Comcast launched TiVo’s service today in the Boston area, after the two companies took three years to get their respective technologies to mesh.

The TiVo service will cost Comcast customers in the Boston footprint an additional $2.95 per month, in addition to the $12.95 monthly charge for Comcast’s digital video recorder (DVR) service.

Comcast is downloading TiVo’s DVR software into customers' Motorola dual-tuner DVR set-top boxes. TiVo is also working on deploying its software on Scientific Atlanta set-top boxes.

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.

The TiVo service will allow subscribers to browse and search for content – including keyword searches – on Comcast’s video-on-demand (VOD) and linear TV portals. The service will also suggest programming based on a viewer’s preferences and will automatically record shows based on those preferences.

Comcast and TiVo first discussed a partnership in March 2005, but merging the companies’ technologies proved to be tougher than either expected. At one point, Comcast and TiVo said the service would be in most Comcast markets by mid-2006.

Comcast is inching closer to a full-scale commercial rollout of TiVo’s DVR technology in its deployed STBs with the recent news that some boxes in the New England division have received software downloads.

In the past few days, Comcast customers in the New England division have been getting the TiVo DVR software downloaded into their Motorola dual-tuner DVRs. 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 did not say where the service would be deployed following the Boston rollout, but the New England area was used last year for a trial of the service.

Comcast is no doubt interested in seeing what the take rate will be for the TiVo service, since it’s an additional service and cost to what Comcast already provides without the TiVo interface.

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