TiVo Catches Swedish Fish

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TiVo’s software will power a new Internet protocol
TV and mult iscreen video service from
Com Hem, Sweden’s largest cable-TV provider — a deal
the DVR company said demonstrates it has the ability to
quickly integrate with any operator’s infrastructure.

Stockholm-based Com Hem had 643,600 digital-TV
subscribers as of the end of March, and its network passed
1.74 million households in Sweden, approximately 40% of
the nation’s homes.

“It’s the first time we’ve been engaged to deliver the full
TiVo service fully independent of the set-top and DVR,”
TiVo president and CEO Tom Rogers said in an interview.
“This will be able to hit all screens in the home.”

The deal with Com Hem also represents the first IPTV
rollout for TiVo. Rogers said the multiscreen-video project
will be a “multimillion-dollar investment to implement,”
which is more than the several hundreds of thousands
TiVo generally needs to adapt its solution for traditional
cable TV.

With the Com Hem agreement, TiVo now has deals with
operators serving more than 11 million video subscribers.
Those include the U.K.’s Virgin Media, which as of the first
quarter of 2012 had signed up 677,000 customers, or 18%
of its entire video base, for TiVo-based DVR service within
about a year — singlehandedly pushing TiVo’s user numbers
into positive territory for the first time in four years.

In the U.S., TiVo customers include Charter Communications,
and RCN. On average,
less than 10%
of its operator customers’
currently take a
TiVo-based service.

Com Hem plans
to commercial ly
launch the TiVo solutions
in the spring
of 2013. TiVo is providing
software and
engineering services;
the operator has
not announced a settop
hardware partner.
“We continue to
be chosen because
we prove delivery,”
Joshua Danovitz, vice
president and general
manager of international
for TiVo,
said. “Operators are
looking for companies
that can land a
big project.”

According to the companies, the TiVobased
service will meld linear TV, video-ondemand,
over-the-top Internet content and
apps, all available across set-tops, tablets,
smartphones and computers. The service
will take advantage of Com Hem’s broadband
services, which provide up to 200 Megabits
per second downstream.

After reviewing various options, Com Hem
found that TiVo, “by way of its best-in-class
user experience, its leading consumer feature
set and rapid time to market, was the
most compelling answer,” CEO Tomas Franzén
said in a prepared statement.

TiVo sees an opportunity to strike similar
deals with all but the largest pay TV operators
that have the resources to build and develop
their own guide software. “In the developed
world, there are more than 400 million pay-
TV subscribers that are going to go through
this transition to advanced television over the
next few years,” Rogers said.