Comcast Pulls TiVo Tighter

They’re not married yet, but Comcast’s relationship with TiVo is definitely becoming a bigger commitment.

The nation’s No. 1 cable company will make TiVo the “primary” digital video recorder option to customers in a yet-to-be-announced market, and this summer will allow TiVo DVR customers in New England to schedule recordings online, TiVo said last week.

Comcast is “enthusiastic about the TiVo results so far in New England, and they’re looking forward to launching TiVo soon in Chicago,” TiVo CEO Tom Rogers said in announcing earnings for the quarter ended April 30.

In addition, as part of Comcast’s all-digital transition, the operator “will soon present its customers with the option to use the TiVo HD retail box as an alternative to a digital adapter provided by Comcast, with details to be announced soon,” Rogers continued.

Currently, as part of Comcast’s Project Cavalry analog-reclamation initiative, analog basic customers who don’t want to upgrade to a digital tier receive a digital terminal adapter (DTA) that converts a lineup of digital channels into analog format.

Comcast senior director of corporate communications Jenni Moyer confirmed the details in TiVo’s announcement, but declined to provide additional information.

According to Rogers, Comcast plans to offer TiVo as the “primary DVR option going forward in a yet-to-be announced Tru2way market.”

The MSO launched support for CableLabs’ Tru2way interactive TV specification in Denver and Chicago last fall, and has committed to deploying Tru2way across its footprint by July 1.

The remote-scheduling feature, called TiVo Online Scheduler, will let Comcast customers with TiVo service and the operator’s high-speed Internet service manage and schedule recordings from any Internet connection. The feature will initially be available in Comcast’s New England market.

In other action on the cable front, Rogers called out TiVo’s partnership with SeaChange International to let small and midsize cable providers operators deploy TiVo DVR service while avoiding middleware investments such as Tru2way implementation.

TiVo also last week announced a deal with Evolution Broadband, a reseller of digital solutions to smaller cable operators. Evolution has already begun selling products to its first TiVo customer, Comporium Communications, an independent cable provider in Rock Hill, S.C.

Meanwhile, TiVo saw its revenue continue to decline, down 9.7% to $54.9 million for the quarter ended April 30, and swung to a $4.1 million net loss for the period compared with a net profit of $3.6 in the year-ago period.

Overall, TiVo subscriptions ended the quarter at 3.2 million, down from 3.8 million in the year-ago period. TiVo-owned subscriptions fell 5.6%, to 1.64 million compared with 1.74 million last year.