Two years back, in March 2010, TiVo announced a deal with Conax“to offer a next generation DVB set-top box platform for deployment by television operators around the world.” The two companies planned to“put the TiVo experience, including its revolutionary integration of IP-delivered video into an off-the-shelf package that can be quickly and easily deployed by operators using Conax-certified platforms in Scandinavia, mainland Europe and India, among other geographies.” At the time Conax said that interest in the new solution was already high and the solution was expected to be available to operators in 2011.
Later, in November 2010, the first customer for the solution was announced – Telenor’s Canal Digital. (Telenor also owns Conax.) The plan was to introduce TiVo to Canal Digital Direct-to-Home (DTH) satellite customers in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. The announcement called TiVo“one of the key pillars” in Canal Digital’s strategy, calling it“the most compelling solution”. Christian Albech, CEO of Telenor Broadcast Holding AS, said“After considering many partners who could help us deliver this promise, we concluded that TiVo was head and shoulders above the rest.” TiVo again cited the deal during CES 2011 alongside their deals with Virgin Media in the UK and ONO in Spain. Virgin Media and ONO have since had successful launches, but nothing more has been heard about Conax or Canal Digital. So what happened?
Well, it seems that things may have not have gone quite so smoothly with Conax, and the romance might be gone with Canal Digital, according to this article from Broadband TV News:
[Director of digital product management at Conax, Tor] Helge Kristiansen admitted there had been difficulties with the March 2010 announcement that would have combined the Conax conditional access system with features from the TiVo platform. However, he said the co-operation remained were a suitable customer found.
Canal Digital had announced the launch of a TiVo product, but this has now been put firmly to one side, with neither side wanting to comment publically.
The article is primarily about Conax’s new effort to provide and end-to-end ecosystem so small operators. They’re working with middleware developer Cubiware and content management system provider MPS Broadband to provide all of the components. This would seem to offer an alternative to the integrated TiVo solution they’d been working on. But, as the article states, the TiVo option is apparently still on offer should a customer be interested.
I don’t think this is a major blow to TiVo, but it is a setback. Canal Digital is the largest satellite provider in Northern Europe, so having them deploy TiVo would’ve been a nice boost to subscriber numbers and another feather in TiVo’s cap. But having the largest cable operators in the UK and Spain, Virgin Media and ONO respectively, deploying TiVo is hardly a consolation prize. So TiVo’s doing quite alright, thank you very much.
I’ve emailed TiVo to see if they have any official comment.
EDIT: After I posted this I remembered something else, the Conax deal was also related to TiVo’s deal with Technicolor announced in May 2010. Technicolor was to port TiVo’s software to their DSI803 satellite DVR, and as the press release stated“The initial implementation is to support the initiative reported earlier this year between TiVo and Conax.” Given the work with Conax appears to be back burnered, and the Canal Digital deal is on ice, does that have implications for Technicolor’s porting work as well? Without a launch customer is the work proceeding?
Technicolor is the hardware provider for the recently launched DirecTV THR22, but it is hard to say if that has any bearing at all on the other work given DirecTV’s unique specifications and the different hardware involved.