Exclusive: TiVo Poised To Launch Cox On Demand

Via trusted sources, we’ve learned that TiVo is poised to launch Cox On Demand services… nearly five years after an announced partnership that many have assumed to be dead. So while the various players dicker over the capabilities and implementation of a CableCARD successor, TiVo once again strikes a deal to build a custom solution. I’m not sure what’s in it for Cox, other than avoiding the remaining couple years of TiVo’s Time Warp patent teeth. But we clearly know the value to TiVo — the DVR pioneer has previously indicated that retail sales and retention were higher within the Comcast footprint as Xfinity On Demand rolled out. (Granted, those regions had been bolstered by additional marketing.) Giving up “free” on demand content provided by one’s cable provider is often a sticking point before “going TiVo” – and Cox represents a sizable portion of TiVo’s addressable audience as the 5th largest compatible cable operator. Trust me, a large percent of my peers with children rely on On Demand, making a TiVo a non-starter in many cases. It’s yet to be seen if the new TiVo Cox On Demand implementation retains the dated Xfinity approach or goes with a more modern HTML5 front-end. Regardless, given Cox’s continued reliance on Switched Digital Video and over aggressive copy protection, Verizon FiOS is still probably the better choice… assuming you have one.

25 thoughts on “Exclusive: TiVo Poised To Launch Cox On Demand”

  1. Not sure where that screen grab came from, I’ve been using it for years. Did I mock it up or did TiVo create it? Hm.

    Forgot to mention in the post, but I’m not sure which TiVo platforms this will roll out to. If they have indeed modernized over the Xfinity approach, we should only expect to see this on Roamio, Mini, and Premiere.

  2. Hehe. Funny, because I was just about to call up and start complaining about this. Their press release back in the day said it was coming, so that would be false advertising. It took me quite a while to find it though. I was just in a cranky mood about Cox starting up the cap and charge for internet again. Mainly because I am under contract. Although, it probably won’t get here before my contract is up as they are starting in Cleveland… After my contract is up, I am probably going back to FiOS. The service is fine, except for the broken tuning adapters that still need a power cycle once a month. However, after my contract is up, my $80 bill will go to around $110. FiOS is currently offering the same services for $85… Hopefully that pricing stays similar.

  3. I can’t imagine Cox and TiVo would invest the resources to design this for a single market, tho they could roll it out in a staggered fashion. I don’t have any technical details at this point. The Comcast implementation is old – using the TiVo HME protocol and a Seachange backchannel approach. A possibly more efficient, more modern approach would be to leverage what these guys provide via app. But not sure the meta data exists that way to tie into search and OnePass.

  4. OnePass integration would be great, but I’m not really holding my breath we will see that. I got my hopes up 5 years ago with the original announcement, so hopefully this time they actually follow through and do a nationwide roll out.

  5. Maybe it’s because Cox finally has something on TiVo’s level. Contour 6 can record 6 shows at once and can do some of the things a TiVo can. So it’s not some god awful SA8300 HD box and stock software that forgets all of your settings whenever the power goes out or there is a software update.

  6. @Dave – while the Comcast HME/Seachange approach is old (and slowish and flaky), I think that it probably is better than a streaming app approach. As far as I know, it uses a dedicated channel/tuner so the video quality is that of TV rather than streaming and wouldn’t count in bandwidth cap (if you have one) – though I don’t know whether Comcast would count in-network bandwidth towards their cap.

  7. Agreed. But it’s not all or nothing. They can/should still move to a more modern HTML5 front end and keep the backchannel approach in play for control. I assume they will at some point as their cable operators, like RCN, have that same dated UI. I think the Xfinity Xbox app streams via the Internet side of the house, but they don’t count it against the cap because it’s not really the Internet so to speak.

  8. @Grant, FWIW, Comcast’s implementation is integrated with OnePass and it usually works very well.

  9. I agree with the integration being great. I guess it ties in together but the fact that the episode list shows whats available (another video source just like Amazon, Hulu, etc).

    I would say that it works well — if you don’t mind having to repeat the same step 2 or 3 times to get it to start. I get errors quite often (or other odd behavior — typically audio with no video) when trying to start up a video (especially if I haven’t used VOD in a while). Trying to start the same video a second time typically works fine and 100% of the time if that fails and I try a 3rd time.

  10. Has there been any rumored dates announced? Seems like 5 years between announcements and we may get something in the next century at this point

  11. Maybe it’s just me, but the gap would be less of an issue if TiVo had either (or both of):

    – Reasonable built in casting support (so you wouldn’t have to switch inputs to a chromecast or other streamer.
    – Built in HBO Go, Showtime Anytime, Starz Play, etc.

  12. Given TiVo’s new strategy targeting cord cutters and probably encouragement from cable partners like RCN, I’m sure they want it badly. Hopefully HBO is willing to play ball. Not sure if they’d ever do native casting versus DIAL into an existing app or app stub. They probably figure the upcoming Plex app will handle some of this for folks. Also, most of the wide open casting stuff is Android or computer-centric, versus iOS which TiVo seems to have prioritized over Android.

    Beyond HBO, I too would like Showtime Anytime (once they implement 5.1, anyway). ESPN would be another tent pole content streaming app. On the cord cutter front, Sling TV must be on their radar. Although, Channel Master’s DVR+ is produced by DISH sister Echostar – maybe they don’t want to deal…

  13. “Hopefully HBO is willing to play ball.”

    Well, a couple of points I’ve made before:

    – I emphatically don’t think the absence of HBO Go has anything to do with the wishes of Time-Warner. Were it up to them, I think HBO Go would’ve been on TiVo a while ago. But, as we all know, MSO-authenticated OTT services must be authorized by each MSO for every particular device. And the MSO’s are able and willing to discriminate against particular devices, even when they don’t have any visible strategic reason for doing so. With TiVo, they most certainly do have a strategic reason for not allowing HBO Go. So Time-Warner had zero reason to write HBO Go for what would’ve been an incredibly tiny audience of TiVo-RCN customers.

    – However, HBO Now has a strong potential to completely change the game, since the MSO’s are not in the loop. If Time-Warner writes an HBO Now client for TiVo when the Apple exclusive ends, then, all of a sudden, the situation fully reverses and it becomes in the strategic interests of the MSO’s to allow HBO Go for TiVo. In fact, that very scenario would be the motivation for Time-Warner to write an HBO Now client for TiVo in the first place.

    So, there is indeed credible hope. Just trying to clarify the mechanics of how we got here, and where we might be going.

  14. Multichannel has confirmed my news with Cox:


    The video will be sent over IP and requires broadband service, in addition to television — but the On Demand video transport will not count against a customer’s cap (much like Xfinity app on Xbox). I asked Jeff about potential OnePass integration and tweeted their PR guy — hopefully we’ll get more from Cox. I assume this has to be part of it…

    Initial deployment is slated for Orange County in early July, with other markets to follow.

  15. “Multichannel has confirmed my news with Cox”

    After all these breaking exclusives, I’d like to be the first to congratulate you on ZNF! being acquired by Fusion in an all stock deal!

  16. “Shoulda been an Apple blogger…”

    DOJ rejected the acquisition? Odd. I wonder what grounds they cited…

  17. Following on Gawker’s lead, I think ZNF! should be unionized. It’d make for a happier workforce, and thus a better takeover target.

  18. Can commenters unionize to extract revenue and benefits for their contributions? Additional expenses and demands reduce pool of suitors or IPO valuation, I’m thinking…

  19. “Can commenters unionize to extract revenue and benefits for their contributions?”

    Jeebus. You really need to talk to your HR chief. We’ve been unionized for almost two years now. ZNF! has been paying for my health insurance and a defined benefit (!) pension.

    My unionization suggestion was aimed at staff folks like you. Think how much more power you could have if you banded together with yourself. Worker of the world, unite!

  20. I read the cox ondemand via tivo will be based on/using the contour app security, Hope te include the choices available on th cable boes not just the watered down version offered via the contour app.

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