TiVo CEO:‘We’re All For Moving On Beyond CableCARD’

Wants Assurances Ops Will Back CableCARD During Transition
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With the CableCARD regime set to end following last week’s passage of the satellite reauthorization bill and the FCC now tasked with pursuing a successor platform, consider TiVo to be pleased as punch about all of it.

“We’re all for moving on beyond CableCARD, because that has been one helluva lot of friction in our consumer business,” TiVo president and CEO Tom Rogers said in an interview as the company announced third quarter results, referring to TiVo’s years-long battle to reduce CableCARD-induced installation headaches for its retail products.  

“Our issue,” he said, “has simply been to make sure the cable industry supports CableCARD until we’re really transitioning to a new standard of downloadable security that works better.”

Rogers said TiVo has already contemplated such a world when it entered an agreement with Comcast earlier this year to develop a non-CableCARD approach for TiVo boxes sold at retail. “That will cover most of the major [U.S.] markets, particularly after the Time Warner Cable acquisition is done,” he said.  “We have ongoing support from them [Comcast] for CableCARDs and agreement to work with us on the new standard for retail purposes that will be largely IP-driven, I assume.”  

Comcast and TiVo have yet to reveal the techincal aspects of the system they are developing or announce when the new non-CableCARD solution will be ready for commercial deployment. 

Rogers also offered an update on TiVo’s recently launched Roamio OTA model ($49.99, plus $14.99 per month service fee), which is targeted to cord-cutters and cord-nevers, doesn’t come equipped with a CableCARD slot (since it doesn’t support traditional digital cable TV services), but does have a broadband connection for OTT video. 

While that model is retail focused (“It seems to be selling pretty well,” Rogers said), don’t be surprised if it emerges as an option for TiVo's MSO partners as they seek ways to support broadband-only customers. Rogers said such discussions are already happening. 

“We’re not out there advocating it as the best way to watch television, but, like operators who know that they serve broadband customers that may not be video customers, we know that’s a market to serve. It does look like one we’ll serve on a continuing basis,” Rogers said. “That part of our business is one that we can pursue discussions with operators on as well.”