SeaChange International and TiVo have joined forces to offer cable VOD services through TiVo HD DVRs that can support CableCards.

The offering is being touted to cable operators as a way to get more revenue from their VOD content without having to wait for tru2way. Using TiVo’s electronic program guide (EPG), subscribers can search for VOD content.

Video still gets delivered over QAM multiplex, but broadband is used to set up streaming sessions and for trick-plays such as pausing, rewinding and fast-forwarding, said Kim Wilson, director of product management with SeaChange.

"We’re leveraging the fact that the TiVo box comes with home network connectivity," said Wilson. "You can use a broadband connection as the return path.

"In a standard cable box, you have a low bandwidth return path supported on the box," Wilson explained. "Cable operators are reluctant to have an application that would have access to the return path. TiVo provides an alternative hardware platform and award-winning user interface."

Even though tru2way promises much more interactivity, including advanced advertising and TV commerce, there are numerous elements to make the technology work, including headend components, set-top boxes and applications. Mass deployment of tru2way is expected to take at least another year, maybe two.

Wilson said interest in the SeaChange/TiVo product is coming mainly from tier 2 operators. "The tier 1s have fairly mature tru2way plans; they’re pretty far down that road," he said.

– Linda Hardesty

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