WOW!'s latest TiVo-powed deployment provides showcase of hybrid set-top of the future

Is the latest set-top deployment by WOW Internet, Cable and Phone a model of pay-TV set-tops to come?

That's the suggestion of Tom Elam, who heads TiVo's North American cable operator efforts. TiVo's software powers the Evolution Digital-manufactured client boxes that serve as the backbone of Wow's "eBox" cable service. 

The hybrid IP/QAM set-tops contain no hard drive are capable delivering both linear cable TV and OTT video. Down the road, they can used as clients to any cloud-based services offered by WOW!

"That box can be deployed as an HD set-top box, or a zapper class of box," Elam said in an interview with FierceInstaller. "That same hardware, with a set of configurations changed, can be a client in our multi-room DVR. And as an operator moves to a cloud content strategy, it can be a client to a cloud DVR."

Initiatives like this could enable WOW!, other MSOs and IPTV providers to potentially cut CPE installation costs by enabling consumers to install set-top boxes devices themselves in their home. As a result, service providers could cut capital costs by not having to roll a truck to a customer home to install and troubleshoot a device. 

"One of the things that we're really trying to help the North American operators with -- and the biggest challenge that they have -- is the CPE cost and the operating cost of installing it and supporting it has been one of the most expensive pieces of the business," Elam added. "We're trying to really address that with our software strategy."

The eBox, Elam also said, represents an evolution in strategy for TiVo, which says that has only manufactured 60 percent of the MSO set-tops in the U.S. powered by its software. That number will continue to trend down, he added.

Elam said to expect more announcements about TiVo powered hybrid set-tops in the coming months. 

For more:
- read this TiVo release

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