Amazon May Challenge TiVo with DVR That Works with Fire, Streams to Smartphones
Amazon has worked on creating a digital video recorder (DVR) that records live television and stream shows on smartphones and the company’s Fire tablets, plug-in devices, and media software, according to a Bloomberg report.
An Amazon-branded DVR with local storage would compete heavily against TiVo, the only large independent company dedicated to making hardware DVR products sold under its own name. Amazon also competes against Roku, a popular digital video-streaming device and app maker, which has succeeded in having its software built into several manufacturers’ TV sets.
Neither Roku nor Amazon’s Fire line of streaming-media hardware and software record and store video.
Amazon hasn’t decided yet whether to release the DVR. It didn’t respond immediately to a request for comment from Fortune.
TiVo’s stock was down as much as 10% in midday trading on Friday, but it closed down only slightly. Amazon’s potential entry into new markets often has a significant effect on the share performance of affected companies.
The pharmacy segment, for example, has been rocked by Amazon’s moves towards selling prescription drugs, leading major companies in the space to pursue mergers. Just this week, the news that Amazon might buy a small chain of movie theaters caused other theater chains’ stocks to tumble.
While Amazon had a notable misfire with its short-lived smartphone, it has had generally good to overwhelming success with other consumer products, from the Kindle to the Echo smart speakers to its line of Fire tablets and streaming-media devices. A DVR would fit neatly into its line-up, allowing consumers to pair over-the-air and cable programming with on-demand streaming video and premium programming channels the company offers as digital subscriptions. These would all wrap up for delivery across Amazon’s devices and smartphone and Web apps.
The DVR project reportedly has an internal name of “Frank,” which might be an oblique reference to the Fire, given that one can grill franks over a flame.