Sunday, 19 February 2012

Lockdown for Virgin Media's TiVo; Multiscreen rights; CAT 5-less streaming?

The streaming blockade continues for Virgin's Media's
implementation of TiVo
Compared to the TiVo Premiere, Virgin Media's implementation of TiVo is, shall we say, locked-down by comparison.

Premiere owners can remove channels from the EPG (and filter Wishlists in the process), enjoy multi-room streaming, transfer recorded content to their personal computers and have a wide selection of Over-The-Top content to watch from the likes of Amazon and Netflix. Virgin TiVo owners.....can't do any of that, but we do have The Walking Dead app so that's OK then.

One of the main reasons (if not THE main reason) for the lockdown of Virgin's TiVo is due to Virgin being a carrier of content - as such, they require content carriage rights and good relationships with content providers like Sky. TiVo don't have to worry about these issues for the Premiere which is sold at retail in the States, as Virgin's Nick Ontiveros (TV Strategy, Digital Entertainment) explained on the Help & Support Forums regarding the lack of multi-room streaming functionality:
It's not a question of the functionality on the software, it's the product solution and the rights - which isn't a license disagreement, it's a negotiation full stop.

For some CPs, these rights haven't existed before, and for others, they've learned their lessons after what happened with Cablevision and Comcast in the US last year. TiVo in the US gets to completely skirt the whole rights issue altogether because they are an add-on product and have no relationship with the content and carriage.

Multiscreen and particularly "multiroom" rights are evolving, and for a lot of our content providers this is new territory. We are hard at work to make big strides in the Entertainment Anywhere space, so it all falls under the same negotiating umbrella.
Also, Virgin hate the idea of their customers have to use network cables hooked up to their TiVo for multi-room streaming, and they're testing a better way to achieve that goal:
And the product - people hate wires, we've found, and not a lot of people have their TiVo right next door to their router. It's not going to help our customers win any interior design awards if we've got CAT 5 running through the home. We're testing through a better way to do it, so when we bring it to market it will be a finished product that everyone can use if they want it.
Personally I think Homeplugs are a great alternative to running CAT 5 cables through the home, but Virgin appear to have other ideas and it will be interesting to see what (if anything) they come up with.


Lee Atkinson said...

I wouldn't be too surprised if Virgin finds a way of looping-back the dedicated network link that TiVo has a way to connect TiVos together.

Either loop back at the cabinet, but more probably at the head-end.

Chris_c81 said...

Wouldn't be surprised if Virgin commissioned Netgear to make some Virgin branded versions of their home entertainment RJ45 adapters. Little adapter that plugs into your devices RJ45 connection, effectively turning it into a wireless piece of equipment. Wouldn't be the first time Virgin and Netgear teamed up.

Phill said...

"It's not going to help our customers win any interior design awards if we've got CAT 5 running through the home."

I don't think having virgin media cables tacked along the walls will help win any design awards, but that does not seem to stop them!

As for me, I ran all the cables in the walls, including copious amounts of cat5, so why should I be allowed to do this?

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