Just like the fat kid at school who used to be skinny and popular, Tivo is trying to remind people that it's still cool, by launching a new Web content interface. Available now on Tivo Series 3 and above is a feature called Framechannel. It lets users tap into a whole bunch of Web features, like stock information, weather forecasts, news headlines, and social network feeds.
It is an addition to the burgeoning market of "TV widgets," customizable applications and interfaces that bring the most pertinent content for each user directly to their TV screen.
Tivo owners can even log onto FrameChannel.com directly and create their own customized Tivo interface from any computer. According to that site, there are more than 1,000 personalized "channels" that users can access from their Tivo as a result of the new service.
Framechannel is only available to owners of the Tivo Series 3 and Tivo Elite set-top boxes, but will be added to the older Tivo Series 2 sets in a future firmware update.
Of course, much that Tivo does at this point is treated with a grain of salt. Cable and satellite DVRs are taking a humongous portion of the market share now, especially with larger HD recording capacity and new customer incentives like free DVR service.