Game of Thrones, A Song of Cable & Broadband

Dave Zatz —  June 13, 2013


After taking in the annual Cable Show, what struck me are the increasingly complex relationships – shifting and unpredictable alliances, enemies now friends, competitors snuffed… with the final chapters yet to be written. Much like HBO’s Game of Thrones. Beyond the corporate square dance, there’s clearly increased excitement surrounding TV Everywhere. So head on over to The Verge where I penned an article touching on these topics, including exclusive reveals of TiVo’s forthcoming web portal.

11 responses to Game of Thrones, A Song of Cable & Broadband

  1. i definitely think the web interface looks interesting. It definitely shows though they could build a desktop version of the iPad app if they wanted to. If anything it seems like it would be a good test since retail users could work out the bugs before rolling it out to MSOs as a web interface. I guess it is asking for too much.

  2. I assume the UI is HTML5-based as we know it is in the “proof of concept” streaming via the Roku and ActiveVideo’s cloud (but local) servers. Wasn’t offered enough time to dig deeper on either, sadly.

  3. Was one more responsive then the other? The video looks like it has a slight delay.

  4. The Roku TiVo UI responded more like you’d expect a set-top interface to respond, while this portal was more typical web page. I really wish I’d had more time with it, including launching videos. I did sneak a pic of the tve. URL ;) but expect it’s locked down.

  5. “At the Cable Show, an industry fights cord-cutting with technology”

    I’ll assume you didn’t write the headline over there.

    But, assuming that’s true, your headline is better.

    In a weird way, HBO, (or more precisely, Time-Warner), is the invincible hero fighting cord-cutting. Hell, they’re about to get onto Cupertino’s TV hobby box without paying the toll, which is sorta like hell freezing over. Content is the trump card in the battle to preserve the multicast. All the other content producing stakeholders in the multicast universe should be paying monthly tribute to Time-Warner for defense of the realm.

  6. No, I was stumped for a headline. Our original intent had been to weave Game of Thrones into the Verge piece, but it was difficult to carry the theme through a longer post than I typically write so we obviously nixed it. The RDK thing is real interesting and ties into that… here’s Comcast producing a platform (instead of say CableLabs) that their partners… and competitors are implementing. Then again are Comcast and Time Warner Cable really competitors if they serve different regions? (And why folks like Verizon weren’t present and aren’t members of the NCTA.) Plus prior press releases indicated TiVo’s TV Everywhere portal might be produced in collaboration with (Comcast’s) thePlatform. There’s definitely increased consolidation/partnering instead of every negotiating all the same rights, reinventing all the same wheels, etc.

  7. “here’s Comcast producing a platform (instead of say CableLabs) that their partners… and competitors are implementing”

    That solves a long confusion. Now I finally understand why Comcast never enabled HBO Go on Roku.

    Never made sense before, and now it does.


    Once I clicked through the link embedded there, I found this part of your piece quite fascinating: (It’s new to me!)

    “Not on display at a Cable Show booth or session, but a topic of discussion nonetheless, were related hints of further industry consolidation with players like Charter, Cablevision, and Time Warner Cable potentially coming together.”

    My first thought is that the DOJ wouldn’t allow that. My second thought was that Comcast has worked hard to have special powers with the current Executive Branch. My third thought was that the DOJ still wouldn’t allow that. My fourth thought was that I should be more cynical…

  8. TiVo CEO Tom Rogers’ was interviewed by Fox Business on 6/11. I think the exchange regarding TiVo’s frenemies is revealing.

    TK: Tom, your in Washington at the cable conference. When you walk up to Les Mundes, when you walk up to Brian Roberts, are they your friend or frenemy?

    TR: Very much friend. We have advertising relationships with CBS which has long found that buying our ad inventory is a way to get viewers to record shows that are new and make it part of their season pass menu is a great way for CBS to influence people. They buy our audience research which gives them a way of understanding who is watching on a very granular basis and than what those people buy.

    TR: Comcast and Brian Roberts has a key relationship with us. We’re the only way that a Comcast subscriber today can get all the great Xfinity traditional channels, video on demand and in addition get Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and those OTT content through the TiVo/Comcast offering. So we play a key roll with a number of major media companies. Very different than what your intro suggested.

    It will be interesting to see how TiVo’s relationship with the big boyz like Comcast and TWC evolve over time now that their patent litigation is resolved. I’m surprised he didn’t mention the integration with Comcasts’ ThePlatform for TV Everywhere.

    To watch the bloomberg video of the entire interview, here is a link:

  9. Eh, the big boys don’t really need them (beyond the IP licensing for the next few years) and are executing on their stuff is my hunch and TiVo chose the right strategy to serve the smaller cablecos here in the US. As long as a number of them stay independent, it’s probably good enough for the business should they continue to land potentially larger deals overseas … but is Virgin (yay) or Hybrid/Australia (boo) the more typical outcome? TiVo’s right to diversify and extend their analytics business and I assume they’ve got or will have other irons in the fire, especially with the big litigation behind them and a pile of cash. Also, with their patent portfolio, there could even be more suits ahead – I dunno, figure out how to go after Netflix… big money and the cable industry would rally behind them. I still wish TiVo had made a Blu-ray player… Just, for the love of God and Tebow, no more in-house television commercials.

  10. I think TiVo is pretty much done with litigation in the US since they’ve now either licensed or have partnerships with a large percentage of the MSOs. Moto and Cisco initiating their lawsuits essentially accelerated TiVo’s plans to cherry-pick each Tier 1 MSO one-at-a-time.

    Internationally, they will have problems enforcing their IP especially since the European Patent Office just revoked their Time Warp patent although TiVo is appealing. On the other hand, if they are able to win their appeal I could see TiVo going after some of the competition in some key markets. Patent litigation is less expensive and quicker in Europe.

    As sources at TiVo point out, their European business is based on offering one of the best advanced television experiences leading to higher customer satisfaction, lower churn, and improvements in metrics versus the competition.

    Any chance you will post anything additional about the Pace boxes and the Charter TiVo remote you tweeted about from the Cable Show?

  11. Well Comcast in the long term will be going cloud DVR. Simpler boxes in the home, things like unskippable commercials become doable, should be cheaper, etc. And they’re spending a lot of money developing it. Don’t hold your breath of course but TiVo’s chance of selling a lot of hardware to Comcast in the long term is near zero.