Alviso, Calif. – Digital Video Recorder supplier TiVo said it will introduce next year an external adapter that will enable TiVo digital video recorders that use CableCARDs to access switched digital cable channels without a set top box.
TiVo said specifications for the interface to the new adapter were developed through discussions among cable operators, CableLabs, TiVo and other cable vendors.
Switched digital technology enables cable operators to squeeze many more channels into the bandwidth of their cable pipelines. The cable industry said the technology “will become even more critical as the February 2009 digital TV transition approaches,” and cable operators are required to carry both digital and analog signals of local broadcast stations.
Switched digital also allows cable operators to transmit channels to customers on an as-needed basis, and it provides cable operators more flexibility to deliver interactive digital services, high-definition (HD) channels, broadband Internet and digital phone service, according to a statement from the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA).
The new external adapter will attach to TiVo Series 3 HD DVRs and TiVo HD DVRs to enable access to all of a cable operator’s digital channels including switched digital ones.
The adapter will work on any Unidirectional Digital Cable Ready Product (UDCP) that has a USB connector and necessary firmware, TiVo said.
TiVo said it continues to work with the cable industry “to ensure that installation of CableCARDs and the adapter will be easy and seamless for the consumer.”
“By designing an adapter that allows TiVo’s CableCARD-enabled DVRs to view switched digital channels, the cable industry has once again demonstrated its ongoing effort to explore innovative technology solutions that balance customer demand for advanced services and network capacity constraints resulting from bandwidth intensive offerings,” stated NCTA president Kyle McSlarrow.
Cable operators will make the new adapters available for TiVo customers in the second quarter of 2008, TiVo said. Cable operators and TiVo will work cooperatively to alert TiVo customers about availability of the new adapter.