According to this TiVo blog post, Comcast began supporting its VoD service on some TiVo boxes in the area on April 9. Existing TiVo Premiere and Comcast subscribers in the San Francisco Bay Area will automatically receive a software update to enable the new feature "over the next few weeks." Until now, those customers could receive Comcast's live, linear video service on TiVos outfitted with CableCARD security modules, but needed a separate set-top box to get the MSO's VoD service.
San Francisco is the first Comcast market to get the TiVo update, but the MSO has yet to say when and where it will activate it next. Comcast will offer free, pro installations at the customer's request, and has pledged to promote the TiVo Premiere product in supported markets.
Comcast uses the SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC) VoD back-office system in San Francisco and several of its other cable markets. TiVo, thanks to deployment deals on leased Premiere boxes with MSOs such as Suddenlink Communications and Charter Communications Inc. , has completed similar integrations with the VoD back-office systems of Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC).
Why this matters
TiVo has long-complained that a lack of cable VoD makes its boxes a tougher sell at retail. This week's launch represents just one Comcast market, but it offers more evidence that TiVo can support cable's full video service without the headache and expense of developing a retail box that uses tru2way middleware. Cox Communications Inc. has a similar retail integration deal in place with TiVo, but has yet to pull the trigger.
The Comcast deployment also carries some regulatory weight. It's coming into view as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) considers whether to move forward with a CableCARD successor called AllVid. The cable industry has argued that the FCC should let the retail market develop without any further government interference.
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— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable