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Comcast enters next phase of TiVo roll-out

Fri, 10/12/2007 - 8:17am
Mike Robuck

Comcast is inching closer to a full-scale commercial roll-out of TiVo’s digital video recording technology in its deployed set-top boxes with the recent news that some boxes in the New England division have received software downloads.

Over the past few days, Comcast customers in the New England division have been getting the TiVo DVR software downloaded into their Motorola dual-tuner DVR set-top boxes. This phase is the next step in Comcast’s beta testing, which currently includes a limited number of customers who may be receiving the service for free as part of the trial.

The downloads give customers a TiVo interface instead of Comcast’s own GuideWorks interface.

Comcast is using its TV Navigator, which was developed by TVWorks, to download the TiVo software into the boxes. TVWorks is jointly owned by Cox and Comcast after the two companies bought up Liberate. Both Cox and Comcast are using a subset of the OCAP Java APIs as a bridge to OCAP deployments, and in an effort to deploy interactive services in the legacy set-top boxes. Cox calls its version of the TVWorks technology On Ramp, while Comcast uses the term TV Navigator.

Comcast is using TV Navigator with TiVo in an effort to have a common software platform in as many set-top boxes as possible.

Comcast has been working on deploying TiVo’s software in its footprint for the past two years. A Comcast spokeswoman said that commercial roll-outs are expected to continue throughout parts of New England this fall, but Comcast hasn’t given a timeline for a full-scale commercial deployment.

TiVo was an earlier pioneer in the DVR field, but has struggled as other companies, including Comcast, have launched their own DVR services. Hitching its fortunes to Comcast is one way TiVo hopes to improve its fortunes.

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