Comcast says rolling out TiVo-enabled boxes

NEW YORK Thu Oct 11, 2007 6:11pm EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O), the largest cable operator in the United States, and TiVo Inc (TIVO.O) said on Thursday they have started rolling out TiVo- enabled Comcast digital video recorders in New England.

The companies said in a joint statement that the service will be rolled out to customers over the next few months.

The service had already undergone trials with Comcast employees for several months.

TiVo, which makes its own branded digital video recorders, first signed an agreement with Comcast in March 2005 to enable the cable operators' customers to use TiVo software on their Comcast boxes. But the launch of the service has taken longer than analysts expected as both companies worked out how to integrate TiVo software with some models of Comcast set-top boxes.

The boxes in the New England region are predominantly Motorola Inc-made MOT.N set-top boxes. Both companies have already signed development agreements to work on integrating TiVo software into other makers' boxes such as Scientific Atlanta, a unit of Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O).

Comcast, which has over 24 million subscribers, will be the first U.S. cable operator to offer a TiVo interface service. Privately-held Cox Communications, also signed a deal with TiVo in August 2006 to offer a similar service to its customer this year.

TiVo has traditionally made its own DVR boxes integrated with the TiVo software and user interface, but the company has been diversifying its business model to offer its software to cable and satellite partners to gain access to more pay-TV subscribers.