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Comcast Trial Fuses TiVo With VoD

Jeff Baumgartner
2/23/2012

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.

Financial update
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

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DCITDave
DCITDave
12/5/2012 | 5:41:34 PM
re: Comcast Trial Fuses TiVo With VoD


So if I subscribe to Comcast pay TV in that market, I'd just need to go to my retail store, buy a TiVo and I'd be all set?


 

Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner
12/5/2012 | 5:41:32 PM
re: Comcast Trial Fuses TiVo With VoD
You would still need to arrange to get a cablecard and pair it with the tivo box...some progress made in self installs but I still read about self install headaches. my guess is that subs will take advantage of the free tech install option. I am also wondering how some of this will be arranged at the point of sale for new tivo users. Jb
Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner
12/5/2012 | 5:41:31 PM
re: Comcast Trial Fuses TiVo With VoD


On the earnings call, TiVo CEO & President Tom Rogers did not give a date on when this trial would turn into a launch, but did say it was "something that is weeks, not months away." JB


 


 


 

 

Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner
12/5/2012 | 5:41:25 PM
re: Comcast Trial Fuses TiVo With VoD


To connect to the Comcast service, the TiVo boxes will still need a CableCARD, but the upstream requests to set-up VoD sessions at the cable headend will be done through the TiVo's IP backchannel connection versus the MSO's QAM return path.  SeaChange and TiVo really got the mechanics of this together awhile back, but Arris and Ericsson have essentially been able to replicate the idea in situations where MSOs are integrating those VoD backoffice systems with TiVo's MSO- leased boxes. 


Comcast and SeaChange (the MSO's VoD backoffice vendor in S.F.)  are pretty much doing the same for retail TiVos. SeaChange's software implementation for the TiVo integreation is called "Cardio."  Tied in, SeaChange adds a proxy so TiVo can extract the operator's catalog to the TiVo search database. Anyway, a slick way to go about it without having to involve a tru2way middleware stack. JB


 

comtech3
comtech3
12/5/2012 | 5:41:25 PM
re: Comcast Trial Fuses TiVo With VoD


I guess most of the headache stems from trying to readout the pairing info, cablecard, host ID, data , ect. However, without Tru2way capabilities, I guess this new Tivo set-top is IP based,or it has a similar tuner to regular cable boxes minus the conditional access card.

comtech3
comtech3
12/5/2012 | 5:41:24 PM
re: Comcast Trial Fuses TiVo With VoD


Thanks for your informative response.

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