Video services

Comcast VoD Coming to TiVo

10:30 AM -- Let's get this out of the way up front: Cable doesn't want the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to move ahead on AllVid, a potential successor to the CableCARD that would create headaches not just for cable operators, but for telco and satellite TV operators as well.

The cable industry's argument is that the market for smart video devices is moving forward rapidly on its own and doesn't need another expensive government mandate to spur it on. Cable also holds that more rules would only slow innovation down to a crawl.

In turn, cable's been trying to back up that claim by providing the FCC with evidence on how MSOs and the consumer electronics guys have been making great strides, the most recent being the plans of Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) to offer their video-on-demand products and to stream some live TV channels (in the case of Verizon) to the Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Xbox 360. (See Comcast, Verizon Connect With the Xbox 360.)

Comcast followed that up this week with a filing at the FCC that describes that relationship and sheds light on some other CE-related tidings. You can read it all here, but these the newsier highlights:

  • Comcast and AllVid champion TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) are working on a way to bring the MSO's Xfinity On Demand to TiVo CableCARD devices. "We are aiming to start trialing the service later this year," the MSO said. There aren't any technical details in there, but it's most likely that the TiVo box's IP return path will be used to set up the VoD sessions in tandem with the SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC) backoffice. (tru2way probably won't have a role in the TiVo VoD implementation.) (See No Tru2way? No Problem .)

  • Comcast "will soon launch a trial to deliver private IP-based cable services to PCs and Macs." Again, no technical details yet, but it would probably involve some sort of IP video simulcast that could conceivably also include support for devices like iPads. (See Comcast Keeps Eye on the iPad Prize.)

  • Comcast has already announced plans to integrate its Xfinity On Demand service on connected TVs from Samsung, but the MSO is working with other device manufacturers to offer similar services on a "broad range of IP-enabled devices." At this week's CTAM conference in New York, Comcast Converged Products President Sam Schwartz said the MSO has identified game consoles, more connected TVs and Roku Inc. boxes among the likely initial targets. (See Comcast to Swing Xcalibur Wide in 2012.)

  • Comcast's Motorola Mobility LLC -made AnyPlay device (it's also been called Televation) "will be launched in certain markets this fall" and initially will work on the iPad and Moto's Xoom tablet. As a reminder, the device takes in QAM video and transcodes it for display on IP-connected devices hanging off the home network. (See Comcast AnyPlay to Stream Live TV to Tablets and Moto, Comcast Team on In-Home TV Streamer .)

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

  • comtech3 12/5/2012 | 4:51:41 PM
    re: Comcast VoD Coming to TiVo

    Wither the traditional set-top boxes? From all indications, there's a distinct possibility that  this may happened,and how will the cablecos handle the expected IP-based devices with their current HFC infrastructure? What format will these devices use.......TCP/IP, or UDP/IP ? If the latter is chosen over the former, I don't foresee much problem,but if the former is chosen with it's inherent retransmission tendency when packets are not received by the end devices,then in my opinion, these MSOs are courting a disaster! It's going to be interesting to see how how their priority packets such has telephony(VOIP) and data packets,along current video offering will handle the surge in traffic with this new paradigm.

    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:51:41 PM
    re: Comcast VoD Coming to TiVo

    I did some more thinking on this,, but another option for TiVo may be similar to what Comcast is doing with the Xbox 360 -- delivering its TV Everywhere content to the box over IP and not necessarily doing the whole IP backchannel thing that RCN is doing, for example. Anyway, I've asked Comcast to clarify.  JB



    comtech3 12/5/2012 | 4:51:40 PM
    re: Comcast VoD Coming to TiVo

    We may see in the coming years ahead, the shrinking of the current data allowance of 250 GB by some MSO such as Comcast, to manage the influx of IP- based devices to possibly 100 GB or less. As a result, customer complaints will be huge.This is one of the burning issues that wireless carriers face today.....bandwidth management.Ironically, these are the same MSOs that are "cry babies" when it comes to net neutrality when it did not soothe them,but now are embracing evey little device that can carry video signal!

    tigerkat 12/5/2012 | 4:51:39 PM
    re: Comcast VoD Coming to TiVo

    Jeff, from the Comcast-TiVo press release May 9, 2011:

    "For the first time, Comcast customers in select markets will be able to use a TiVo Premiere box to enjoy a fully integrated offering of On Demand programs, along with linear television and a range of broadband services, all accessible through TiVo's user interface and intuitive search capabilities."

    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:51:36 PM
    re: Comcast VoD Coming to TiVo

    Good memory, tigerkat. Comcast confirmed that TiVo will be using the IP backend process (SEAC's "Cardio" approach) to access the entire Xfinity TV VoD library (not just TV Everywhere).

    And Comcast offered a small update on AnyPlay -- it's in employee trials, but nothing announced on when and where Comcast will start offering it to paying customers.  No pricing yet.  JB


    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:51:35 PM
    re: Comcast VoD Coming to TiVo

    The AllVid Tech Company Alliance also filed a letter urging the FCC to proceed with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on AllVid, and let the comments and debate flow. It lists already-covered ground, holding that "[i]n the absence of such a rulemaking, there is no way forward for compliance wiht Section 629, as MVPDs move to IP-based distribution." 

    FCC's been very quiet about AllVid lately, and some folks in the loop on the regulatory front think it's in serious jeopardy of getting out of notice of inquiry mode. JB



    Sign In