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TiVo and Entertainment Weekly team up, but who’s helping whom?

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With so many new TV shows debuting each fall, it's hard to keep on top of what's worth watching. If you choose poorly, you could wind up wasting time on shows doomed to cancellation while falling weeks behind on a decent series. Well, TiVo users will soon get a little extra help. The company has teamed up with Entertainment Weekly to allow TiVo subscribers to automatically record the magazine's regular list of must-see TV.

Most analysis paints this EW deal as a desperate push by TiVo. The company, which pioneered digital video recorders a decade ago, has lost considerable ground to DVRs offered by cable companies. TiVo “has only 1.7 million subscribers out of an estimated 26 million DVRs in the US at the end of the first quarter,” reports the The Wall Street Journal.

To remain relevant, TiVo has signed scores of deals with media companies and taste makers. They've dabbled in downloads, YouTube videos, even product deals with Amazon that let users buy items advertised on shows. The hope: Enough bells and whistles will solidify TiVo as a premium brand – something people will seek out instead of settling on package deals from cable providers.

For example, TiVo announced a similar partnership in May with the Chicago Tribune. Users can queue up shows handpicked by the newspaper’s TV critic, Maureen Ryan, and watch her video reviews. In exchange for Ms. Ryan’s trained eye, the paper got a cut of the TiVo subscription fees for every viewer who signed up for the Tribune service. TiVo was mum on the financial details of the EW deal, but it's probably the same basic arrangement.

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