Video services

Frontier Tags TiVo for OTT/OTA Trial

Streaming video startup Aereo may have gone down in flames, but Frontier and TiVo want to pick up where Aereo left off.

At the Bernstein 31st Annual Strategic Decisions Conference, Frontier Communications Corp. (NYSE: FTR) CEO and President Dan McCarthy announced that his company has a trial under way with TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) that marries over-the-air content with online video in a single service.

"We're in a trial right now with TiVo as our partner to bring a combination of over-the-air and over-the-top content provisioned to a single user interface with DVR and time-shifting," said McCarthy.

He added later, "We're trying to see if that appeals to a different segment, a millennial segment … that really is not interested in a linear feed from anybody."

First reported by Fierce Telecom, McCarthy's announcement follows earlier news from Frontier of an agreement to market TiVo's Roamio OTA DVR to broadband-only subscribers. The Roamio OTA box, which is currently sold in retail stores, is specifically designed to handle both broadcast content and over-the-top video.

A growing number of pay-TV providers are leasing TiVo boxes that offer access to OTT apps. However, in the US, those set-tops are used to deliver content that's supplementary to a provider's own video service. (See TiVo Scores Cable, Retail Gains and Netflix Cracks Top 10 MSO.)

Frontier is taking the TiVo partnership a step further by introducing a video offering for broadband-only customers.

Want to learn more about OTT video, multiscreen and other next-gen video technologies? They will be a few of the many topics covered at Light Reading's second Big Telecom Event on June 9-10 in Chicago, which will include a special Video Summit. Sign up today!

Aereo notoriously tried to blend OTT and OTA content by collecting broadcast signals in a central location, transcoding the video and then streaming it alongside OTT services over the web. After Aereo's methods were deemed illegal, however, the company was forced to sell itself off in pieces. RPX Corp. and Alliance Technology Solutions picked up Aereo's patents and equipment respectively. TiVo acquired the company's subscriber list, domain names and trademarks, which it could use to brand a combined OTT/OTA product offering. (See Aereo Gets A Kick in the Ass(ets).)

Frontier, meanwhile, has been active on multiple fronts with video and broadband services. The telco recently acquired several FiOS markets from Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) in California, Florida, and Texas. Multiple reports suggest Frontier may offer TiVo DVRs to FiOS TV subscribers after rolling out the Roamio set-top to existing broadband customers.

— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

KBode 6/1/2015 | 12:13:59 PM
OTA This might be promising! Frontier has long hinted that they're not all that interested in being in the TV business because they lack the scale to save enough money on programming. Would be nice to see them break the mold and offer a truly disruptive, inexpensive Internet video play. Usually cable operators start these efforts then whittle them down to nothing out of fear of cannibalizing existing pay TV subscribers.
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