TiVo, NCTA Team Up on Switched Digital

External Adapter Will Allow TiVo DVRs to Access Switched-Digital Channels Without Disrupting Functionality 11/26/2007 08:10:00 AM Eastern

Consumers with digital-cable-ready TiVo digital-video recorders will be able to access cable channels sent via switched-digital-transmission technology without requiring set-top boxes, TiVo and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association announced Monday.

TiVo Series3

Cable operators want to use switched-digital technology -- which transmits linear channels on an on-demand basis to individual subscribers -- to conserve bandwidth in their networks for more HD content and faster broadband service. But the interface to cable-ready DVR products from TiVo was a question mark.

Cable operators and equipment vendors have now worked with TiVo to develop an external adapter that will allow TiVo units to access switched-digital channels without disrupting their usual functionality.

“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 that the adapter is part of an easy installation process for cable subscribers,” TiVo president and CEO Tom Rogers said in a statement. “We look forward to working with the cable industry in other ways to improve consumer access to cable services.”

The specifications for the interface to the new adapter were developed in discussions among cable operators, Cable Television Laboratories, TiVo and other cable vendors. The adapter, which will begin shipping in the second quarter of 2008, will attach to TiVo Series3 HD DVRs and TiVo HD DVRs and will also work on any unidirectional digital-cable-ready product (UDCP) that has a universal-serial-bus connector and necessary firmware.

Cable operators and TiVo will work cooperatively to alert TiVo customers about availability of the new adapter and ensure that installation of CableCARDs and the adapter will go smoothly for consumers.

“Today’s announcement is a major breakthrough resulting from marketplace discussions that provides benefits for consumers and cable operators,” NCTA president and CEO Kyle McSlarrow said in a statement. “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.”

“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 officer at Time Warner Cable, in a statement.