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TiVo, Best Buy Sign Exclusive Distribution Deal

TiVo and consumer electronics retailer Best Buy announced a strategic agreement under which both companies will work together to promote and sell next-generation TiVo-branded Series2 digital video recorders and services.

The companies said TiVo-only-branded Series2 DVRs will be offered exclusively at Best Buy’s 478 stores in 43 states, beginning in May 2002. They will also be sold on the Web site and continue to be sold direct to consumers on the TiVo web site.

Brodie Keast, TiVo services senior VP, said he expects other TiVo manufacturing partners to offer Series2 TiVo recorders under their various brands to other retailers later in the year.

The TiVo-branded Series2 DVR includes large hard drive capable of storing up to 60 hours of programming at a time. The hard drive can also be used to store digital files such as JPEG digital photos or MP3 music files when tethered to other devices. It will also allow for digital party games, Internet and radio services. The TiVo Series2 recorder currently sells on the TiVo Web site for $399.

AT&T also offers an AT&T-branded version of the TiVo Series2 recorder with a slightly smaller hard drive, for $299 in select AT&T cable TV markets. TiVo recently announced a deal to sell a DirecTV-branded Series2 recorder with built in 2-tuner DirecTV decoder through the satellite providers direct distribution network.

Best Buy and TiVo said they will launch their “joint initiative to educate consumers about the benefits and features of TiVo and its potential to revolutionize the way Americans watch television.”

As part of the agreement, TiVo and Best Buy will collaborate on the development and automatic delivery of a Best Buy Video Showcase within the TiVo service, TiVo said. Best Buy will use the Showcase to introduce and educate TiVo subscribers on a broad range of new Best Buy products and promotions. The Showcase area of the TiVo service provides subscribers with easy access to entertainment, educational or promotional video content.

TiVo will download the Best Buy Showcases in the middle of the night to Series2 subscribers using time leased through Discovery Networks.

“This agreement with TiVo represents a tremendous opportunity for both organizations in an exciting new digital category,” said Pete Bosse, Best Buy Internet and television services VP. “Our customers are asking for the TiVo brand, and TiVo’s simplicity and ease-of-use are a perfect fit with the total entertainment experience that we’re offering our customers.”