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TiVo supporting OpenCable on DVRs, Comcast to push TiVo DVRs

Thu, 11/29/2007 - 8:11am
Mike Robuck

TiVo CEO Tom Rogers touted his company’s burgeoning relationship with the cable industry on two fronts: TiVo has thrown its support behind cable’s OpenCable Application Platform specification, and Comcast will aggressively sell TiVo’s DVR service to its customers.

During its third-quarter earnings call yesterday, TiVo said it would support cable’s OpenCable Platform middleware application on its DVRs. Once cable systems have OpenCable fully deployed, which is not slated to happen for at least a few more years, TiVo’s DVRs will be able to function in OpenCable’s two-way architecture.

“…TiVo and the cable industry have come to an agreement on a blueprint for a retail TiVo DVR using the cable industry’s OpenCable Application Platform that will have full two-way cable service functionality,” Rogers said in a prepared statement. “While the technical specifications are still being worked out, such a set-top box will mean TiVo subscribers will be able to get full access to cable VOD and other two-way cable services. This could also mean that a standalone TiVo offering could fully substitute for a cable operator set-top box.”

Rogers said the agreement between the cable industry and TiVo was communicated Wednesday to the FCC through an ex parte filing by TiVo. TiVo said it is working with the cable industry on making adjustments to the OpenCable Platform.

In the FCC filing, TiVo said the OpenCable applications were preferable to the Consumer Electronics Association’s Digital Ready Plus initiative for standardizing access to two-way devices.

Rogers also said that Comcast’s TiVo offering is now available in some non-employee homes, and that “full marketing efforts will begin shortly in the greater Boston area.” Comcast, which has been working with TiVo for several years on a product that would use TiVo’s interface in Comcast homes, will “aggressively market it at a $2.95 (per month) upcharge,” according to Rogers.

Cox has previously said that it expects to have a TiVo-based offering sometime next year.

TiVo also outlined the agreement with the National Cable & Telecommunications AssociationCableLabs and other vendors in its earnings statement that will provide an external USB adapter for TiVo customers to access switched digital video (SDV) channels.

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