The Cox-TiVo relationship is bad news for tru2way
TiVo's Premiere boxes don't use tru2way to enable interactive cable services such as VoD. Instead, TiVo uses an IP backchannel to set up the video sessions between the box and an MSO's on-demand platform and to supply metadata to the TiVo guide/search apps. TiVo has already completed that integration with SeaChange International Inc.
)'s Axiom backoffice, though SeaChange itself has acknowledged that nothing prevents other VoD vendors from mimicking that work.
Similar to TiVo's deals with two other cable ops -- RCN Corp.
) and Suddenlink Communications
-- Cox will also stitch its VoD system to TiVo using the IP backchannel approach. Cox expects to be fully standardized on the SeaChange backoffice by the end of 2010. (See Cox VOD Effort Matches Vendor Rivals
, TiVo: Cable Should Love It Some IP
, and Suddenlink Boxes Up TiVo Deal
The big difference, Klugman says, is that Cox will be supporting and provisioning the Premiere boxes customers purchase at retail. In comparison, the RCN and Suddenlink agreements call for the operators to buy those boxes directly from TiVo while retaining the billing and subscription relationship with the subscriber.
Cox has also agreed to foot the bill on expenses tied to truckrolls and other installation requirements for TiVo Premiere boxes. That also extends to special tuning adapters that Premiere boxes will need in order to view channels Cox delivers using switched digital video (SDV). For now, that requirement is limited to Cox systems serving Northern Virginia, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and a few other markets. Cox customers still have to pay Cox $2 per month to lease the CableCARD
required to authorize cable TV services. (See Everyone Hearts the Tuning Adapter!
and Policy Watch: TiVo, Cable Trade SDV Barbs
"They [Cox] won't leave the person's home until the tuning adapter is working, the VoD is working, the linear TV is working, and the CableCARD is working," Klugman says. "That is all part of the full installation experience, funded by Cox."
Although TiVo's Premiere box doesn't use tru2way, Cox has already outfitted all of its headends for tru2way. It's using a tru2way-based guide and boxes from Cisco Systems Inc.
) to back a premium video tier that includes a multi-room DVR. Cox currently has that service in front of "friendlies
" in two undisclosed markets (one based on Cisco's digital cable platform, the other on Motorola's), but expects to have it rolled out "extensively" by the end of 2010, according to Necessary. (See Cox Guides Tru2way Forward