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Cable Show 2012: TiVo Omits Full Slingbox-ing from 'TiVo Stream'

Boston — It’s not a Slingbox, but TiVo is promising to let its MSO partners deliver live TV and DVR recordings to tablets, smartphones and PCs throughout the home — and “sideload” certain content to take it to go — with the new TiVo Stream device (see TiVo Streams TV To Tablets, Debuts IP Set-Top).

The TiVo Stream box uses transcoding silicon from Zenverge, to deliver up to four concurrent streams from the four-tuner Premiere Q DVR, said Jeff Klugman, TiVo senior VP and general manager of products and revenue. The device is similar to the Motorola box Comcast is using for AnyPlay, but that’s limited to one stream.

But TiVo specifically excluded Slingbox-style Internet streaming from the device, to avoid raising any issues with programmers who might object to the feature. “If we get comfortable that the content owners are comfortable with it, we might consider that,” Klugman said.

TiVo Stream does allow sideloading to mobile devices, to take DVR content on an iPad, laptop or other device.

However, programming flagged “copy once” will not be sideload-able, Klugman noted. Typically, premium cable networks like HBO do not allow multiple copies of their content: “For that, you’d need to go to HBO Go or iTunes,” he said.

TiVo is working with its four U.S. MSO distribution partners — Charter, Suddenlink, RCN and Grande Communications — to deliver the streaming device and an IP-client box for second TVs in late summer, Klugman said. TiVo will follow with retail versions of the products, with pricing to be determined.

Eventually, TiVo expects to embed transcoding features directly into its DVRs, in products to be released in 2013, Klugman said. The company hasn’t divulged what transcoding technology it would use for that.

Meanwhile, TiVo is working with two specific U.S. MSO customers to develop the six-tuner Pace XG1 gateway; Klugman declined to identify the customers.

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