A few months ago a commenter in the TiVo community forum posted an entry where he said that he had received a survey from Cox Communications on whether or not he would return to Cox from satellite, if they offered him access to TiVo’s softward. Once he posted the link to the survey, I’m sure it pretty much made the survey useless as thousands of TiVo devotees answered the questions with great enthusiasm, but his noting the survey was was enough to spark speculation in the blogosphere that the two were in serious talks about adding TiVo’s functionality to Cox DVRs. After a few months of analysis it appears that Cox has now determined what TiVo fans have known all along, that TiVo is amazing and it adds to customer satisfaction. In an announcement made this morning, TiVo and Cox has made their partnership official and Cox will be officially supporting TiVo on all of their DVRs. The program is slated to start being rolled out to select cities in the first half of 2007.
Customers will be able to simply download TiVo’s software directly to the box that they already rent from Cox and they will immedietely begin to enjoy the benefits of being able to have an intelligent season pass that can distinguish between repeats and new shows, be able to use TiVo’s suggestion algorithms that help you find new programming and will have access to TiVo’s trademarked wishlist searches.
TiVo’s suggestions have always been my favorite feature of TiVo and while the suggestions don’t always match up exactly, I am hoping that when they release the series 3 that their will be an update to the algorithm that they use. Over the life of my series 1 TiVo, I’ve found so many great shows just because TiVo lets me share my show preferences with them and then customizes the programming to my tastes as long as I have room on my box. Without TiVo’s suggestions I would have never have seen the Jamie Kennedy Experiment, Alias or one of my personal favorites, Cheaters. The wishlists have also been a great feature as well and I’ve used them to have TiVo automatically record my favorite bands whenever they were on different late night shows as well as to tell TiVo to record every Laker game, but none of the Warriors games (Go Lakers!).
This is really great news for Cox subscribers and the deal comes at a time when Echostar may soon be losing all DVR functionality. I somehow suspect that all along Cox had intended to go in this direction, but the latest order to disable the Dish DVRs may have played a role in the timing of their agreement. Cox currently has a little over 7 million customers but due to two acquisitions will soon add another 3 million customers to this list. With 10 million potential Cox customers, 15 million potential DirecTV customers, 14 million potential customers through the National Cable Television Cooperative and with 22 million Comcast subscribers, this will soon make TiVo directly available (no IR blasters!) to over 61 million households in the US.
TiVo has had trouble gettting access to the cable companies for a long time and whether it is the approaching cable card ready series 3 or their current partnerships, it is becoming increasingly easier and easier for consumers to now get access to TiVo’s software. With Echostar now being forced to look differently at how they negotiate with TiVo and with other cable operators becoming more nervous about TiVo aggressively defending their patents, it may only be a matter of time when Time Warner and Dish also make their own agreements.