RCN Launches TiVo Premiere In D.C.

RCN launched the TiVo Premiere HD digital video recoder in the Washington, D.C. area, and says it's getting ready to launch the box soon in its other markets, including New York, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia.

The co-branded TiVo DVR from RCN is available with any bundle for an additional $19.95 per month. The operator also is offering a special promotion with the TiVo Premiere, digital cable with 192 channels and plus 10-Mbps Internet service for $89.99 per month for 12 months.

The Premiere DVR can record up to 400 hours of standard-definition programming and 45 hours of HD programming. The set-top, which had been code-named "Neutron," features an interface with a 16:9 aspect ratio based on Adobe Systems' Flash platform. TiVo began selling Premiere at retail in late March.

RCN is positioning the box -- which will become its standard HD DVR offering -- as a "one-stop-shop for entertainment." The DVR lets users search across TV listings, online content and RCN's video-on-demand library; watch YouTube; rent movies from Blockbuster On Demand; and access interactive applications including music streaming and photo-viewing applications. In late summer, RCN plans to add access to the Pandora streaming music service, Facebook and other services for TiVo Premiere customers.

"As the pioneer of triple play product bundling, RCN is proud to partner with TiVo, the pioneer of DVR technology, in this trailblazing relationship to offer our customers a feature-rich experience that will leapfrog us over our cable, satellite, and telco competition," RCN president and CEO Peter Aquino said in announcing the launch Tuesday.

More information on RCN's TiVo offering in D.C. is available at www.rcn.com/tivodc.

RCN is the first U.S. TV and broadband distributor to offer TiVo hardware to customers. Comcast offers a version of the TiVo software on Motorola set-tops, and the MSO said it is looking into porting the TiVo Premiere interface to cable's tru2way platform. Separately, DirecTV also is developing an HD receiver with TiVo.

Other features of the TiVo Premiere box include the ability to record an entire series with with TiVo's Season Pass Recordings; Wish List, which finds programs based on the user's interests and records them automatically; and remote scheduling via an Internet connection.

In addition, the set-top offers "TiVoToGo," to transfer shows from the DVR to a laptop or mobile device (if flagged as OK to copy by the content owner); multiroom viewing to watch recordings on another TiVo in another room.