Cable-supplied TiVo boxes face streaming restrictions

Think it's easy to blend the Internet and cable TV? Think again, at least if you're Suddenlink, Cox Communications or RCN (Nasdaq: RCNI) and you're supplying TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO) Premiere DVRs to your subscribers.

According to Suddenlink, rights holders are using licensing clauses to prohibit subscription-based streaming content from being available alongside cable-delivered VoD offerings.

This means that TiVo Premiere boxes, which can and do receive Netflix Nasdaq: NFLX) content and will soon receive Hulu Plus, won't offer those services to cable customers who get their boxes from MSOs. This is a sticky wicket for TiVo, which has been counting on help from the cable industry. Right now, it's still cheaper to get a TiVo box from the operator--$15 a month as opposed to $20 a month from TiVo-but the restrictions might make it less attractive and more like existing DVRs supplied through normal cable boxes.

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