November 10, 2005
While things are heating up in the do-it-yourself space (lumping Windows MCE in here, even though many of them are bought pre-built these days), things are sure looking boring a bleak in the off-the-shelf DVR market these days.
Tivo is dinking around with pricing deals and minor features like on-line scheduling (for some users), but they haven’t done anything really innovative in quite a while.
There is no HD support for Tivo other than for the orphaned HD DirecTivo, which probably has it’s days numbered as DirecTV moves towards MPEG4. Now that OTA HD recording is becoming a cheap and established technology, they could bring out a box that included that along with SD recording, to put them on par with the PC-based alternatives, but no signs of that seem to be happening.
Outside of Tivo, things are even bleaker.
Dish has the DishPlayer 942, a otherwise fairly functional box that’s currently in the midst of a terrible firmware release. DirecTV still has the HD DirecTivo, but as mentioned above, it seems to have one foot in the grave, and another on a banana peel. The state of the art in cable-company DVRs seems even bleaker.
Where’s the innovation? Is there still room for another player that’s not locked into a content provider? Or is this market going to get conceded by default to Windows MCE and whatever Apple ends up doing with FrontRow?