How does Comcast Work With a TiVo Box?

By John Arkontaky

TiVo DVRs can record programming and stream movies, music and movies.
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While older TiVo's can be hooked up with Comcast cable service for limited functionality, high-definition (HD) TiVo digital video recorders (DVRs) are fully compatible with Comcast cable service. Customers who want to use a TiVo with Comcast service can do so in two ways. They can buy a TiVo HD or TiVo Premiere and have Comcast install a CableCARD into the TiVo box, or they can sign up for a Comcast TiVo box that comes as part of Comcast's Triple Play package.

Non-HD TiVos

The Series1 and Series2 TiVos cannot record in HD quality, but can record television programming from Comcast in standard definition. To use these boxes with Comcast service, customers must hook the TiVo DVR up to a Comcast cable box with audio-video cables and an IR sensor provided by TiVo. Customers using these TiVos can record shows, but can't change channels during recordings. Series1 TiVos can't access TiVo's broadband features, but Series2 models connected to TiVo service via wireless connectivity will be able to access some broadband features.

HD TiVos

HD TiVos include the Series3, TiVo HD and TiVo Premiere models. These TiVos require CableCARD installation for the TiVo box to access Comcast's channel lineup. CableCARDS replace Comcast's cable box and customers will pay a monthly fee for CableCARD use. Also, using an Etherrnet or wireless connection for these TiVos will give customers access to TiVo's music, television and movie streaming capabilities.

Comcast TiVos

Comcast has partnered with TiVo to borrow some of TiVo's software to incorporate some of TiVo's user interface into Comcast DVRs. The resulting product is the Comcast DVR, which allows customers to perform searches that include their channel lineup and Comcast's On Demand programming. Also, like regular TiVos, the Comcast TiVos can create Season Passes and Wish Lists to record programming that caters to the customer's tastes.

TiVo DVRs Versus Comcast TiVos

Because Comcast is licensing TiVo's software, Comcast TiVo's won't have the full functionality of a regular TiVo. For instance, Comcast doesn't have access to TiVo's partnerships with Hulu, Netflix and other third-party companies. Also, customers who have a Comcast TiVo do not own the DVR, whereas customers who purchase a TiVo from TiVo or an electronics retailer own the box.