Skip to main content

Microsoft Sues TiVo

Software giant Microsoft has filed suit against DVR maker TiVo, alleging TiVo is infringing on Microsoft patents covering the display of “programmable information” and enabling secure payment and delivery of digital video programming. Microsoft is seeking unspecified damages and a court order to prevent TiVo from using the Microsoft technology without permission.


Microsoft’s reasoning behind the suit seems to be related to TiVo’s standing patent infringement suits against AT&T and Verizon; last year, TiVo sued both companies, claiming the companies video-on-demand and DVR services infringe on key TiVo patents, including the famous “time warp” patent that TiVo has (so far) successfully litigated against EchoStar. In a separate move from its new patent salvo at TiVo, Microsoft has asked to intervene in TiVo’s lawsuit against AT&T so it can challenge TiVo’s patents.

AT&T’s U-Verse service is based on Microsoft’s Mediaroom technology, which runs on set-top boxes and offers DVR, video-on-demand, and media-sharing capabilities. AT&T is one of Microsoft’s largest Mediaroom customers, and the technology that TiVo claims violates its patents is part of Microsoft’s Mediaroom platform. According to some reports, AT&T has insisted that Microsoft cover any damages or losses AT&T might incur from losing a patent fight with TiVo due to its use of Mediaroom technology. Microsoft’s response is to challenge the validity of TiVo’s patents—something EchoStar tried to do for years without success—as well as file its own infringement suit against TiVo.

Microsoft’s patent offensive against TiVo strikes some industry watchers as merely a tactic to put pressure on the DVR maker. The technology Microsoft claims violates its patents is hardly new to TiVo’s technology offerings, and it seems odd that Microsoft would only now get around to asserting patent rights.

Editors' Recommendations

Geoff Duncan
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Geoff Duncan writes, programs, edits, plays music, and delights in making software misbehave. He's probably the only member…
Tell Alexa to skip the commercial and your TiVo will make it happen
Alexa TiVo

Starting today, May 14, TV junkies now have a new pal to keep them company while they binge on their favorite shows. A new Alexa skill, which was teased back in March, now lets TiVo users leave their remote control on the coffee table without giving up control of their DVR.

Commands like "Alexa, watch CBS," or "Alexa, go to Fox" will do just that: A connected TiVo DVR will dutifully switch channels so that you can go about your regular activities without needing to reach for the remote, whether that activity is cooking in the kitchen, or simply guiding that next handful of popcorn into your mouth. But the command that will likely be used most, and with considerable glee, is the crowd-pleasing, "Alexa, skip commercials," to perform TiVo's skip mode jump.

Read more
Alexa can now take over DVR duties for TiVo, DirecTV, and more

A new update for Alexa will give the Amazon voice assistant even more power in your living room. The Video Skills API update announced on the developer blog will let Alexa interact with DirecTV, TiVo, DISH, and Verizon services to record shows with a voice request.

Rather than fumbling through menus with your remote, you can now just say “Alexa, record the Mariners game,” and it will be cued up and ready to view when you return home.

Read more
If TiVo wasn’t already simple enough, you can now control it with your voice
TiVo Next Gen Platform

You would be hard-pressed to ever describe the act of watching television as "difficult," but even so, TiVo wants to make it easier still. For nearly two decades, the company has been making it as simple as possible for folks to enjoy their favorite entertainment by doing as little work as possible, and now, it's taking things a step further.

At CES 2018, the company announced that you'll soon have the ability to control your TiVo through either Amazon Eco or Google Home. That's right, friends -- controlling your DVR will soon be as easy as opening your mouth.

Read more