the plan may smack some as a desperation move. But shares in the Alviso, Calif., tech company got a nice bump Monday on the news, rising 5%.
TiVo, the progenitor and once reigning king of video recording and ad-skipping devices, has of late run up against a bevy of alternative services being launched and promoted by cable and satellite companies.
The new initiative falls under the rubric of its TiVoToGo program, which lets Microsoft (MSFT) mobile technology users download content to laptops. It will require consumers to a pay a fee for the enabling software."The increasing popularity of mobile devices for viewing video such as Apple's iPod and the PSP device demonstrate the enormous consumer demand for entertainment on the go," TiVo said. "By enhancing our TiVoToGo feature, we're making it easy for consumers to enjoy the TV shows they want to watch right from their iPod or PSP -- whenever and wherever they want." The move comes as TiVo continues to contend with mounting pressure from cable companies deploying their own digital video recorders. News Corp. (NWS - Get Report)-owned DirecTV (DTV) recently snubbed TiVo and is expected to begin touting its own products to customers shortly. DirecTV is expected to use a competing service from NDS Group (NNDS), a News Corp.-controlled company whose technology is already deployed by Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB. The status of TiVo's relationship with cable giant Comcast (CMCSA - Get Report) is also a source of some worry for investors looking forward. Some advertisers and media buyers are becoming increasingly concerned about services that support and breed free content across media platforms. Sling Media, for instance, aims to "demystify convergence technologies" by enabling consumers to watch their cable, satellite or digital video recorder programming from wherever they are. The Slingbox turns any Internet-connected laptop or desktop PC into a TV.