TVMAX to Launch Evolution Digital's TiVo HD DVR Offering

--Plans to Use TiVo Box's OTT Capabilities to Provide Customers with VOD

Evolution Digital--a division of Evolution Broadband, a reseller of digital equipment to independent cable operators--said last week that it is supplying TiVo HD DVR's to TVMAX, a regional cable operator that specializes in providing services to MDU's and that serves the greater Houston area. The company, which announced a similar deal with Canada's Compton Communications last week (see the article published in, December 16th), has a partnership with TiVo that sees it offering small and mid-sized cable operators TiVo HD DVR's as a platform for interactive TV and over-the-top services. Among other things, TVMAX plans to use the TiVo platform's various OTT content partnerships to enable it to offer something akin to a VOD service. Earlier this year (see the article published on, September 28th), Evolution revealed that it had abandoned a strategy based on tru2way headends and set-top boxes because the economics "simply don't add up" for tier-two and tier-three operators, telling Cable Digital News's Jeff Baumgartner that it now believes that broadband-connected HD DVR's from TiVo are a more cost-effective alternative than tru2way for smaller operators looking to launch advanced interactive TV services, even though it had lined up a number of overseas set-top box manufacturers to supply it with tru2way boxes. "Unless something changes dramatically, in terms of the economics and willingness of those that provide the hardware and software to accommodate the needs of a smaller system, we don't anticipate investing much more in tru2way," Evolution Digital president, Brent Smith, stated in an interview. "As it stands today, everything we've investigated suggests there isn't an economic solution to offer tru2way in markets below the urban centers."

Evolution says that TVMAX will be providing its customers with TiVO HD DVR's using Evolution CableCARDs powered by Conax Content Security: in May, the operator completed a transition to a 100% digital cable system based on Evolution DTA's and Conax encryption equipment. "TiVo is the most recognized brand of DVR in the world, making the TiVo HD DVR an important addition to our portfolio of set-top boxes," TVMAX COO, David Curtin, said in a prepared statement. "TiVo gives us a strong competitive advantage in the cable industry, with their advanced features including the world's largest selection of on-demand titles. TiVo provides us one single TiVo remote and interface to millions of broadband entertainment choices directly on the customers' televisions. This is a great way to approach new potential subscribers and introduce 'The New TVMAX' brand to them, not only highlighting our 400 channels, but leveraging the TiVo brand to expand within and beyond the multi-dwelling environment."

According to Evolution, TVMAX plans to deploy TiVo DVR's immediately to its current MDU customers, and also to offer current customers the choice of four $99 service bundles, each of which will include a TiVo box. The company says that it is supporting TVMAX in its roll-out of TiVo HD DVR's: "Evolution believes that the future of cable TV is in IP-delivered video content, and TiVo is the perfect platform to blend traditional linear programming with the enormous and ever-growing library of over-the-top IP video content," Evolution Digital president, Brent Smith, said in a prepared statement. "We are providing cable operators, like TVMAX, with tools such as marketing resources, training programs and material for both CSR and technicians, as well as the logistics tools, to help them deploy this next-generation video platform."

North America