TiVo, Rhapsody Hook Up

It's all about the relationship. That was the message at the official rollout of TiVo and Real Networks' new partnership at  the Arena club in Manhattan this week. Emcee Chris Harrison, host of The Bachelor, opened the festivities, leaving attendees to wonder whether the TiVo/Rhapsody marriage would end like most of the Bachelor debacles--or live happily ever after.

Taking a bite out of the hand that fed him, Harrison referred to TiVo, fresh off an announcement last week with MTV, as "kind of a whore" before going back on message about "finding the perfect relationship."

Will it last? What TiVo owner wouldn't love being able to access 4,340,115 tunes (and counting) via the TV screen and then organize those songs any way they want? It's the $12.95 monthly Rhapsody subscription fee that will give people pause. They're already paying more than $8 a month for TiVo (assuming the most economical pre-paid, 3-year plan), while their cable company sends through music channels for free. Rhapsody is available on TiVo HD boxes, which currently sell for $299.

According to TiVo CEO Tom Rogers, the Rhapsody deal is just another way for TiVo to distinguish itself through content. The company announced a download relationship with Amazon.com earlier this year.

Rhapsody appears as the Rhapsody Channel on the TiVo menu. Users can apply TiVo's thumbs up/thumbs down rating system to new releases, and Rhapsody will use that information to suggest similar artists or albums to subscribers. You can also rate music by artist or album. Current Rhapsody subscribers are covered by a universal licensing fee.--Rebecca Day