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External adapter unites TiVo, Cable TV

Posted: 01 Feb 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:external adapter? TiVo? cable TV?

Cable operators will introduce an external adapter this year that will let TiVo's CableCard-enabled digital video recorders (DVRs) access switched digital cable channels without an STB, according to TiVo and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

The specifications for the interface adapter were developed in discussions among cable operators, the CableLabs R&D consortium, TiVo and other suppliers, said NCTA president and CEO Kyle McSlarrow and TiVo president and CEO Tom Rogers.

Demand and capacity
By designing an adapter that allows CableCard-enabled DVRs to view switched digital channels, McSlarrow said the cable industry has demonstrated its commitment to explore technology solutions that balance customer demand for advanced services with network capacity constraints resulting from bandwidth-intensive offerings. With the adapter, he said, TiVo's DVRs will be able to access all switched digital channels without set-top equipment.

Switched digital allows cable operators to transmit channels to customers on an as-needed basis and provides cable operators more flexibility to deliver interactive digital services, high-definition (HD) channels, broadband Internet and digital phone service. The technology will become more critical as the February 2009 DTV transition approaches and as cable operators carry more HD signals, "which will entice more viewers to purchase HD sets," McSlarrow said.

Seamless installation
The external adapter will attach to TiVo Series 3 and other HD DVR models to ensure the recorders can directly access all digital channels, including switched digital cable channels. It will work on any unidirectional digital-cable-ready product (UDCP) that has a USB connector and the necessary firmware. The cable industry is working with TiVo to ensure that installation of CableCards and the adapter will be 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 expect to make the adapter available for TiVo customers in the second quarter. The operators and TiVo will work cooperatively to alert TiVo users to the offering's availability.

Mike LaJoie, EVP and chief technology officer of Time Warner Cable, said his company is "committed to ensuring that our subscribers who use CableCard-enabled retail devices, including TiVo DVRs, have a satisfying and successful installation experience."

- Dennis Barker
EE Times

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