Some cable companies apparently are realizing that the best way to combat over-the-top video is to add OTT capability to their own offerings, as evidenced by TiVo’s announcement yesterday that Charter Communications plans to offer a DVR from TiVo that incorporates OTT along with traditional cable functionality.
“We’re integrating formerly disparate worlds of traditional television and online content, and making it simple for customers to quickly find the content they’re looking for, as well as greatly expand their entertainment choices,” said Charter President and CEO Mike Lovett in the announcement. “Our strategic relationship with TiVo is a significant step in Charter’s multi-year effort to become the solutions provider for home entertainment and consumer information technology. With our superior IP infrastructure, we’re leading the way with TiVo to create a user-friendly entertainment experience that leverages an open standards platform to enable IP content and bring a whole new world of applications to the television.”
The new TiVo platform will let Charter subscribers use traditional TiVo discovery, search, navigation and recommendation capabilities for both Internet-delivered and traditional cable content. The initial version of the product, scheduled to be available to Charter subscribers this year, also will support:
- multi-room functionality, enabling a user to begin watching a program in one room, pause it and recommence viewing in a different room
- the ability to access local news, sports and weather, as well as Facebook and Twitter updates from the TV
- support for an application that lets an iPad serve as a TiVo remote control
- remote management of recording schedules from the Web or a mobile phone
- the ability to transfer photos and movies from a PC for viewing on the TV set or on a laptop, media device or smartphone
- WishList searches that find and record suggested programs based on customers’ interests
In addition Charter and TiVo said a “non-DVR” platform is planned for release at a later date. What that might mean is unclear, but it could be a cloud-based offering. The cable industry has been seeking alternatives to traditional hardware as a means of improving the economics of its service offerings.
Charter did not reveal pricing details for the new TiVo product, making it impossible to predict how popular the new offering is likely to be. But if the companies can indeed seamlessly integrate OTT and traditional video, the new offering would appear to have strong market potential.
TiVo’s deal with Charter does not appear to be exclusive, which means other cable companies also could launch similar offerings.