Well, TiVo doesn't have Wi-Fi built-in, and Virgin aren't a fan of customers having to wire-up their home network to TiVo, and as such are looking for a better way of connecting mobile control device (like the iPad and other tablets) to TiVo, instead of customers downloading the app and then realising that their router is nowhere near their TiVo:
And that poses a big challenge to operators - how can Virgin Media launch its fancy new app experience when it knows it will instantly disappoint thousands of consumers who can’t use it? And how does the company manage requests from customers who want its engineers to relocate their WiFi router or run extra cabling?Virgin's Nick Ontiveros (TV Strategy, Digital Entertainment) recently explained on the Help and Support Forums that Virgin are looking for a better way to connect TiVos to other devices while talking about the delayed arrival of multi-room streaming (here and here):
....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.
....With regards to wiring in the home, a lot of people just expect it to work over wi-fi, like AirPlay, or any other type of streaming video. I personally think that wiring people's homes is a really bad idea. It's not forward thinking at all, and the amount it will cost us in expensive CAT 5 will be for a solution that has a 2 year shelf life. The next standard of wi-fi (802.11ac) supports speeds of 500Mbps - it's just the way the market is moving.So, what options are open to Virgin? Well, there's Homeplugs which I'm a big fan of, and which the likes of BT Vision use in order to allow their customers to watch VOD content when necessary. Then there are Wi-Fi adapters which are available for the stateside TiVo Premiere. In theory, a Wireless N adapter should have enough bandwidth to stream MPEG 2 HD, let alone allow an iPad and a TiVo to chat to each other.
I agree that wiring will provide the best experience today, and certainly our solution will be adaptive to respect the customer's wants and take advantage of existing infrastructure, but we want to release a solution that is clean, customer friendly, and flexible. We also have to look beyond box-to-BOX streaming, and onto box-to-device streaming as well. We won't be able to do that with an all wired solution.
As Nick Ontiveros states, there's 802.11ac, but as a wireless standard its not expected to become standardized until later this year and would require new routers for Virgin's customers.
Meanwhile, the waiting continues. Personally I'd just allow Homeplug owners the option to use them, and the app, while developing an alternative solution. But then I don't run Virgin Media and that's probably a good thing.