TiVo: Just Say No to Old Set-Top Sales

Here's a look at what's pushing cable's buttons today.

  • TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) has joined the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) in urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deny a waiver request from Adams Cable Equipment Inc. that's looking to let MSOs sell refurbished cable boxes with integrated security directly to consumers. The request "should be denied or at least significantly narrowed," TiVo told the Commission. TiVo's chapped because the request to lift the ban on integrated security boxes, as written, would seem to let any cable operators sell all sorts of models, including high-end HD-DVRs. But TiVo is interested in knowing how many boxes Baja Broadband, a small MSO that sells some Motorola Mobility LLC boxes in partnership with ACE, has been able to sell. ACE estimates that it has 50,000 boxes in inventory. TiVo argues that the effort "appears to be little more than a pretext for ACE to sell refurbished boxes." (See ACE: Selling Old Set-Tops Won't Derail Retail and A New Battle Brews About Old Set-Tops .)

  • DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) is rolling out its new TiVo-powered HD-DVR nationally following a series of delays and an initial rollout in ten markets late last year. The broadband-connected product can record two shows at once, has enough space for about 100 hours of hi-def content, and can access about 7,000 on-demand titles. But there are some limitations, too. The user interface is based on the "classic" TiVo system rather than the more advanced UI that graces its Premiere platform, and the new box is not compatible with DirecTV's whole-home DVR service and doesn't support the satellite giant's 3-D service, Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) and some other Web-fed apps found on TiVo's retail platform.

  • The U.S. Department of Justice could okay Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s proposed acquisition of Motorola Mobility sometime next week, Bloomberg reports. Approval would get Google closer to its quest to shore up its mobile patent holdings and grab hold of Moto's Home unit, which sells set-tops, modems and other broadband gear. (See Cover Sheet: Google to Acquire Moto Mobility.)

  • Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) CEO Jeff Bewkes pressed MSOs to stop blocking access to the HBO GO app on Roku Inc. 's streaming platform. Speaking on an earnings call Wednesday, Bewkes argued that a more open approach would help pay-TV operators battle a budding cord-cutting trend. An exec with Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) told the The Wall Street Journal that the MSO is not allowing access to TV Everywhere apps on the Roku for now because it can't guarantee a "flawless experience" on the device.

  • Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN)'s pursuit of a streaming video service that could rival Netflix's got a shot in the arm Wednesday when it inked a licensing deal with Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA). The deal gives Amazon Prime Instant members access to shows from Viacom properties such as MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, and will expand Amazon's streaming video vault for Prime Instant to more than 15,000 titles. Amazon's broader Instant Video service offers up to 100,000 titles, including new release movies. (See Netflix Bracing for Clash With Amazon .)

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

  • Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:43:03 PM
    re: TiVo: Just Say No to Old Set-Top Sales

    I'm not sure what's got TWC concerned about when it comes to all this "flawless experience" talk.  I streamed most of seasons 2-3 of Breaking Bad on the Roku via Netflix recently and my experience was downright great. I really don't recall the video buffering or stuttering even once through all that.  I do recall that MSos are also concerned that the UI is out of their control, but I don't see how that can be an absolute deal breaker for them or Comcast, for that matter, if their customers, you know, want and find value in having an app like HBO Go offered on the Roku. I know I wouldn't get all upset if I had access to it.  JB

    tmcelgunn 12/5/2012 | 5:42:54 PM
    re: TiVo: Just Say No to Old Set-Top Sales I am not taking a shot at FiOS here, because I am generally a very satisfied customer, but I can say definitivley that I have experienced more problems with their DVR and on demand than I ever have with my Roku. It seems to me that if a service provider cannot guarantee a flawless experience with Roku, they probably should look to their own HSD network, not to Roku, for the source and the solution.
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