Apparently TiVo felt the same way that I did about a recent NY Times Gadgetwise Blog entry detailing the author’s difficulties in getting a TiVo Premiere provisioned with Time Warner Cable. The entry is typical of user complaints about cable MSOs making the process of getting a CableCARD painful, so as to deter customers from using them, and the associated retail device, encouraging them to use an MSO-provided STB. Well, TiVo decided to take the matter to the FCC, in a filing made Tuesday.
In it they “urge the Commission to intensify its oversight of the market for competitive navigation devices and its enforcement of its CableCARD rules”, and cite the blog entry – which is included with the filing.
Specifically, in light of a recent article by a New York Times writer (copy attached), TiVo urges the Commission to investigate whether the discriminatory conduct by cable operators that led to the reform of the Commission’s CableCARD rules continues today.
They go on to say:
The story recounts that the writer was first discouraged by Time Warner Cable’s employees from using a TiVo box and was instead encouraged to use the cable operator’s leased box. Next, the writer was not given the option to self-install a CableCARD, even though TiVo provides customers with clear and easy-to-follow instructions on self-installation. The writer was also told that he would be charged $14 a month more for using a CableCARD because he would lose his bundled service discount, effectively penalizing the consumer — instead of offering him a discount — for bringing his own retail navigation device. Based on the writer’s account, Time Warner Cable apparently is actively impeding the development of retail competition for cable set-top boxes contrary to the Commission’s policies.
TiVo therefore urges the Commission to engage in careful oversight of its CableCARD rules and investigate whether Time Warner Cable and other cable operators’ practices are consistent with the rules. While cable operators continue to attack the CableCARD rules as unnecessary, the reality is that retail navigation devices such as the TiVo Premier will continue to face an uphill battle as long as discriminatory cable operator practices continue. Indeed, the writer’s experience was that he felt very positive about the TiVo device itself and its enhanced functionality; it was the set-up difficulties and discriminatory CableCARD charges that left him ambivalent about endorsing using the TiVo Premier.
It is worth reading the whole filing, if you’re interested in such things as it is only a couple of pages, but I think those are the highlights. You’d almost think someone at TiVo read my blog, but it is more likely a case of great minds thinking alike.