TiVo/DirecTV to get head start

Competitors won't reach stores in time for holidays

It looks like TiVo will get an unexpected huge jump on its competitors with the TiVo/DirecTV combo product hitting the retail market this fall.

Executives with DirecTV and Microsoft said it appears DirecTV combo boxes featuring the new AOLTV and Microsoft UltimateTV services will not reach retail stores in time for the holiday selling season as hoped.

Ron Schoeben, senior director of marketing for Microsoft’s WebTV Networks, said that Microsoft would be making the Ultimate TV boxes, which feature the first dual-tuner satellite system, a digital video recorder offering 30 hours of storage at full satellite-quality digital signal quality and a WebTV-like Internet-on-the-TV service, available only on the Internet this year, no earlier than November.

Sony, RCA running late

The UltimateTV/DirecTV boxes being manufactured by Sony and Thomson’s RCA brand will not hit store shelves until January at the earliest, with a full-fledged national TV and media campaign still planned for late this year.

A spokesman for DirecTV said the AOLTV combination boxes being manufactured by DirecTV sister company Hughes Network Services that feature DirecTV satellite programming in combination with the new America Online service that delivers a limited version of AOL on the TV, will also most likely only be available for online purchase before the end of the year.

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