When I cared that DIRECTV’s TiVo was back

Remember this? Remember wanting it? It’s hard to believe that it was released nine years ago. OK, looking at that mid-2000s design, it’s not as hard as maybe you’d think.

The DIRECTV THR22 with TiVo

Hard to believe that there were folks lobbying so hard for this DVR, but there were. We were right there at the forefront with our preview of the “upcoming” THR22 DIRECTV HD DVR with TiVo. DIRECTV’s first DVRs were TiVo-based, and a lot of people lamented the loss of the original HR10 HD DVR which used TiVo software. About four years after the HR10 left the scene (an eternity in DIRECTV years) the new THR22 was ready. It was every bit a TiVo, from the smoky backgrounds to the peanut remote.

Although the hardware came from DIRECTV’s HR22 DVR, it was essentially a clone of the old HR10, just with the ability to watch DIRECTV’s HD channels, an ability the HR10 no longer had. Since the HR10 had come out, DIRECTV had changed their broadcast technology, which made those older DVRs obsolete.

What happened to TiVo anyway?

TiVo was one of those companies riding high at the turn of the century. If you were around back then, you probably remember how they totally dominated the DVR market. Their name was on its way to becoming a common noun… you didn’t record something. You “tivoed” it. And then… things started going south for the one-time market leader.

Although cable company DVRs weren’t really as good as TiVo, they were cheaper, and they steadily improved. At the same time, TiVo got itself embroiled in a high-profile patent lawsuit. Another company was accused of using their patents without permission. Although TiVo won its case, the cost of prosecution, and the time it took to collect, spelled doom for the small company.

TiVo was bought by Rovi in 2016, and we were there to tell you about it. Since then they’ve had a few products but nothing earth-shattering. They’ve been largely shut out of the cable and satellite market, and their latest products are in the crowded streaming device space. They really aren’t doing a lot to convince people to move away from their Amazon, Google, or Apple devices.

Still, as surprising as it may seem, there are still faithful TiVo fans out there, still a few who cobble together home theater systems that do what they want. But I say, more power to them. That’s the spirit of Solid Signal… having your entertainment your way and not caring what anyone else thinks.

The end of the DIRECTV-TiVo partnership

When DIRECTV announced its TiVo HD DVR just two years after announcing its first non-TiVo HD DVR, a lot of folks thought it was the end of the line for the nascent homegrown system. But, the TiVo product took three years to come to market. In that time the world had changed a little bit. DIRECTV’s own DVR, once plagued by bugs, had gotten a whole lot better. DIRECTV was giving them away at very low prices too, and that tended to suppress demand for the THR22 TiVo.

Born of marketing necessity and a contract forged to keep DIRECTV from a patent lawsuit, the THR22 launched with fanfare and sold briskly to the roughly 500 people nationwide who really wanted one. And then… that was that. DIRECTV discontinued the product in 2014 and it hasn’t been heard from since.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.