Comcast Trial Fuses TiVo With VoD
Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has picked San Francisco for a market trial that will integrate the MSO's video-on-demand (VoD) with retail TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) Premiere HD-DVRs.
TiVo, which revealed the market trial in its fourth-quarter results, has been offering Comcast's linear digital TV product on Premieres outfitted with CableCARDs, but customers have been required to use a separate set-top box to access the MSO's VoD service, which presently offers about 30,000 choices.
Cox Communications Inc. and TiVo have a similar retail project underway in which the retail boxes are made to integrate with the MSO's VoD back-office systems without tru2way, a CableLabs -specified set-top middleware and headend platform. Comcast hinted about the trial last fall. (See Cox, TiVo Strike a DVR Deal, Comcast VoD Coming to TiVo and No Tru2way? No Problem .)
The setup will give TiVo customers access to an MSO's entire pay-TV service on top of TiVo's user interface and over-the-top (OTT) content from sources such as Hulu LLC and Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX). The retail connection also comes into play as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mulls a CableCARD successor called AllVid. Cable's argued that the FCC should let the retail market develop without any further government interference.
TiVo said the integration with Comcast will launch commercially in San Francisco in the "near future," expanding into other markets later. Comcast will also offer pro installations at the customer's request at no additional charge, and has pledged to promote the TiVo Premiere product in supported markets.
TiVo's service provider strategy continued to bear fruit in the fourth quarter, as the company added 234,000 net subscriptions, the highest quarterly increase for the company in nearly six years, giving it a total of 2.3 million. Much of the credit goes to Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED), which added 270,000 new TiVo subscriptions, extending its total to 435,000.
TiVo posted a fourth-quarter profit of $7.2 million on revenues of $66.5 million, up from $55.8 million a year ago, aided in part by its settlement with AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). Analysts were expecting a loss of 21 cents per share on revenues of $51 million. (See AT&T to Pay TiVo $215M-Plus to Settle DVR Fight.)
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable