I'm excited to announce our next CNET Conversations guest, TiVo CEO Tom Rogers.
It's been 11 years since TiVo arrived on the scene and, arguably (and alongside ReplayTV, changed the way we watch television. But, as you know, TiVo has struggled to find a broad foothold and cable and satellite companies have chosen to provide customers with their own house-brand DVRs, and have, shall we say, made it difficult for cable customers to venture out into the wilds of TiVo + CableCARD.
Plus, set-top boxes are the new black in the consumer electronics industry, and would-be TiVo competitors like Vudu, Roku, Popcorn Hour, and even Apple TV aim to replace the TiVo experience with a combination of online video aggregation, a la carte TV and movie sales, and streaming video from Netflix.
Nevertheless, TiVo is riding a tiny bit of a high right now. The company recently won major patent infringement victories against competitors EchoStar and Dish and stands to reap a nontrivial $300 million payout if the litigation ever ends. TiVo shares jumped 62 percent on the news, and analysts think TiVo's future as a licensor of intellectual property looks pretty bright.
Meanwhile, TiVo's got a new box on the shelves in the TiVo Premiere, which adds online video search to its program guide data. Suddenly, TiVo is not only a box for recording and watching the cable TV you subscribe to--it's also, along with an HD antenna, a decent over-the-top set-top box option.
So, what does the future hold for TiVo? Can it hold off cheaper alternatives like Roku and future platforms like this to-be-introduced concept for a SnapStream DVR that could record 50 shows at once?
And let's not forget that Rogers has a long history in the TV business--he was once president of NBC Cable and, as an EVP at NBC, helped create CNBC. I plan to ask him what he thinks about the future of television in general: What will commercial-skipping ultimately mean for the industry? Is over-the-top video a game-changer or just a supplement? Are CableCARD and Tru2Way actually workable solutions for users who want TiVos? How is it possible that the Comcast DVR can be that awful and continue to exist alongside TiVo's UI? Ok, he might not answer that last one, but it's worth a try.
Plus, I want to know what you'd like to ask. Please, join the conversation yourselves, and post your questions for TiVo's CEO in the comments below.