One of the features that remains absent from the standalone CableCARD TiVo units has been support for cable provider VOD/PPV services. These services are only available on the Comcast and Cox provided TiVo DVRs. Now TiVo is teaming with SeaChange, the leading providers of cable VOD head-end systems, to integrate cable VOD services into the CableCARD TiVo units. The language of the press release makes it sound like this may be aimed at providing an offering directly to cable MSOs, so that they can offer the TiVo units to customers in lieu of a standard cable DVR. Especially small cable MSOs who aren’t deploying tru2way, and therefore would be unable to use the software TiVo solution being deployed by Comcast and Cox.
“By teaming with SeaChange we are enabling cable operators without OCAP/tru2way deployment plans to increase the breadth and depth of their offering by quickly deploying TiVo set-top boxes that seamlessly integrate VOD in a single, intuitive TiVo interface,” said Tom Rogers, TiVo’s president and chief executive officer. “This solution also enables participating MSOs to take their on-demand offering to a whole new level by highlighting VOD titles within TiVo universal search results. And the beauty of this is that it can be achieved faster and at a lower cost than most solutions that have been available to cable operators to date.”
However, comments made by Tom Rogers at the Deutsche Bank Securities Media and Telecommunications Conference it sounds like this may be included in the retail products as well. Though I’d presume that it would only work with cable MSOs that are using a SeaChange VOD head-end. He also indicated that this would be a relatively short term development, though that’s relative in relation to other major development efforts.
The release explicitly mentions the TiVo HD, and doesn’t mention the original TiVo Series3, but that could just be marketing. The TiVo HD is the current product, and what everyone is focused on – and certainly what any cable MSO would be provided at this time. If it this feature is added to the retail products, and I hope it will, it could show up on the S3. I’m presuming that this implementation will use the Tuning Adapter, currently used for SDV support, to handle the upstream communication required for VOD/PPV as well.
No matter how it is implemented, this is a good thing. Once a working implementation exists, it tends to get a foot in the door, and hopefully more cable MSOs will sign on to support VOD on TiVo. After all, it is revenue for them.