Breathe Easier, TiVo

Every day, it seems I read another story about another TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO  ) replacement. That used to make a TiVo bull like me nervous -- until this week.

That's when Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) , the company that might have given TiVo a run for its money, announced a new product that may provide the most compelling evidence yet for the DVR pioneer's continued health and survival.

It's called the new Mac mini. It ships with Apple's Front Row software for corralling digital entertainment, as well as a remote control and built-in wireless networking. It's designed to bring digital content to your TV via a small, central device that connects to your entire home entertainment setup. Sounds like a surefire TiVo killer, right?

But interestingly enough, the new Mac mini won't be recording live TV. In an interview with USA Today, Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller said that Apple isn't "trying to replace the TiVo. This is about taking the media from your computer and accessing it via the TV."

TiVo has plenty of threats as is, and Apple's box could eventually become yet another. Think about it: The built-in wireless networking available in the new Mac mini could make it easier to deliver broadband to your TV. And it could make downloading and playing favorite videos and TV shows relatively simple, making recording live TV a lot less important. Certainly Apple, with its market-leading iTunes Music Store, would love to do that. On the other hand, TiVo has its own broadband connections, four million loyal customers, and the ability to record live TV now.

In my opinion, neither Apple, TiVo, nor anyone else has gotten the TV-Web integration thing right so far. Some day, one company will; until then, I'd expect Tivo to stick around.

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Fool contributorTim Beyersis so over live TV. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out what is in his portfolio by checking Tim's Foolprofile. The Motley Fool has an ironcladdisclosure policy.


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