TiVo to power Virgin Media’s future set-tops

UK cable operator Virgin Media has announced that DVR specialist TiVo will develop its next-generation TV platform.

TiVo will become the exclusive provider of middleware and user interface software for Virgin Media’s next generation set-top boxes, while Virgin Media will become the exclusive distributor of TiVo services and technology in the UK.

The cable operator said the platform will offer “a superior television viewing experience which will allow Virgin Media customers to search and discover content through major advances in video-on-demand integration and broadband video delivery.” It anticipates its first TiVo co-branded product to be available in 2010.

Virgin Media’s existing set-top boxes run Liberate middleware, now owned by SeaChange International, which also provides the operator’s video-on-demand platform.

The deal comes as TiVo attempts to stem the tide of falling subscriber numbers. It lost 314,000 net subscribers during the quarter ending October 31, giving it a total of 2.7 million subs, compared with 3.5 million a year earlier. TiVo’s quarterly net revenue was down 11.8% year-on-year to US$56.9m (€37.8m) and it posted a net loss of US$6.7m. The DVR specialist is seeking new revenue streams by licensing its technology to
pay-TV operators, including DirecTV and Comcast.