It's been muttered about since the first of the year, but now it's official and in full effect: TiVo gets the Rhapsody Music Service, and users get a month-long free trial without providing a credit card, or even signing up. It's just one click. (Okay, like two.)
It's a match-up of make-life-easier products, albeit two of the more famous underdogs in the whole digital-home arena. I had the chance to play around with the software and shoot a gallery of screens to give you an idea of how TiVolicious the Rhapsody experience just got.
You pop through menus with the familiar TiVo feedback sound effects, spelling out song and artist searches exactly as you would for TV shows or actors. You can drill deep with a progressive search (names appear as you type) or stay at high level, looking at Rhapsody's new releases and suggestions. You can add songs to a queue, though you can't edit playlists. And if you really want cruise control, there's are plenty of radio options, too. No matter where you are, a tap of the loop-back "return" button will take you to the Rhapsody main menu. (It won't skip back 15 seconds in a song, though.)
What I like, besides the free no-commitment get-hooked-on-crack free trial, is it solves that whole file management problem: you don't need to care about what music is where, or worry about the file formats or DRM issues.
Also, like on the Sonos, Rhapsody on TiVo lets you share DJ responsibilities with others: at a party, you can literally pass the remote around the room, so that everyone can queue up a track or two of their liking. A power-hungry music maniac like me can't relinquish control, but my therapist tells me that this would be a good idea, so I encourage you to try and share.
Of course, the tradeoff is $13 per month once you climb on board. Once you have an account, you can use it on your computers as well as your TiVo, but it's still a significant relationship with RealNetworks. The good news is that soon, MTV will take an active role in the already-established partnership known as Rhapsody America. That means Rhapsody's library and decent software plus all of those sweet MTV Urge playlists.
Since we just got it, I don't have any real nasty things to say, but I'll play around with it and let you know if there's anything to warn you about. For now, though, I am looking forward to browsing music on the big screen.
Software roll-out is happening already, with most broadband-connected TiVo users being set up with the app by the end of the month. If you want to try to weasel your way to the front of the line, you can visit tivo.com/rhapsody and sign up.
Rhapsody and TiVo Deliver Millions of Songs Direct to the Living Room
Rhapsody Digital Music Service Now Available on the TiVoR Service
ALVISO, Calif. / SEATTLE- October 9, 2007 - TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ: TIVO), the creator of and leader in television services for digital video recorders (DVRs), and RhapsodyR, the leading digital music service, today announced they have made available a transformative way for consumers to experience digital music in the home by delivering instant access to the Rhapsody music service through any broadband-connected TiVo box.
This groundbreaking combination puts millions of songs and thousands of Internet radio stations at consumers' fingertips from the comfort of their living room, cementing TiVo's status as the undisputed universal home entertainment center. TiVo subscribers can easily search for music directly from their TiVo box and instantly play anything from Rhapsody's extensive music catalog of over four million songs using TiVo's intuitive remote control and EmmyR award-winning user interface.
"By adding music to our portfolio of broadband offerings, TiVo is the only universal entertainment provider in the living room," said Tom Rogers, CEO and President of TiVo. "Since the beginning, TiVo has been focused on the principle of choice and control, giving our users the ability to experience TV on their terms. Together, TiVo and Rhapsody have extended the personal viewing experience on TiVo into music, providing consumers with an incredibly easy way to access their favorite artists from their television set. Our customers can not only navigate through hundreds of TV channels and thousands of movie downloads, they now have access to millions of songs all on their television set."
"We're thrilled to bring Rhapsody into the heart of the living room with TiVo," said Rob Glaser, chairman and CEO, RealNetworks, which in partnership with MTV Networks, owns and operates Rhapsody. "By partnering with TiVo, we can now give consumers easy and unlimited access to Rhapsody's library of four million songs from the comfort of their sofa. This is another important step as we fulfill our mission of bringing Rhapsody to consumers whenever and wherever they want it."
"Rhapsody on TiVo gives music fans a cool new way to connect with the music and the artists they love," said Michael Bloom, GM and head of Rhapsody America. "The combination brings Rhapsody alive as a social music experience in the home, and gives a whole new meaning to the term 'house DJ.'"
Among other capabilities, consumers can search for music directly from their TV using TiVo's intuitive search feature, browse charts of Rhapsody's most popular, artists, albums and songs, check out weekly lists of new releases, or listen to thousands of radio stations that suit virtually any mood. TiVo users can also use the famous peanut remote's Thumbs UpT and Thumbs DownT buttons to rate their favorite music. Rhapsody provides consumers with music recommendations based on their ratings, personal music tastes and listening habits.
The launch of Rhapsody on TiVo represents a fundamental leap forward in making Rhapsody accessible anywhere consumers want to enjoy music — on the computer, portable music device and mobile phone, and now through the television. The addition of music also adds to the diverse array of entertainment options for TiVo customers, joining movie downloads from Amazon, online content from sources such as The New York Times and The Onion, and the ability to share home movies through One True Media.
To celebrate the launch of this new service, TiVo subscribers have access to a free 30-day trial of Rhapsody. Consumers can choose to continue their Rhapsody service beyond the trial period for $12.99 per month. Current Rhapsody subscribers who have broadband connected TiVo DVRs can access their existing Rhapsody music libraries (including artists, albums, playlists and channels) via their television at no extra charge. Subscribers can learn more about Rhapsody on TiVo and sign-up for the priority list found at www.TiVo.com/rhapsody to ensure that the Rhapsody update is delivered to their TiVo boxes as soon as possible.
Details on the Rhapsody music service can be found at www.rhapsody.com. The new TiVo HD and other TiVo DVRs are available at leading consumer electronic retailers including Best Buy, Circuit City and Amazon.com. See www.TiVo.com for details.