TiVo Breaks Into Rhapsody

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Offering another bundle of content delivered to the TV via the Internet, TiVo has signed a deal to let its subscribers access Rhapsody, the music-download joint venture between RealNetworks and MTV Networks.

TiVo subscribers who also pay for a Rhapsody subscription can search through 4 million songs and play them directly from their TV sets, if their TiVo digital video recorder is hooked up to a broadband Internet connection. The TiVo DVR lets users rate the music using their remote control, and the Rhapsody service will provide recommendations based on the ratings and a user’s listening history.

Rhapsody costs $12.99 per month. Existing Rhapsody subscribers who have broadband-connected TiVos can access the service via the DVR at no extra charge. As part of an initial promotion, TiVo subscribers will have access to a free 30-day trial of Rhapsody.

With the Rhapsody deal, TiVo becomes “the only universal entertainment provider in the living room,” TiVo president and CEO Tom Rogers said, in prepared remarks.

TiVo also has a deal with Amazon.com’s Unbox service to allow subscribers to rent or buy movies, TV shows and other videos to their DVRs.

Several cable operators currently offer free access to a wide variety on-demand music content and themed channels provided by Music Choice, a joint venture among Comcast, Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable and EMI, Microsoft, Sony and Motorola. In July, Music Choice announced it surpassed 1 billion orders for music videos and other on-demand content.