TiVo is trying to make a comeback… again. The company has announced plans for a new TiVo+ service that will offer subscribers a more seamless combination of streaming and recorded content. And now it looks like the company will launch new low-cost hardware next year.
In an interview with CNN, TiVo CEO Dave Shull revealed that next year TiVo will release a $50 dongle that you can plug into a TV.
It won’t offer the full TiVo experience — it’s unlikely that there’s a TV tuner or DVR under the hood. But it could be a small, cheap way to bring the TiVo experience to every TV in your house.
For now, Shull says the dongle is running Android TV software, although that’s subject to change. But the iea is for it to “be plugged into the back of a TV” to “load up TiVo’s service for broadband customers and also use AI to make recommendations, similar to TiVo Plus.”
In other words, at the very least you’ll be able to use TiVo’s platform for streaming online media. But it’s also possible that if you’ve got a TiVo DVR sitting in the living room, you may be able to plug a cheap TiVo dongle into the TV in your bedroom to watch your recordings. Or maybe TiVo will offer some sort of cloud DVR solution.
That said, the up-front cost of hardware is only one challenge TiVo faces. The company currently charges $20 per month for service (or $15 per month with a 1-year commitment).
If all you want is a media streamer, you’re probably going to save a lot of money in the long run by picking up a Chromecast, Fire TV, or Roku device. And if you just want DVR features, you may be better off going with whatever your pay TV provider offers.
So while the new dongle may be attractive to existing TiVo customers, it remains to be seen whether it will help convince anyone to sign up for a new subscription.