TiVo 'Neutron' Drops Into Retail Channels

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Can this DVR turn the tide for TiVo?

The next generation of TiVo boxes — Premiere and Premiere XL, code-named “Neutron” — are now available for sale at U.S. retailers (see TiVo ‘Neutron’ Aims To Blow Away Other Set-Top Boxes). Designed for 16:9 HD displays, the set-tops provide enhanced graphics and are supposed to provide better navigation, search and personalization features.

Best Buy and Amazon.com are the two national retailers that are selling TiVo Premiere, while Best Buy’s Magnolia Home Theater unit and other high-end retailers and custom installers will sell Premiere XL. Both products are available on TiVo.com.

In various regions of the U.S., the TiVo Premiere and Premiere XL are available from Fry’s Electronics, Abt Electronics & Appliances, Sixth Avenue Electronics, Electronics Expo, Vann’s, OneCall, RC Willey, TigerDirect, Petra Industries and D&H Distributing.

The baseline Premiere ($299.99 list) has 320 Gigabytes of storage, for up to 45 hours of HD storage space or up to 400 hours of standard-definition programming, and the Premiere XL ($499.99 list) has 1 Terabyte of storage, for up to 150 hours of HD or up to 1,350 hours of SD video.

Note that TiVo has been steadily losing ground in the last few years, as customers increasingly opt for DVRs from their cable, satellite or telco TV provider (see TiVo Subscriber Losses Accelerate In 2009).

But even if Premiere isn’t a blockbuster hit out of the gate, TiVo should be able to tide itself over with a nice chunk of change — to the tune of $300 million or more — from Dish Network, which appears to have run out of legal options in the six-year-old patent dispute with TiVo (see Dish Faces April 30 Deadline In TiVo Case and TiVo Zaps Dish on Patent). That is, unless Dish or EchoStar just buys TiVo.

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