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Charter Plugs TiVo Into Arris's VoD Back-Office

Charter Communications Inc. 's launch of TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) Premiere boxes in Texas marks the latest integration with the Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) cable VoD back-office system. Most previous TiVo-cable VoD integrations have involved SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC)'s platform.

Update: Charter's TiVo debut doesn't mark the first field deployment that ties in the Arris VoD platform. TiVo confirmed that Suddenlink Communications and Grande Communications have also integrated TiVo with VoD products that run on the Arris back-office.

Charter's expected to complete similar integrations with the Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) VoD back-office as it introduces TiVo into other markets next year. (See Ericsson, Arris to Aid Charter-TiVo Hook-Up.)

Charter's launch in the Ft. Worth area confirms what company CEO Mike Lovett said at the UBS AG conference in New York this week, but more details are now emerging. (See Charter Picks First TiVo Market .)

Pricing could vary as the MSO debuts TiVo in other markets, but, in Ft. Worth, Charter will charge $20 per month -- the same price as a generic HD-DVR from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). For the whole-home component, customers will be required to link two Premiere boxes over the home network. Charter is offering customers a second Premiere box for $10 per month under a 12-month promotion, says Cheryl Davis, Charter's director of video product development.

Charter also intends to support the TiVo Preview, a light-client box that feeds off the Premiere device, as it extends the product into markets that operate digital-only equipment. (See TiVo Debuts Whole-Home DVR Gear.)

Charter's TiVo product will include several over-the-top apps, including Pandora Media Inc. and YouTube Inc. , but won't offer Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), which doesn't have rights to stream content to MSO-leased devices. However, there's a "desire from both companies [Charter and TiVo] to offer that kind of content," Davis said. (See Suddenlink Blames Netflix Contracts .)

Why this matters
The Ft. Worth deployment on the Arris back-office is significant for TiVo as it represents a key portion of U.S. cable's VoD base. Its coming integration with Ericsson will only help TiVo as it looks to partner with more MSOs.

For Charter, the launch represents a key leg in its advanced video strategy, its support for broadband-fed video and the use of integrated search and navigation systems that begin to tie together OTT, linear video and legacy VoD. (See Reinventing Cable's Video Experience.)

For more
Read more about TiVo and its ongoing integration with cable VoD.



— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:46:56 PM
re: Charter Plugs TiVo Into Arris's VoD Back-Office

Charter's launch also features support for TiVo's iPad app, which includes a remote DVR manager and a way to turn the tablet into a fancy remote/navigation system. An Android version is expected out in January, Davis said.


Mike Lovett also mentioned at the UBS conference that TiVo has a live TV  streaming app on the roadmap. JB

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:46:56 PM
re: Charter Plugs TiVo Into Arris's VoD Back-Office

It's integrated with Charter's VoD system if that's important to you, and, this is a guess, the install will likely be smoother if the box is MSO-supplied versus buying one at retail and trying to get it paired with a CableCARD, though that process has been improving but nowhere near perfect.  But no Netflix in the leased box. JB

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 4:46:56 PM
re: Charter Plugs TiVo Into Arris's VoD Back-Office

Is there any noticable difference to the customer vs. just using a TiVo to record content via Charter's regular digital cable offering?


Sincerely,


Curious in Ft. Worth

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 4:46:55 PM
re: Charter Plugs TiVo Into Arris's VoD Back-Office

That is more interesting. In fact, with HBO Go (or the Showtime equivalent) and a halfway decent service provider VoD library, you really don't miss/need Netflix at all.


The iPad integration is a bonus, too. 


So content-wise, this puts them in the same league as U-verse. That will matter as you roll through FTW because AT&T has made quite a bit of noise around here.


ph

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:46:54 PM
re: Charter Plugs TiVo Into Arris's VoD Back-Office

It's the TiVo Flash-based IPG with CHTR branding and guide data , so there's no toggling between TiVo's and the musty IPG that you'd find in the legacy cable boxes or anything weird like that. It's all integrated on the TiVo UI.  This is pretty sales-y, but here's the video demo from Charter:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avQMaxDo3zo&feature=player_embedded


More general info is here: http://www.charter.com/tivo


JB


 

craigleddy 12/5/2012 | 4:46:54 PM
re: Charter Plugs TiVo Into Arris's VoD Back-Office

Jeff - Will there also be a noticeable difference in the on-screen user interface? Do cable TiVo users get to use TiVo's IPG as their program guide, versus cable's typically clunky IPGs? Or do you use the cable IPG for linear programming and then go to TiVo's navigation for DVR and other functions?   

AESerm 12/5/2012 | 4:46:53 PM
re: Charter Plugs TiVo Into Arris's VoD Back-Office

The early TiVo adopters were notoriously fanatic. As this UI appears to be 'crossing the chasm' i'm wondering if mainstream users who didn't go out of their way to buy a TiVo box will show simliar enthusiasm.

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:46:53 PM
re: Charter Plugs TiVo Into Arris's VoD Back-Office

TiVo confirmed that the Charter deployment in Ft. Worth in fact was not its first on the Arris backoffice, as Grande and Suddenlink have already done so.  Story's been adjusted to reflect that. JB

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