Comcast and TiVo have completed integrations that allow TiVo DVRs bought at retail to support the MSO’s video on demand service in all or portions of 21 cable markets. And that’s where things are going to stay for a while, evidently.
“Unfortunately, we currently don’t have plans for any additional markets this year while both Comcast and TiVo evaluate the performance and results of the current markets where this added feature has been made available,” Comcast’s Ted Hodgins noted in this post on the MSO’s customer message board. (Hat tip to TiVo investor Sam Biller for the heads up).
“There is some work (people, equipment and dollars) required by both Comcast and TiVo in order to make this work so priority markets and locations have been identified and worked for 2013,” Hodgins explained. He didn’t elaborate and the MSO has yet to comment further on the decision to back off, but much of the initial work has involved integrations with Comcast’s VOD backoffice system vendors, which include SeaChange International. Comcast, meanwhile, has been focused on developing authenticated TV Everywhere VOD apps for retail devices such as the Xbox 360 and iOS- and Android-powered tablets and smartphones.
A Comcast spokeswoman said via email that the MSO and TiVo have launched in all the markets they initially identified at the outset of the agreement, and echoed that Comcast and TiVo are evaluating how the product is being received in these markets before determining how or if they will follow up with additional markets sometime down the road.
Cox has a similar, retail-focused deal with TiVo that hasn't made it to market yet.
On TiVo’s fiscal first quarter conference call in May, TiVo CEO Tom Rogers noted that the Cox deal is not active yet “because we started turning our direction toward more IPTV-oriented solutions with Cox in terms of their next-generation activity. We’re in regular dialogue with them and working with them on a direction on how to do that.”
Cox, by the way, is testing an IP-only video service called flareWatch in Orange County. That pilot service, offered only to Cox broadband subs starting at $34.99 per month, is delivering a lineup of almost 100 live TV channels via Fanhattan’s Fan TV set-top and user interface starting at $34.95 per month. Cox also plans to add a menu of ad-supported, “free” VOD content further down the road.
While the IP-based platform that underpins flareWatch would seem to be a candidate for the TiVo environment, Cox has not announced precisely how IPTV will factor into a retail solution for TiVo.