Marketplace Discussions Lead to Development of New External Adapter That Will Ensure TiVo Devices Can View Switched Digital Channels without a Set-Top Box
The cable industry and TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ: TIVO), the creator of and a leader in television services for digital video recorders (DVRs), today announced that cable operators will next year introduce a new external adapter that will enable TiVo digital video recorders that use CableCARDs to access switched digital cable channels without a set top box, according to National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) President & CEO Kyle McSlarrow and TiVo President & CEO Tom Rogers.
The specifications for the interface to the new adapter were developed in discussions among cable operators, CableLabs, TiVo and other cable vendors.
By designing an adapter that allows TiVo’s CableCARD-enabled DVRs to view switched digital channels, the cable industry has once again demonstrated its ongoing effort to explore innovative technology solutions that balance customer demand for advanced services and network capacity constraints resulting from bandwidth intensive offerings, according to McSlarrow. With the adapter, he said, TiVo’s DVRs will be able to access all switched digital channels without a set top box. Switched digital allows cable operators to transmit channels to customers on an as-needed basis, and it provides cable operators more flexibility to deliver the interactive digital services, high-definition (HD) channels, broadband Internet and digital phone service that consumers are craving.
Switched digital technology will become even more critical as the February 2009 digital TV transition approaches and cable operators carry more HD signals — which will entice more viewers to purchase HD sets — and carry both a digital and analog signal of local broadcast stations, McSlarrow said.
“Today’s announcement is a major breakthrough resulting from marketplace discussions that provides benefits for consumers and cable operators,” McSlarrow said. “We very much appreciate TiVo’s willingness to work on a marketplace solution that will enable TiVo users to enjoy innovative switched digital services without the need for a set-top box.”
The new external adapter will attach to TiVo Series 3 HD DVRs and TiVo HD DVRs to ensure the DVRs can directly access all digital channels including switched digital cable channels. The adapter will work on any Unidirectional Digital Cable Ready Product (UDCP) that has a USB connector and necessary firmware. The cable industry is working with TiVo to ensure that installation of CableCARDs and the adapter will be easy and seamless for the consumer.
“We are gratified that the cable industry has agreed to work quickly to develop a solution that will enable existing TiVo CableCARD DVRs to directly access switched digital cable channels and ensure the adapter is part of an easy installation process for cable subscribers,” said TiVo’s Rogers. “We look forward to working with the cable industry in other ways to improve consumer access to cable services.”
Cable operators will make the new adapters available for TiVo customers in the second quarter of 2008. Cable operators and TiVo will work cooperatively to alert TiVo customers about availability of the new adapter.
“We’re strongly committed to ensuring that our subscribers who use CableCARD-enabled retail devices, including TiVo DVRs, have a satisfying and successful installation experience,” added Mike LaJoie, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Office, Time Warner Cable.
McSlarrow and Rogers said that cable and TiVo representatives are committed to continuing a dialogue to resolve any future technology issues that may arise.