Putting the iTV in TiVo?

You can't spell TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO  ) without iTV. Does that mean a deal between the digital video recorder maker and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) is inevitable? Some in the blogosphere seem to think so.

On Tuesday, Matt Haughey of PVRblog.com reported a "wild rumor" that claims Apple will license one or more TiVo patents for its soon-to-be-released iTV technology and rename iTV "Mac Media Capsule."

Talk about an understatement. Wild rumor? How about utter fantasy?

Fools may remember that iTV is Apple's forthcoming product for wirelessly bringing computer-based content to any TV screen. Why in the world would Apple want to stream anything to your TiVo, whose slick interface design could make Apple's Front Row software, which powers the iTV, look silly?

What's more, Haughey suggests that there's little you'd download to your Mac or PC that would be worth streaming to your TV. That's certainly true for me. And, as fellow Fool Rick Munarriz writes, video downloads aren't necessarily anywhere near DVD quality (though movies and TV shows from Apple's iTunes do come close to DVDs' resolution). That's why the best TiVo boxes include a DVD player. Not so with iTV.

So is there anything to this theory? Yes. Apple and TiVo are kindred spirits in that both appeal to the well-to-do technophile. Both also have a stake in how programming is delivered to you.

And while downloads may be imperfect today, the technology for storing hi-resolution files improves daily. Hard drives are getting larger; broadband is getting faster. By combining forces, iTV and TiVo could create the first workable video-on-demand system.

But that doesn't mean it will happen. For now, Apple and TiVo are separate entities with common interests and uncommon enemies. If there's a deal to be had it may simply be because TiVo has more than 100 patents and because Apple management has both the cash and the brainpower to avoid a needless court battle.

Sexy? No. Exciting? Hardly. Probable? More so than any of the other conspiracy theories I've heard.

Turn the channel to related Foolishness:

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers, ranked 801 out of 16,861, still pines for a real TiVo to go with his MacBook Pro. Tim didn't own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. Get the skinny on all of Tim's stock holdings by checking his Fool profile. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy lives in prime time.


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