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Virgin Media Sets TiVo Price

Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) has revealed a few more details on its TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO)-powered, next-gen video platform, and it won't come cheap.

The new service, set for a mid-December introduction, will carry a "standard price" of £199 (US$310.73), plus a monthly service charge of £26.50 (US$41.31), the UK cabler announced Wednesday. The new product is also subject to a £40 (US$62.35) installation fee.

A key component of the platform, which will team TiVo's software and services with hardware from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), will be its ability to deliver Web-sourced video via a dedicated 10Mbit/s Docsis cable modem connection that will incorporate QoS and live separately from the MSO's traditional high-speed Internet services. (See Virgin STBs to Ride Broadband Video Expressway.)

The Flash-based box comes equipped with 1 terabyte of storage, plus access to roughly 4,600 hours of on-demand content. The device will start off with two tuners, but will support an additional tuner "in early 2011."

Why this matters
For TiVo, Virgin Media marks one of several service provider partnerships that it will use to help it reverse a trend of subscriber losses. It's also an example of how the DVR pioneer is trying to detach its technology and service platform from dedicated TiVo-made hardware.

For Virgin, the TiVo-powered offering is its stab at an advanced, hybrid video platform that will tie together traditional QAM- and IP-based video, and represents a much different model than fellow European MSO Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY) is using with its multi-vendor, multimedia gateway strategy. (See Liberty Global Reveals IP Gateway Partners.)

Virgin's high-end box strategy, which will use separately managed spectrum for the IP link, will play a key role in the MSO's ongoing battles with competitors such as BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), Sky , and YouView TV Ltd. (formerly Project Canvas).

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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