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2006 TiVo-Comcast Box To Include HD Content

Comcast plans to heavily market its own version of TiVo by the middle of next year. The inclusion of HD would be among its key selling points for the largest MSO in the United States, according to TV Technology's current issue (April 18, 2005) "[TiVo] has a really terrific brand and great customer loyalty, and with our [Comcast] TiVo box, you will...have three components--DVR, VOD and HD--that you don't have now," a Comcast spokesperson said.

This future scenario could very well pit TiVo in competition with itself in Comcast markets by offering consumers its well-known (albeit, hardly ubiquitous) stand-alone product, as well as the new Comcast version to include HD. Comcast, too, plans to continue offering its current DVR service, along with the new TiVo version. New TiVo software will be developed exclusively for Comcast and incorporated into the dual-tuner, HD-capable DCT6412 Motorola STB.

Gary Arlen, a partner with consulting firm Alwyn Group (and a TV Technology columnist) told HD Notebook, "It's exciting to see these technological changes that are shifting the infrastructure of the industry." But he cautions that media providers have to keep their product relatively simple or else they're asking for trouble: "When you go to industry meetings, you notice all this new technology is being fought over as 'corporate survival issues'--not necessarily what may be most desirable by the customer."

Arlen uses the example of "the little iPod" being so ubiquitous today because of its ease-of-use. "If Motorola and Comcast, and TiVo and Comcast, want their product to succeed, they will have to make them seem invisible and seamless; they will have to make the viewer happy, and at the same time keep the programmer happy that his product is safe from [copyright] infringement."