Cox, TiVo Push Toward Retail Tie-Up

Hints Emerge That Cox Will Soon Offer VOD On Retail TiVo Boxes

Although hints have emerged that that Cox and TiVo are close to completing an integration that will allow the operator to deliver its video-on-demand service on retail TiVo boxes, both sides are keeping their lips zipped on the details.

A poster on the TiVo Community Forum board claimed that Cox employees had recently received memos indicating that the MSO and TiVo will make this option available later this month in Rhode Island, with other markets to follow. Cox customer service reps are also saying that it could be offered within the next couple of months, but were being told to keep a lid on specific markets and dates.

Work between the companies is clearly ongoing. “We continue to work closely with TiVo to identify the best way to integrate our OnDEMAND service into TiVo’s user experience. We have not identified any specific markets or timetables for this launch,” a Cox spokeswoman said via email. TiVo declined to comment.

But the retail tie-up between the two is years in the making. Cox and TiVo announced the plan in August 2010, at the time expecting to offer it in 2011 across all of  Cox’s major markets. That retail-focused approach was to supersede a previous effort that involved the integration of a version of the TiVo user interface with a Motorola-made cable digital set-top box that didn’t get beyond the trial phase. Comcast rolled out that Motorola/TiVo configuration for a brief period  in New England, but eventually scuttled it in favor of a plan to mesh Comcast's VOD system with TiVo DVRs sold at retail. Comcast now offers this option in select markets.  

And there are lingering questions regarding how Cox and TiVo will work together and how that will factor into Cox’s IP video strategy. In May, TiVo CEO Tom Rogers said Cox and TiVo had not activated their retail pact in part “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.”

And the possibility of an imminent VOD integration with Cox was just one item in the news cycle involving TiVo.

TiVo also confirmed Wednesday that it experienced service outages for both retail and operator-distributed DVRs "related to a software update." Users reported outages on Tuesday afternoon and into Wednesday morning ZatzNotFunny blogger and TiVo user Dave Zatz estimated that the outage lasted more than 12 hours.

He told Multichannel News that in addition to affecting his TiVo box and wiping out the apps running on it,  the outage also impaired TiVo's Android and iPhone apps.