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Ken S 07-03-2009 11:41 AM

Dish Wins Stay in TiVo Spat
From The Wall Street Journal - July 03, 2009


TiVo Inc. shares sank Thursday after a judge ruled that Dish Network Corp. customers could continue to temporarily use their digital video recorders, ultimately delaying a resolution between the two companies.

TiVo and Dish have been locked in a four-year legal battle over the use of technology that allows consumers to pause, rewind and record live television. Dish has lost each legal battle, and had been ordered to stop using the technology in its set-top boxes.

A ruling last month -- which found Dish's efforts to bypass TiVo's patents inadequate -- was seen by many as the final straw that would force both sides into a settlement. Indeed, TiVo shares jumped more than 53% to nearly $11 following the decision.

But late Wednesday Dish was granted another stay from a federal circuit judge following its appeal. Now analysts are expecting a resolution late this year or in early 2010.

In 4 p.m. trading Thursday, TiVo was down 15.6% to $9.09, although it remains up significantly for the year. Dish was down 2.3% to $16.10, amid a broad market drop.

In a legal setback for TiVo, a judge said Dish Network customers can continue to temporarily use their digital video recorders. The two companies have been fighting for four years over use of the technology

Dish contends that it hasn't infringed on TiVo's technology, and that changes it has made to its set-top box get around any TiVo patents.

"All I can tell you is we're confident that we don't violate their intellectual property today, and we think we will ultimately prevail," Dish Chief Executive Charles Ergen told analysts during the last quarterly conference call in May.

Dish said late Wednesday that it was pleased that the federal circuit court blocked the district court's injunction.

Still, the prior rulings aren't encouraging for Dish.

"Based on the advice of outside counsel, and the track record of TiVo thus far in the process (they have prevailed in every previous step), we remain confident in TiVo's overall position," said Hudson Square Research analyst Daniel Ernst.

In June, a federal court awarded TiVo $103 million, in addition to the $105 million Dish has already paid TiVo.

Most believe that if TiVo wins, the two sides will come to a settlement in which Dish pays a recurring licensing fee. TiVo already has a distribution agreement with Dish rival DirecTV Group Inc. and cable provider Comcast Corp.

With fewer customers actually buying TiVo boxes, and instead relying on digital video recorders provided by their TV service provider, the company has shifted its business model to focus on licensing out its technology. A deal with Dish would provide a badly needed catalyst.

In May, TiVo said it was seeing growing interest from second- and third-tier cable operators who want to offer digital video recorder services to their subscribers.

Still, Mr. Ernst warned that patent litigation is not a linear path. If Dish prevails, there will be no chance of a licensing deal with TiVo.

The federal circuit court set an expedited schedule of briefings over the next few months, with oral arguments slated for November.

Write to Roger Cheng at

Enoch 07-18-2009 07:57 PM

Re: Dish Wins Stay in TiVo Spat
I'm hearing of Tivo's return to DirecTV in 2010. This is good news if it happens.

AudioFileZ 07-21-2009 09:14 PM

Re: Dish Wins Stay in TiVo Spat
This is the kind of "legal wrangling" that is expected when greed overrides ethics. As a consumer, it would seem, we lose either way in that whatever settlement or legal decision is forthcoming the ultimate user will pay for something we used to get for free when the trusty betamax could be programed to record a show for free.

Granted it's light years ahead to look at a grid of programs for almost any time frame and select which is of interest and mark them to be recorded and have it work without a hitch...But, I have always felt a bit violated that this costs me an extra $5 or $6 monthly for the priviledge. Someone is making obscene profit on this it would seem. What I'd like is for the consumer to win whereby we could do this at no extra charge since after all we're paying for all programing regardless of if we can watch it or not.

I'm all for Tivo getting paid for the modern DVR technology that both satellite vendors obviously "glommed", but by making it where the consumer has no option other than to pay a monthly fee to record programming paid for is inherently wrong I feel. If you can tell me a device that I can connect to my satellite system that will record and playback HD in full resolution (no HTPC's please) without a monthly fee I'll step away from my soapbox. I'm guessing that device doesn't exist. What's the difference if I record OTA programs vs. the same received over satellite? There are devices, I assume, that record OTA full HD without paying monthly fees...Correct?

While I'm on the box...Is is not greed that also mandates a montly extra fee for a satellite receiver that is not connected to a phone line? If I don't wish to order a PPV broadcast anyway why should I have to pay extra because I don't want to do this??? I've been a satellite customer for over 12 years and I've never ordered PPV. One of my receivers couldn't be connected to a phone line simply because of a contractors error where the phone jack in the wall of a new room where the a/v cabinet was compromised somewhere and never worked. I do not want to rip out sheetrock just to find where the flaw is and I, certainly, prefer not to have to pay extra monthly because I do not wish to do this. All this greed is very consumer unfriendly.

gstarr 07-22-2009 08:34 AM

Re: Dish Wins Stay in TiVo Spat

The business model for cable and satellite programming providers is based on their decisions that ALL programming is rented by the consumer and not owned. Their business plans are obviously based on maximizing income, hence they feel that every different place you use a different receiver is a different rental opportunity. This is true even when you own the receiver.

The only way around this (other then the courts), is to buy or build devices that can stream programming from the original receiver unbeknownst to the cable or satellite provider.

I presume the providers have convinced the courts that it is alright for them to charge this way because consumers have other options, such as cable, satellite, OTA, and computer streaming. It is a somewhat shaky proposal, but it seems to have convinced the courts. This is somewhat odd, as the courts have sometimes said one can make a copy of programming that they already paid for.


rbinck 07-22-2009 09:49 AM

Re: Dish Wins Stay in TiVo Spat
I don't have Dish, but I record HD movies from my U-verse DVR via my Hauppauge 1212 HD-PVR Video Capture device. Seems like a way around the issue.

Ken S 07-22-2009 10:14 AM

Re: Dish Wins Stay in TiVo Spat

Originally Posted by AudioFileZ (Post 21828)
.... If you can tell me a device that I can connect to my satellite system that will record and playback HD in full resolution (no HTPC's please) without a monthly fee I'll step away from my soapbox. I'm guessing that device doesn't exist...

The only DVR that comes close, is the Sony DHG-HDD250/500 which isn't manufactured anymore. However, they still can be found on eBay.

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