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RCN Extends Agreement With Rovi For Passport

RCN has renewed its agreement to license Rovi's Passport interactive program guide software, applications and television data.

Terms of the multiyear extension were not disclosed. The agreement will let RCN transition to Rovi-provided television data for more than 2.5 million programs.

Features in the latest Passport IPG include: high-resolution display graphics and fonts for Motorola DCT2500, DCT700 and other set-tops; automatic tuning to an HD channel when a consumer tunes to a standard-definition channel and an HD version is available; a "lost and found" feature to recover previously deleted DVR recordings; and new search and discovery capabilities.

RCN, through its "Analog Crush" project, has eliminated analog programming in its Boston, Chicago, metro Washington, D.C., New York and Pennsylvania markets so all video subscribers must have a set-top box to receive programming.

"In the highly evolving entertainment landscape, we understand the importance of providing our customer base with the best digital television offering available," RCN senior director of video product and operations Jason Nealis said in a statement. "This extends beyond the addition of HD channels and requires an advanced programming guide that can help consumers easily navigate, sort, select and record television programming."

Separately, RCN has announced an agreement with TiVo to offer co-branded HD DVRs that will provide integrated access to its video-on-demand library as well as broadband-delivered content. The operator is expecting to begin offering TiVo boxes to subscribers in the first quarter of 2010 for between $3 and $5 per month above its regular HD DVR fee.