Click through for photos of Comcast Spotlight bringing the Stanley Cup to Chicago clients, Starz's first Investor Day and more events for the week of Dec. 2.
Comcast’s TiVo Service: See You in November?
Comcast subscribers in New England may finally be able to get a TiVo-based DVR sometime before Thanksgiving. Or, the way things have gone on this project, maybe they’ll have to wait just a wee bit longer.
The operator expects to make DVRs stuffed with TiVo software generally available to subscribers in the Boston suburbs around the second week of November, according to a person familiar with the operator’s current plans. That is, provide the TiVo-enabled Motorola boxes to regular folks — who aren’t employees or "friendlies."
Comcast reps would not officially confirm that timetable, instead referring to a company statement issued in late August as part of TiVo’s second-quarter earnings: "We expect to commence the TiVo rollout process shortly, and it will continue throughout the fall in parts of Comcast’s New England region, including parts of metro Boston, Southeastern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire."
TiVo CEO Tom Rogers must be getting restless. On Tuesday, he noted at an investment conference that Comcast was "a little behind" schedule, according to Reuters. "We’re waiting for word any time now that the first non-Comcast employee will begin to get the service," Rogers said.
It’s been "any time now" for the last few months.
In May, Rogers thought everything was a go with Comcast for a late-summer launch, telling Wall Street then that the Comcast rollout would be offered commercially in August in parts of the New England division. "Comcast’s plan, and I’m now quoting Comcast directly, ‘The Comcast TiVo trials will continue into early summer with a commercial launch plan for August,’" he said on a conference call.
That didn’t happen, even though Comcast accepted the DVR software for deployment on June 27, according to TiVo.
And remember, Comcast and TiVo’s original expectations were that the DVRs would be available in a majority of Comcast markets in mid-to-late 2006.
Meanwhile, TiVo is also working with Cox Communications. A Cox spokesman writes in an e-mail: "I can confirm that we are still on track for a technical trial with TiVo by the end of the year, with deployments in 2008."
But even when they become available, neither the Comcast-icized nor the Cox-ified units will have the full range of features offered by the "regular" TiVos. For example, at least initially, the Comcast and Cox TiVos won’t be able to access the Rhapsody music service, a new feature TiVo is touting this week, or Amazon.com’s Unbox video downloads.
You could say: C’mon, nobody’s going to care that those gimmicky Amazon and Rhapsody features are missing. But won’t it seem, in some small way, that you’ve gotten a TiVo Lite?