TiVo Nails the Last Mile

Couch potatoes can rejoice. Access to the digitally delivered content library of Amazon.com's (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) Unbox service is now as close as your TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO  ) remote control.

This may sound familiar. Back in February, the companies announced that Unbox purchases could be beamed over to TiVo hard drives. However, the original process still involved surfing online through Amazon.com, completing the rental or outright purchase of a film or television show, and then waiting for it to be downloaded to your WiFi-enabled TiVo box.

There's still no cure for the last step. The gratification isn't immediate. However, the ability to simply order new DVD releases or your favorite television episodes directly through your TiVo box streamlines an already convenient process.

For the recently profitable TiVo, this is one more thing to set the company's branded boxes apart from cheaper DVR (digital video recorder) alternatives.

As a shareholder of both TiVo and Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX  ) , I have mixed feelings here. This is the kind of deal that makes home-delivered films a little less relevant. Yes, Netflix offers a few movies that can be streamed online through home computers. That's cool. But why isn't Netflix -- instead of Amazon -- teamed up with TiVo to deliver films right into my living room?

That sentiment's not just wishful thinking. A couple of years ago, the companies were chummy. TiVo's CEO sat on the Netflix board. The companies spoke about a digitally delivered future together.

A lot has happened since then. It's Amazon and TiVo's show now.

A successful outcome may inspire future alliances, but that's far from a given. We're not hearing a lot of buzz about Unbox. A lukewarm initial reception for Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) television-beaming Apple TV gadget indicates that consumers are either not ready for the convergence, or simply turned off by quality concerns.

I guess the next few quarters will reveal the answers we need. Thankfully for the TiVo-Unbox users, they won't have to leave their couches to find out.

Netflix and Amazon.com are Motley Fool Stock Advisor newsletter recommendations, while TiVo is a former pick of that newsletter. If you know how to work a TiVo remote, then you know how easy it is to nab a 30-day trial subscription to the newsletter service.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does love his TiVo, and he owns shares in TiVo and Netflix. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.  The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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