"Virgin Media, the UK's dominant pay TV operator"
I'd have thought that was Sky.
But I don't watch TV, so what do I know?
After pioneering the DVR and trick-play functions over a decade ago, TiVo eventually ran out of steam, until reinventing itself as a vendor of hybrid software for integrating broadband and broadcast services from 2008. This meant it was no longer confined to its own boxes but could enter partnerships with set-top box vendors as …
Damn right. VM can't even dominate in the 50% of the country they claim to serve. Ofcom continue to protect them by not requiring them to provide wholesale access to their network. Oh and the last quarter was the first time I think that VM ever made a profit.
Sky is without doubt the dominate pay TV player in the UK. It has more than twice as many subscribers.
Well yes. Unlike Virgin, you can get Sky pretty much anywhere in the UK (subject to survey, Ts+Cs apply, etc).
And indeed Sky did own the rights to Tivo technology, in the UK at least, for many years.
But based on what Emperor Murdoch did with TiVo, the main reason they bought the rights was, as is the way of abusive monopolies, to prevent anyone else doing anything with Tivo that might compete with Sky (as if Sky needed any more lock-in).
When the deal expired, Virgin took over, and now Tivo technology in the UK is in the hands of a different near-monopoly.
AC: "And indeed Sky did own the rights to Tivo technology, in the UK at least, for many years."
Sky had a marketing partnership (and also operated the call centres and payment processing) for Tivo in the UK but I'm not aware that they had any rights over the technology. If they did then they certainly didn't assert them particularly aggressively or do anything to prevent the S1 Tivo boxes we got in the UK working with alternative platfiorms like terrestrial analog TV (and they had a tuner built in) or Freeview.
Funny my Tivo was a thompson box and Sky managed the phone, but it was connected to my sky and freeview box.
It was recommended by sky, but I don't believe that Sky owned the rights.
Of course once Tivo signed with Virgin, they abandoned they existing customers including those who had bought lifetime subscriptions.
"I don't believe that Sky owned the rights."
Believe what you wish.
The Sky/Thomson/Tivo press release from 2000 is still at
and it says (among other things, so please read the full release and any supporting materials you can find):
"TiVo and Sky will work together to deliver the service which will allow viewers to shift the schedules for their favourite television shows and create a customised television line-up for viewing at anytime. "
"Sky's Chief Executive Tony Ball said: "This new product underlines Sky's determination to remain at the forefront of the broadcasting revolution. The new personal television service from Sky and TiVo will dramatically enhance the TV viewing experience for all consumers in the UK. We are especially delighted to welcome THOMSON multimedia as manufacturer of this product."
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