TiVo (s TIVO) announced a deal today with cable provider Cox Communications that soon will place cable video-on-demand services alongside linear TV programming as well as online VOD choices. The deal will enable Cox subscribers to purchase TiVo Premiere DVRs through the cable company or at retail locations, but still hook the devices in to their existing cable services and get all the same VOD features available through their usual set-top box — and then some.
The Cox deal will be the first implementation to bring the full functionality of TiVo’s Premiere offering to cable subscribers. While TiVo has a deal with RCN (s RCNI) to make the TiVo DVR available as a premium option to its subscribers, the DVRs that subscribers receive are stripped of some online services such as Amazon (s AMZN) Video On Demand and Netflix (s NFLX), which are seen as competitive to RCN’s own VOD services. But Cox, while adding its own VOD offering, will leave those services intact.
That’s a big win for consumers, who will finally be able to take advantage of TiVo’s universal search capability. That feature lets consumers search for content they want to watch across linear TV programming, cable VOD and online services, surfacing content available across all three platforms and allowing them to choose on which service they want to watch it. Earlier this year, Cox announced similar functionality available in its own tru2way set-top boxes from Cisco (s CSCO), enabling universal search of linear, DVR recorded and VOD content in its integrated Trio program guide.
Unlike the RCN deal, Cox also has said it will support TiVo Premiere DVRs bought at Best Buy (s BBY) and other retail locations, as well as marketing the devices to its own customers. Cox said it will promote the TiVo DVRs on its website, through cross-channel advertising and direct marketing to its subscribers. But under the terms of its agreement with TiVo, Cox will provide free installation to subscribers that purchase the DVRs even if the sale is not made direct.
While the deal is a big win for TiVo, the timing for when Cox’s VOD service will be available is still unclear. On the TiVo website, the company says Premiere DVRs supporting the Cox service “will launch in select Cox markets at a later date.”
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