TiVo appeals to FCC for SDV fix, but cable, Verizon, vendors think it's not needed

TiVo wants the FCC to impose new rules on the way cable implements switched digital video (SDV) so its set-tops and DVRs can more easily (and inexpensively) interoperate with cable networks. According to a back-and-forth looking by Light Reading Cable's Jeff Baumgartner, TiVo figures as long as the FCC is re-thinking the whole CableCARD issue, it might as well require cable to adopt an IP backchannel. Cable doesn't see the need and is happy enough with its own Cisco-built tuning adapters.

TiVo's claims, at least on the surface, are mainly economic. Tuning adapters, deployed in bulk, are more expensive than an IP backchannel, the company claims. Cisco, which has a financial stake in this as well since it's already shipped 42,000 tuning adapters and expects to ship 35,000 more, said TiVo is underestimating the cost of a backchannel approach and in the end it would be more expensive than tuning adapters. The cable industry, for its part, stayed away from economics and said the backchannel plan could open the door for possible service theft.

The ever-busy FCC is expected to sort out the whole thing and come up with something new on CableCARD later this year.

In other TiVo news, the DVR maker has gone overseas and inked a "strategic partnership" with Spain's biggest cable operator, Ono, which will use its fiber optic network and the "TiVo user experience" to, in the words of a TiVo news release "a seamless convergence between Internet and traditional television content."

For more:
- see this story
- and this news release

Related articles:
Congressmen question need for new set-top rules
The federal docket: FCC gets busy on gateways
The set-top box: it's more than a channel changer, that's for sure

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