Comcast has started to roll out software updates to New England customers, turning their Motorola set-top boxes into nearly full-fledged TiVo machines. Cox is planning to follow suit in its Rhode Island and Connecticut coverage areas, and is currently running through technical trials. TiVo is busy talking to other cable operators around the country, and the new distribution channels should make the DirecTV defection a distant memory soon enough.I think that last point may be true eventually, but we're still a ways off from usable on-demand programming. And it seems like licensing issues are going to get in the way of making it easy to do for a while too. In any case, Tivo's in a pretty good position if they have their own subscribers and now also subscribers of some major cable companies.
All is not wine and roses for TiVo, despite all this good news. The DVR might become a footnote in entertainment history if video on demand ever becomes all that it can be. Who needs to mess around with recording schedules when everything is available on a moment's notice, at your convenience? That's yet another reason for TiVo to look deeper into the software sector,and apply its considerable interface expertise to the VOD market. That breaking point is still years away, though. Stay tuned.