RCN goes with TiVo as primary DVR platform
RCN said today that it has picked TiVo as its primary DVR offering, which means its customers will be able to access broadband video content from Amazon’s VOD library.
The TiVo service is slated to launch early next year.
TiVo has been working overtime to endear itself to cable and has been rewarded with deals with Comcast and Cox. After several years of development, Comcast has deployed TiVo’s DVR interface in New England and plans to offer it in Chicago sometime this year, while Cox has trialed TiVo in its New England division.
But TiVo appears to have struck a deeper chord with RCN since the agreement includes not only RCN’s VOD library, but also Amazon’s video content, as well. The deal gives RCN customers the benefit of both over-the-top video content, as well as a traditional VOD offering from a cable provider.
“We are thrilled with this relationship because RCN is stepping up to be the first cable provider to offer the TiVo hardware and software as its primary DVR product, giving its customers total control over a truly integrated, 100 percent digital experience that combines traditional television programming with the rapidly growing universe of Internet-delivered content,” said TiVo President and CEO Tom Rogers. “This is a great marriage of TiVo’s and RCN’s histories of innovation and our respective roadmaps for the future of television, where millions of shows must be made searchable and accessible on-demand in an elegant, consumer-friendly manner. Soon, RCN subscribers will have at their fingertips the most advanced television experience bar none.”
RCN’s subscribers will also be able to use TiVo’s search function, which searches across linear TV, broadband and VOD, as well as transfer video content onto mobile devices and laptops via TiVoToGo Transfers. Customers can also enjoy the benefits of whole-home DVR by connecting TiVo DVRs to their home networks.
“The TiVo DVR from RCN is a truly innovative convergence of video and broadband programming controlled through a single user interface that is simple, intuitive and dramatically different from that of other DVRs,” said RCN CEO Peter Aquino. “We are always looking for ways to improve our customers’ experience, and TiVo brings us the best feature set at a very compelling value, while also allowing us to deploy these new services faster than our competitors because we can leverage our current infrastructure.”
Earlier this year, Evolution Broadband announced a deal with TiVo  to use the latter’s Series 3 high-definition set-top boxes. With its recent waiver from the Federal Communications Commission, the TiVo deal will allow Evolution to offer small- to medium-size cable operators access to Internet content from the likes of Amazon and Netflix, which provides them with a VOD-like service without the expensive network equipment.
TiVo also has streaming deals in place with Netflix and Blockbuster , the latter of which will go live this year.
Comcast's New England customers are slated to get a TiVo online scheduler this summer in order to record and manage shows online. The service is for Comcast cable TV and Internet customers who use its TiVo-enabled DVRs.
RCN also reported its second-quarter results today. The company’s revenue increased to $192 million in the second quarter, compared with $184 million in the second quarter of last year and $189 million in the first quarter of this year.
RCN’s net loss for the quarter was $9 million, which was a huge decrease compared with the $17 million it lost in the same quarter a year ago and the $11 million loss in the first quarter of this year.
RCN’s free cash flow was $10 million, compared with negative $300,000 in the second quarter of 2008 and $8 million in the first quarter of 2009.
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