TiVo CEO Rodriguez ‘confident’ Comcast will come to heel

TiVo Bolt DVR
TiVo said it is now officially out of the retail set-top business. (TiVo)

Describing Comcast as an outlier among major pay TV operators for refusing to pay intellectual property licensing fees to TiVo, Enrique Rodriguez, president and CEO of the tech vendor, said the court battle with the top U.S. cable company remains a “top priority.”

“I am confident that Comcast will ultimately be licensed to use our intellectual property for the benefit of their business and their consumers,” Rodriguez said during TiVo’s first-quarter earnings call yesterday.

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TiVo reported IP revenue of $73 million for the first quarter, down 20% from a year prior. Overall, TiVo generated $189.8 million in revenue for the quarter, down 7.7% from the first quarter of 2017.

The company is battling Comcast in court, claiming the cable operator uses TiVo patents in its X1 video platform. Comcast has said TiVo’s patents are obsolete and that it now develops most of its X1 technology in-house. 

The TiVo brand got mixed up in the patents game several years ago, when the company synonymous with DVR set-tops was purchased by Rovi for $1.1 billion.

In its current iteration, TiVo is now officially out of the business of making set-tops, with the company announcing a deal with a third-party device maker Thursday.

“We have signed on a major device manufacturer as our direct-to-consumer box partner. This partner will take over retail sales outside of TiVo.com, namely through Amazon and Best Buy,” Rodriguez said. "Once we complete this transition, we still will have direct consumer hardware sales through TiVo.com which we will be fulfilling through this box manufacturer.” (The comments come courtesy of a Seeking Alpha transcript.)

Rodriguez also said that user interface “TiVo Experience 4” is now available for the MSO market. 

“We believe the TiVo Experience 4 is the best video discovery solution in the market and will be the catalyst for conversions from legacy Rovi guides to the higher functionality and feature rich TiVo experience,” he said. “As announced on the year-end call, Service Electric selected TiVo’s Next-Generation Platform to power their IPTV solutions with plans to convert legacy Rovi guides in their footprint to the richer feature set and higher ARPU TiVo Experience 4.”

“Additionally, RCN has agreed to deploy the TiVo Experience 4 to their customers and they will also be TiVo’s first ever deployment of an IPTV solution on the Android TV platform,” Rodriguez added.