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TiVo gets shot in arm from another major US cable network

If the bad news for TiVo this week is that Microsoft is trying to get its DVRs banned from import into the US, in a case bought at the US ITC, the goo

By PETER WHITE

Published: 27 January, 2011

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If the bad news for TiVo this week is that Microsoft is trying to get its DVRs banned from import into the US, in a case bought at the US ITC, the good news is that Charter Communications has adopted the TiVo Premiere with a vengeance.

Charter is the fourth largest cable company in the US with 4.7 million customers and although TiVo has deals with larger companies at DirecTV and Comcast in the US, and Virgin in the UK, this still, potentially is one of its larger deals.

TiVo has signed a multi-year agreement with Charter to use the TiVo user interface on a cable OTT hybrid, built around its Premiere box, with Charter making a “significant commitment” to sell as many TiVo service deals as it can.

TiVo will be pushed by Charter at varying times in various markets this year, using TiVo's HD UI and will use both the Premiere, in multiroom and single room configurations, and non-DVR set tops with the TiVo software.

Later new devices, features, and third party applications will all be added and the whole thing will be powered by the company’s cloud based discovery, search, navigation and recommendation system. The system will take in linear TV, video on demand, Internet-delivered video and IP applications. This is probably the first time we have heard of the TiVo box being thought of as a base for a TV Apps Store. It’s been discussed as a music source, and offering VoD over the internet, and with all those cloud based video search services, but never as an TV App Store.

TiVo has been in a slump for some time financially, ever since DirecTV stopped making up around 66% of its service sign ups, back as early as 2004 and ever since it has been pushed to find enough direct sign ups to its service to eke out a meager profit. As OTT TV has become “de rigueur” during the past year or so, TiVo has stood out as the only business that understands how to tidy up internet content in the cloud and make it look just like another EPG TV option, but with an advanced UI. NDS is now coming into this business as well, and both are a big contrast to Google TV, which is still in its infancy in this area.

While it already had UI and research deals at Comcast and has gone on to renew some level of business at DirecTV, since adopting this strategy TiVo has also secured many brand new deals, including Virgin, Canal Digital and Ono in Europe and Cox, RCN, and Suddenlink in the US.

Tom Rogers, President and CEO of TiVo said, “We are thrilled to have been selected by Charter for its next generation video platform, which builds on the distribution momentum we saw throughout 2010 for our products. Charter's strategic direction is highly aligned with the way we see consumer entertainment demands evolving. We believe Charter is uniquely positioned to offer consumers a ground breaking video service combining the best of traditional cable television with the dynamic world of Internet delivered video.”

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