Thank Tom Rogers. The former NBC Cable head was appointed to TiVo’s board as vice chmn in Oct to get a cable deal. He succeeded Tues with the PVR maker’s surprise pact with Comcast, a pact that probably saved TiVo’s bacon. Comcast and TiVo will develop a version of the well-branded PVR service that will run on legacy DVR units. Although Comcast offered little on branding or financials, it’s expected subs will pay a premium above and beyond generic DVR service. Motorola wasn’t mentioned in the announcement, but the vendor supplies nearly all of Comcast’s DVRs. Just last week, Comcast agreed to buy $1bln of Moto boxes and said it would create 2 joint ventures with the vendor to develop and license conditional access. Motorola’s Paul Alfieri called the TiVo a real boon as "anything that grows demands for DVR is a good thing." — As a pure software play, TiVo functionality, including its "WishList" feature, will begin to be offered to Comcast DVR subs mid-to-late ’06, primarily as a push from the head-end. — Rogers hinted the non-exclusive Comcast deal needn’t be TiVo’s only go-round with cable. "When you do a deal with the largest cable op it’s very helpful in opening up other doors in the industry," he told the AP. — Most analysts were giddy about TiVo’s prospects, although Janco Partners’ April Horace wasn’t. The Comcast deal could serve to bring a premature end to TiVo’s already strained relationship with partner DirecTV, Horace said. "Risks associated with unknowns with Comcast" left Janco "unsold." Shares of TiVo predictably skyrocketed, closing up whopping 75% (+$2.87) to end the day at $6.70.

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