Tivo announced Wednesday that they have reached an agreement with DIRECTV to offer a new high-definition digital video recorder to the satellite company.
It wasn't long ago that DTV decided that they could kick Tivo to the curb and build their own brand of DVR for their customers using resources from News Corp's NDS group. However, the DVR that DIRECTV ended up coming out with - the "HR20 DIRECTV Plus HD DVR" - was total crap. I knew a lot of people working on the design and product development for this DVR and they tipped me off very early on that there was a laundry list of problems they were having with the device, not the least of which was its user interface. If you have never played with a DVR before, you might get used to it, but for the people used to operating a Tivo, it was unbelievably clunky and non-intuitive. Numerous software upgrades have attempted to fix the problem with the box, but there are a lot of people that are just fed up with leasing a piece of equipment (you dont own the box, you pay to borrow it from DIRECTV) that doesnt work the way it was advertised.
After years of tweaking and trying to get their bleeding-edge of technology to perhaps not bleed so much, it appears that DIRECTV has finally decided to throw in the towel and cozy up with Tivo again to save its foundering customer base.
The new deal with DTV will extend Tivo's contract through 2015, with an option to go through 2018. DIRECTV will market the device to new customers as a an additional (read: more money) option.
The new DVR should be available to DIRECTV customers sometime in the second half of 2009.