DirecTV announced that their relationship with TiVo has expanded and they will jointly develop and launch a TiVo powered HD DVR. According to the release, the new HD DVR “…will support the latest TiVo and DIRECTV features and services, including TiVo’s Universal Swivel Search and TiVo KidZone. TiVo will develop the new HD DVR for an expected launch in the second half of 2009.” The deal is non-exclusive, and DirecTV will still develop and market its own set top boxes. DirecTV and TiVo began marketing traditional DVRs to the DirecTV customer base back in 2000. The relationship went through a rough patch when DirecTV was controlled by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. But since Liberty Media took a controlling interest in DirecTV, the relationship is on better terms.
HD DVRs are increasingly seen as effective competitive weapons. DirecTV competitors, especially on the telcoTV side with AT&T U-verse, have been leveraging HD DVR to their advantage. DirecTV hopes this development will add some muscle to their existing HD DVR options, since TiVo is seen as a pioneer and leading developer of DVR technology. The move could also help DirecTV continue its lead over DISH. DISH is in real DVR trouble because of a legal dispute with TiVo. So far it’s losing that legal battle, and may suffer serious DVR setbacks if the losing trend continues.