CABLE CONGRESS 2011 – LUCERNE. There is nothing like a common enemy to bring people together and whatever their strategies the cable industry can unite in a mutual hatred of Apple TV and Google.
For Tom Rogers, CEO of TiVo, the problem with the two over-the-top enablers is that they do not have a friendly outlook on who controls the customer and the revenue. “Google TV had a lot of expectations only a few months ago, and in the realm they do it in have done it quite well, but in bringing it to the television set they kind of lost track in the way Microsoft has done before.”
Rogers said when it came to cable operators – TiVo has contracts in place with both Virgin Media and Ono – it was necessary to knit yourself into the plumbing.
Giving delegates a glimpse of what TiVo might offer in the future, Rogers demonstrated a new social media application that highlights the programmes being watched by a customer’s friends on Facebook. Close friends could be highlighted so that their recommendations received extra prominence.
NDS CEO Dr Abe Peled disagreed with Rogers that operators would not be able to produce a customized look and feel to their system, pointing out a recent demonstration to the DirecTV CEO that had involved 14 different interfaces. “Spending capital wisely is particularly true in the cable industry when they are competing with deep pocked telcos,” said Dr Peled.
There was some praise for Google, Liberty Global CTO Balan Nair said he admired the search functionality on Google TV, though made it clear the Liberty board did not necessarily share the view. While Dr Peled said NDS used the Google remote in customer demos, in order to highlight the quality of the remote used for UPC’s Horizon boxes.