RCN to Launch TiVo Premiere Q & Preview in Washington, DC in mid-November

TiVo Logo Over on the DSL Reports forums RCN’s Sr. Director, Video Product and Video Operations, Jason Nealis has detailed their plans to roll out the TiVo Premiere Q quad-tuner DVR and the TiVo Preview non-DVR extender for whole home use. The plan is currently to begin deployment in Washington, DC in mid-November, expanding to additional RCN markets later. The roll out will occur in multiple phases, and initially only a bundle of a Premiere Q and a Preview will be available.

The rollout for the products will be done in phases. The first phase will be a TiVo whole home bundle. This package will consist of 1 RCN TiVo Q with 1 Preview. For a bundled price that has not yet been finalized.

You can then add on previews at a fee (yet to be finalized)

If you have a premiere and wish to KEEP your premiere and have it work within the BUNDLE for Multi-Room Streaming then that will be supported, You Premiere will drop to the price of a SECOND DVR in the home and that premiere MUST be hardwired to qualify. Then you premiere will become part of the Whole Home DVR family.

Again, MOCA is the engine that makes this run, the plan is that most Q’s installed will be hardwired to your router. If that can not happen then a ActionTec ECB (ethernet coax bridge) will be utilized to light MOCA throughout your home.

This is the scope of Phase 1 of the launch. Pricing should be finalized within the next couple weeks as well.

Phase 2 :

Preview in a standalone mode

Phase 3 : (Not approved yet) : Adding a Preview to your account
that has a Premiere.

RCN’s official policy is that all units must be hardwired via MoCA or Ethernet. They will not support WiFi, because, as Jason put it:“The reason is Multiroom Stream will not work over Wireless, It will suck.. Thus breaking up. pausing, kinda like trying to watch a movie over a analog modem connection.” I have to beg to differ, a good 802.11n network should be more than enough – average speeds are better than Fast Ethernet or MoCA 1.1. And a good dual-band 802.11n network should be excellent. Of course, I can see why RCN would take this blanket stance from a support perspective. Customers trying to stream over 802.11g or a poorly configured 802.11n network, will probably have trouble and it is too much to ask RCN to deal with. But what RCN doesn’t know won’t hurt them, I expect experienced users could setup an 802.11n bridge. It should all look the same to the box.

Jason also reports that the TiVo iOS app will work with the TiVo Premiere Q, but it will not work with the TiVo Preview. Since the Preview is a non-DVR STB which is really just a ‘Live TV’ tuner and a streaming receiver box, and the app is primarily about managing recordings that’s not a big surprise.

Still no word on when we might see a TiVo Preview at retail to go with the just launched TiVo Premiere Elite. I hope we don’t have to wait too long, the Preview would really increase the value proposition of the Elite. But, as we haven’t yet seen an application for a waiver, and the FCC would have up to 90 days to rule, I don’t think we’ll be seeing the Preview at retail this year. I don’t think it will be covered under the waiver issued for the Premiere Elite itself as it explicitly names the Elite. I’m planning to pick up an Elite, but I’d also pick up a Preview, maybe two, if available. Please TiVo, don’t make us wait too long. I know you might be concerned about networking issues impacting streaming, etc., but you’re already restricting sales channels for the Elite and requiring customer education. Surely you can do the same for the Preview. Make it happen. Soon.

In the meantime, RCN customers will be able to begin benefiting from the Preview in mid-November and I expect Suddenlink and even Charter will follow later in the year if they keep to their plans.

Thanks to Sam Biller for the heads up.

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