TiVo Planning a 'Mass Appeal' HD DVR

TiVo, which continues to face stiff competition from cable and DBS firms that provide subscribers with hard disk DVRs for as little as $10 a month, says it needs to introduce a low-cost, standalone DVR that will become as ubiquitous as its name.

In a conference call in late May to discuss earnings for the firm's first quarter of fiscal 2008, TiVo CEO Tom Rogers said the relatively high prices of the firm's Series 3 DVRs have prevented TiVo from jumping on the profits bandwagon of HD set sales in the past couple of years. Without giving details, Rogers indicated that TiVo will offer a "mass appeal priced" DVR in the market before the end of the year.

Rogers also talked about the cost of his own TiVo units in his last quarterly conference call with reporters back in March, according to reports.

While not all DVR-SD and DVR-HD units are equal (and Rogers said many customers have been loyal to their standalone TiVos over the years), consumers apparently are not willing to pay higher fees for what may be technically superior features, according to Ars Technica.

At least one feature that may be eliminated in any lower-priced HD TiVo is the luxury of recording two shows simultaneously using two separate tuners. Even with reduced price points coming, a standalone HD TiVo likely will still retail for about $400, according to the article.

Using another approach in the can't-beat-them-so-join-them category, TiVo recently inked a deal to soon begin offering a proprietary HD DVR for the exclusive use of Comcast subs.