Parks Associates Blog

Monday, September 29, 2008

Turning your PC into a TiVo

TiVo and Nero AG are announcing a TV recording kit for your PC, combining TiVo's lauded interface and controls with a TV tuner from Nero. The Nero LiquidTV/TiVo PC will go on sale initially in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. For people who already have a tuner-equipped PC, Nero will sell the TV recording software separately, for $99.

TV recording on the PC has been available with other products for years (notably, the Media Center solutions from Microsoft), but this marks the first time that TiVo itself will be available for use at the PC.

We have some interesting data on Media Center use for television recording thanks for our recently-completed TV 2.0: The Consumer Perspective study (a study of consumers in broadband households in Canada and the U.S.). In the U.S., for example, the percentage of Media Center PC owners who are watching/recording TV programming is 11%. This jives with the estimate that only about 10% of Media Center systems are tuner-equipped. Also, if these tuner-based systems are configured similarly to how I've got mine set at home, many of them will no longer be able to record or watch TV. Verizon has already switched all of its programming to digital, so my Media Center is useless for watching or recording TV programming unless I get a digital converter. That seems like a bit much to go through, so we'll be depending on our DVR, VoD, and Hulu now for time-shifted TV viewing.

In terms of the opportunity for a PC-centric TiVo product to successfully penetrate certain markets in Europe. Although the product is initially positioned for the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, I think that Europe could be an interesting fit, given Nero's strong German presence and the ability for non-service provider television offerings to make a statement with DVB-T terrestrial services widely available. We have another interesting study in the field right now called Entertainment 2.0 in Europe, where we are examining many video-centric entertainment features, including television services, online video, and consumer attitudes toward content acquisition. We have gone to field in five countries at present, and we have data back from the U.K. and Italy (and we'll have data back from France, Germany, Spain shortly). As shown below, PVR/DVR penetration varies significantly from one country to another (the U.S. and Canadian data comes from the TV 2.0: The Consumer Perspective study). In markets where the service providers don't quite have a strong DVR presence, PC or retail-based PVRs could experience solid growth over the next few years.
  • U.S.: 40%
  • Canada: 25%
  • U.K.: 37%
  • Italy: 19%

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