Best Buy-branded TVs adopt Tivo interface

Posted by Mike Luttrell

Best Buy's low-end Insignia TVs just got a Tivo makeover.

The retailer's store brand TV line is moving into the Internet-connected world, and to help with the foray into a more content-driven market, it has joined forced with Tivo.

It's a potential win-win here for Tivo, a company that has nothing to lose at this point. Once a pioneering revolution in the consumer electronics industry, it is now all but obsolete with the explosion of cable-branded DVRs and online streaming content.

However, Tivo has tried to remain relevant by adding apps to its set-top boxes. That means that in addition to recording TV shows, Tivo owners can watch Netflix, Youtube, CinemaNow, access Facebook, listen to Napster, etc.

For the Insignia TVs, all of those major apps will be available but the DVR technology will not. However, everything will be navigated with the familiar Tivo interface, and since the software is built into the TV itself, no external hook-ups are required.

As Insignia TVs go, the new Tivo-licensed ones will range at the top end of the price spectrum. The first models retail for $500 - $700, which, any way you slice it, is not a bad deal for an online-enabled set.

They use LED display technology, with 1080p HD picture quality and a refresh rate of 120 Hz, which puts it in line with most standard high-def sets these days. The non-online-enabled versions of the same TVs are about $100 less.

The partnership between the two companies was first announced more than a year ago, and there is now finally a physical product.

Tivo and Best Buy have been joined at the hip for a while after they joined a cross-promotional agreement a couple years ago. Thanks to its obligated presence at the stores, Best Buy is one of the thin threads that is helping Tivo stay alive.