Cable Show 2011: TiVo Opens Up Two New Boxes For Cable

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TiVo -- working overtime to win business from cable operators -- will offer MSOs two new set-top options including its first quad-tuner DVR and has enhanced its iPad app to integrate with cable video services.

TiVo Premiere Q is the company's first quad-tuner gateway set-top box, a higher-end option than its flagship Premiere dual-tuner DVR. In addition, TiVo is rolling out Preview, its first non-DVR HD set-top box.

RCN will be the first U.S. cable operator to offer subscribers the Premiere Q and Preview, in addition to its current TiVo Premiere offering, later this year. Suddenlink Communications, which also has an agreement to offer Premiere DVRs to subs, expects to offer the new boxes at some point.

"TiVo's solution for cable has stood apart in delivering the only offering that fully integrates the operator's linear and VOD content with broadband content and application choices," David Sandford, vice president and general manager of TiVo's service provider business, said in a statement.

TiVo Premiere Q

Premiere Q and Preview will provide more flexibility to offer multiroom DVR services to customers, according to TiVo.

In addition being able to handle up to four simultaneous recordings, Premiere Q supports up to three HD streams over a Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) or Ethernet home network. The Preview box also includes integrated MoCA and Ethernet for home networking.

Meanwhile, the new version of TiVo's companion iPad application automatically adds an operator's video-on-demand titles into the search and browse features within the app. It also automatically detects and integrates an operator's branding, linear programming lineup and VOD catalog when connected to a TiVo box provided by the operator.

TiVo Preview non-DVR set-top

Users can "flick" the content they find on the TiVo iPad app and it begins playing on TV.
The enhanced iPad app will "help cable operators bring TiVo's innovative user interface directly into the hands of their subscribers, thereby offering consumers the ultimate remote control and viewing-on-demand experience," Sanford said.

The TiVo App for iPad lets users search and browse TV listings and DVR recordings, schedule recordings and perform other tasks using the iPad's touchscreen. It also lets users share comments via Facebook or Twitter about shows they are currently watching.

The app connects to the TiVo DVR over Wi-Fi; users must configure the box to allow the iPad to access and activate the app using a unique "media access key" code.

TiVo iPad app for cable

In addition to RCN and Suddenlink, TiVo also has a distribution deal with Charter Communications, which plans to offer the Premiere DVR to subscribers this year. The U.K.'s Virgin Media is providing the TiVo user interface either on Cisco Systems hardware, while DirecTV has a project to port the TiVo guide to a set-top from Technicolor.

Comcast and Cox Communications, meanwhile, have abandoned efforts to bring the TiVo user interface to their set-top platforms. Instead both MSOs struck deals with TiVo to open their VOD libraries to users of Premiere DVRs bought at retail.

TiVo is flush with cash after reaching a landmark settlement last month with Dish Network and EchoStar, which are paying TiVo $500 million to resolve the companies' patent-infringement litigation dating back to 2004.

Separately, TiVo has accused Verizon Communications and AT&T of patent violations and the DVR company has pending litigation involving both telcos as well as Microsoft and Motorola Mobility.