Frontier Customers Get DVR-Driven Free and Web TV

February 26, 2015
By: Bob Wallace

In what could be a match made in cord cutter heaven, Frontier Communications said it will bundle the TiVo (News - Alert) Roamio OTA DVR with its high-speed data service. The device enables customers to view over-the-air (OTA) TV programming and OTT video services.

This Roamio OTA model lets broadband consumers watch programming from CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox and more as well OTT video sources such as Netflix and YouTube (News - Alert).

Frontier, which provides consumer and business services in 28 states, stated it will begin offering the Roamio product (and other TiVo items) at midyear.  The company already offers FiOS TV and pay-TV service from DISH Network.

Pricing Prognosis (News - Alert)

How Frontier chooses to price the Roamio plus broadband Internet bundle will go a very long way toward determining the actual acceptance of the offering.

The OTA DVR has been offered with a onetime charge of roughly $50. And that’s before the broadband access charge. Consumer can buy an HD antenna for a onetime charge of less than $50. Add a Netflix subscription and you still have money to spend. Of course the antenna and Netflix programming pairing don’t provide you DVR functionality.

Also, will Frontier assess customers a monthly charge for the Roamio offering? The company didn’t list pricing for the offering due out starting at midyear, so interested consumers will need to stay tuned for details.

Frontier-Verizon and Video

The TiVo deal comes just weeks after Frontier announced plans to buy the wireline operations of Verizon in California, Florida and Texas for roughly $10.5 billion in cash. The deal is expected to close in the first half of next year.

The territory includes 2.2 million broadband connections and 1.2 million FiOS (News - Alert) video connections. Frontier and Verizon say the network is 54% “FiOS enabled.” Those on this network segment that don’t what FiOS TV could opt for the less traditional but in many ways more alluring Roamio-driven OTA and OTT combo with their broadband Internet.

Trending

The Roamio product takes advantage of multiple trends, chief among them soaring sales or high-speed broadband Internet while pay TV packages head in the opposite direction. Marrying OTA broadcast programming with TV from over the Internet addresses the need of many households for original series, movies and other affordable content from web innovators led by Netflix.

Frontier claims the TiVo partnership will enable its high-speed Internet customers to enjoy the OTA and OTT content via TiVo's” unified cloud-based service, a whole-home gateway DVR, TiVo Mini, TiVo Stream.” The service provider added that “multi-screen and remote scheduling functionality will be available through TiVo Web, iOS and Android (News - Alert) mobile applications.”

Calling the Roamio-based offering “a compelling strategic product for Frontier,” Company President and COO Dan McCarthy added in prepared comments: “We believe this is a model for a cost-effective, far-reaching video service of the future and look forward to it becoming a primary TV offer for our high-speed Internet only customers."

Integration Innovation

Make no mistake; TiVo is hardly a newcomer to integrating TV sources for service providers and their customers. The DVR pioneer has already partnered with service providers outside the U.S. that combine traditional pay TV services with OTT offerings such as Netflix in a “frienemy”-style pairing.

The Roamio breaks important new ground because it adds OTA programming from top TV networks to the fast-expanding OTT services world.

Future of TV?

Frontier’s McCarty sees the Roamio with broadband Internet as a game changer and an indicator of things to come for the booming broadband generation. 

“We believe this is a model for a cost-effective, far-reaching video service of the future and look forward to it becoming a primary TV offer for our high-speed Internet only customers." 




Edited by Stefania Viscusi