TiVo Buddies Up With Best Buy

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TiVo struck a tighter marketing alliance with Best Buy, with a five-year deal under which the retailer will promote TiVo DVRs in exchange for TiVo providing "an on-going promotional presence" on its service.

As part of the agreement, TiVo and Best Buy plan to "investigate" development of a unique user interface for TiVo DVRs purchased at Best Buy that would let the electronics retailer promote its digital-content services and other products.

TiVo also expects to work with the chain's in-house consumer-electronics group to explore ways of integrating the TiVo user interface and search capabilities into Best Buy's Insignia and Dynex branded HDTVs and other devices.

"The TiVo alliance will open a new channel of customer interaction," Best Buy chief marketing officer Barry Judge said in a statement. "We look forward to pioneering new media together."

The marketing agreement has an initial term of five years. The pact amends a March 2002 vendor agreement between Best Buy and TiVo.

Financial terms of deal were not disclosed, but Best Buy will make a "significant increased annual marketing commitment" to promote and market TiVo DVRs, according to TiVo. TiVo will continue to pay Best Buy a portion of revenue based primarily on the number of TiVo service subscriptions acquired from Best Buy sales during the term of the agreement.

"By virtue of TiVo having become not only a DVR, but also a media center combined with the only universal cable box that can plug into any cable system in the U.S., Best Buy will have the opportunity to both greatly expand the digital options and features available to its TV customers while also simplifying them at the same time," TiVo president and CEO Tom Rogers said in announcing the deal.

Separately, TiVo has distribution deals with Comcast, Cox Communications and DirecTV.

The DVR company also is still locked in patent litigation with Dish Network, a case dating back to 2004. Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit granted Dish a stay of a lower court's order that would have required the satellite operator to disable approximately 4 million DVRs that infringe on TiVo's "Time Warp" patent.

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