Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Virgin Media Q3 2012 Results; 30% of customer base TiVoed; TiVo moving into the Cloud?; Sky Basics on TV Anywhere

The TiVo invasion of Virgin's TV Customer base continues
Virgin Media's Q3 earning results for 2012 revealed that 1.1 million TiVos are now sitting pretty within the Digital Cable Network. 202,000 TiVos were unleashed in Q3, meaning that 30% of Virgin's TV customer base has now been TiVoed.

As for the forthcoming (and much delayed but coming soon in a matter of weeks honest really) iPad app TV Anywhere, Virgin CEO Neil Berkett confirmed (during the conference call - full transcript at Seeking Alpha) that Sky Basic channels will be available for streaming to your PC/Mac, with the possibility of Sky Premium channels to follow:
It will launch with all of our – we have the PC and Mac rights for broadly all of our content. We don’t have quite that number of rights for the tablet. So, there will be some restricted rights. But it will include all of Sky basics initially. And we’re in conversation with Sky in respect to premiums and we’ll continue those conversations over the next six months as we look to renew our premium contract with them.
As for the future development roadmap for Virgin TiVo, its looks like its heading in the Cloud:
We have a roadmap and are in conjunction with TiVo. We represent a significant proportion of TiVo gross adds, well over half, and as such, we’re in constant conversation with them in respect to what the roadmap looks like. The roadmap does look like moving initially the UI to the cloud. The user interface to the cloud and then as we move into the world of DOCSIS 3.1 and further on, we’ll see – we’ll be moving the whole set-top box to the cloud in respect to storage and that will evolve, I’m quite comfortable that the pace in which we’re looking at that is consistent with our peers, if not ahead. Again, it’s why we chose the partner we chose.
The future home for your TiVo recordings?
This would be a huge upgrade for Virgin and TiVo. For instance, the age-old Virgin TV issue of an non-Dynamic EPG would be solved with a cloud-based EPG, which could be updated near-instantly when required remotely. User interface updates (and who knows, maybe even a complete HD interface!) would be far easier to implement.

Hopefully, Virgin and TiVo are thinking beyond a Cloud-based EPG - for instance, your Series Links and Wishlists could be saved into the Cloud, ready to reinstall on a replacement TiVo in case the old one develops a fault.

As for storage, that hints of a Cloud/Networked based PVR system, where every programme on every channel (or the vast majority of them) would be recorded at the national/local headend, ready for you to playback. If we briefly walk around the potential minefield called 'content rights', then one possible advantage of such a system would be infinite recording capacity, which would either replace or supplement the hard drive capacity within your existing TiVo.

Other advantages could include the ability to stream your recordings to any compatible device (without additional transcoding hardware such as the TiVo Stream), and other fancy tricks like the 'live restart' feature currently in use on BBC iPlayer. There's been talk of Apple jumping onto the Cloud-PVR bandwagon and several European Pay-TV platforms have already made that jump. Looks like Virgin Media are looking to join them with TiVo's help.

1 comment:

Wes said...

I think Virgin would need to improve the reliability of their broadband service drastically to rely on cloud storage of content such as recordings. I regularly have periods of unavailable on-demand and TiVo functionality due to broadband having a fault in the local area.

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