Cox Nears VOD Launch on Retail TiVo Boxes

Will Add Capability Initially in Orange County (Updated)

Cox Communications confirmed that it will soon begin to offer video-on-demand on certain TiVo retail DVR models over IP connections starting in Orange County in “early July,” followed by expansions into other markets.

Cox is currently supporting linear TV and switched digital video (using a tuning adapter) to retail TiVo devices outfitted with CableCARD modules.

Cox spokesman Todd Smith said work is well underway for the MSO to deliver its VOD catalogue, including transactional VOD, subscription VOD, and free VOD, to digital TiVo customers who are subscribed to Cox’s video digital tier and its high-speed Internet “Essential” tier or higher. TiVo, he added, is targeting Cox VOD support on its Premiere and Roamio models (Series 4 and Series 5).

Cox and TiVo will initially launch the new capability in Orange County in early July with additional markets to follow soon, Smith added.

Cox’s confirmation by the MSO comes soon after the ZatzNotFunny blog reported that TiVo would soon add support for Cox On Demand on retail devices. 

The deployment is a long time in coming, as Cox and TiVo announced the plan to integrate Cox VOD on TiVo retail devices back in August 2010. At the time, the plan called for Cox to enable access to VOD on TiVo Premiere DVR users in early 2011 across all major markets. Prior to that retail-focused agreement, Cox and TiVo had worked on a project to port TiVo to Motorola-made, MSO-leased DVRs

The VOD integration underway will have Cox support on-demand via IP (rather than via MPEG transport) using a digital rights management (DRM) from Verimatrix. Cox uses a similar approach to deliver VOD over IP to its “Contour” app for tablets.

The Cox VOD menu, Smith noted, will be accessed alongside OTT video suppliers supported on TiVo’s retail platform, including Amazon and Netflix.

Update: Cox confirmed that its VOD service via TiVo will not count towards data usage allowances tied to its high-speed Internet product. Cox, which recently raised the limits of its monthly data caps, is also testing a usage-based pricing model in Cleveland. In a similar vein, Comcast's Xfinity TV app for the Xbox 360, currently limited to VOD, uses a separate IP transport path that does not mingle with high-speed Internet traffic, and also does not count toward a customer's monthly broadband data usage (Comcast is testing usage-based Internet data policies in several markets, including Atlanta; Mobile, Ala.; Tucson, Ariz.; Central Kentucky; Maine; Jackson, and South Carolina, among others). 

TiVo, which is scheduled to announce first quarter earnings later this afternoon, completed the integration of Comcast’s Xfinity On Demand service on certain retail-bought DVRs last July.