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FCC Grants Tivo Waiver From Analog Tuner Mandate

The FCC said Monday it
will allow Tivo to sell more digital-only devices.

The commissioner
granted the company a waiver, which was unopposed, of the FCC's analog tuner

TiVo had argued that
having to include an analog tuner in its set-tops increased power consumption
and price to little net consumer effect. The FCC agreed, saying that it would
help TiVo provide consumers a more competitive retail alternative to cable-leased
devices--the FCC has for years been trying to increase retail competition to
cable set-tops.

In addition, there
is already a TV set analog tuner mandate still in place, which means any set a
TiVo is connected to can display analog broadcast or cable channels, the FCC
pointed out in granting the waiver.

The waiver is
conditioned on TiVo clearly informing consumers of the limitations of the
box--that it cannot receive analog broadcast or cable channels, or in some
cases broadcast channels period.

The FCC back in 2011
granted TiVo a waiver of the all-channel tuner mandate for its Premiere Elite
product line of digital-only tuners on the same grounds and with the same
consumer info requirement. In February 2014, TiVo asked for the waiver for
other DVRs as well. It pointed out that cable set-tops are not required to have
analog tuners, that all full-power broadcasters only braodcast in analog, and
that the broadcasters still broadcasting in analog--some low power and
translator/booster stations--would have to discontinue those by Sept. 1, 2015 at any rate.

TiVo also argued the
waiver would help further the FCC's policy of promoting device compatibility
since its DVRs are compatible with digital cable service.

"We find good
cause to grant TiVo's request for waiver subject to TiVo's continued commitment
to consumer education about the capabilities and limitations of TiVo's
devices," said the Media Bureau in granting the waiver. "Waiving the
analog tuner requirements will have a de minimis effect on consumers because
the television sets to which TiVo's products connect are required under Commission
rules to have analog tuners that TiVo customers can use to receive any analog
broadcast or cable channels that they wish to receive."