Looks like the FCC’s possibly antiquated analog compatibility requirement has led TiVo to out the retail version of the quad tuning Premiere Q, that was recently announced at The Cable Show. From TiVo’s June 7th FCC filing:
TiVo Inc. (“TiVo”) is prepared to bring to the consumer retail market an exciting new four tuner, all-digital digital video recorder (“DVR”) that promises customers increased recording capability, increased capacity (300 HD hours), reduced power consumption, and a space-saving design. This device – the Premiere Elite – will provide a new option for consumers that currently can obtain an all-digital DVR only from a multichannel video program distributor like their local cable operator. TiVo already is taking orders for a version of the Premiere Elite from cable operators for deployment later this year to customers served by digital cable systems, but TiVo also seeks to offer it directly to consumers served by such systems.
To bring retail consumers the Premiere Elite, however, TiVo requires a waiver of the Commission’s “Digital Cable Ready” certification, marketing, and labeling rules (the “DCR Rules”). Under the current rules, CableLabs cannot certify, and TiVo cannot verify, a unidirectional cable product (“UDCP”) such as the Premiere Elite for retail sale unless it includes ananalog tuner. This requirement made sense when it was proposed and adopted years ago, but today it threatens to stifle innovation in the navigation devices market by preventing companies like TiVo from serving customers that receive all their programming in digital format and have no need forlegacy analog tuners. Maintaining an analog tuning requirement for the TiVo Premier Elite would increase production costs and the price to the consumer by $80-100, increase the device’s power consumption by one-third, and increase the device’s size in an electronics market where reducedsize often influences consumer decisions.
So there you have it. Timing would be dependent on a number of factors, most importantly a waiver by the FCC. Also, TiVo acknowledges the challenges I foresaw in terms of sales venue and marketing of a DVR that handles only digital cable:
TiVo will market the Premiere Elite primarily to customers that subscribe tocable systems that offer all their services, including basic tier signals, in digital format, i.e., to subscribers to all-digital cable systems and systems that offer adigital simulcast of their analog signals.Second, to avoid any customer confusion, TiVo plans to market the Premiere Elite primarily through its custom install, high-end retail, and TiVo.com channels. Custom installers are highly trained and will verify that customers have all digital service or digital simulcast service before recommending the TiVo Premiere Elite. TiVo also will train its high-end retailers (e.g., Magnolia) to ensure that customers have all-digital cable or digital simulcast service before selling them a Premiere Elite model.
TiVo expects a response from the FCC within 90 days of the filing. Which would give them enough time to get this into retail before the holidays. But, don’t take my word for it. Check out the doc below:
(Thanks for the clue, Davis!)