Comcast and TiVo Reach Agreement, End 4-Year Patent Fight

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by dishrich, Nov 9, 2020.

  1. Series3Sub

    Series3Sub Well-Known Member

    Mar 14, 2010


    Gee, Dish/Echostar got LIFETIME rights to all TiVo patents in their settlement (Echostar also allowed LIFETIME license to 3 or 4 of its patents to TiVo named in Echostar's counter-suit that was also dropped as part of the settlment), but I suppose things were far more desperate for TiVo at that time, as Xperi has money and time to drive a hard bargain for settlement that TiVo didn't have in those days.

    Also, Dish's (brilliant law firm) legal maneuver resulted in an Appellate Court ruling (and admonishing the trail judge) that required a whole NEW trial that had to factor Dish's "work around" relating to the use of the disputed TiVo patented feature(s). This meant the clock had run out for TiVo and there would be no "gun to the head" on Dish to sign a lucrative (overpriced) agreement for Dish to not only pay for the years TiVo claimed it used its technology, but to also charge indefinitely for each one of all those believed to be "offending" DVR's per month that were still in use by Dish subscribers.

    FWIW, Dish had a plan to remove all the "offending" DVR's (which were pretty old by then and only kept as legacy for replacements for like models) from subscribers' homes, and replace them with more recent models of DVR's not included in the lawsuit and achieving the same features vastly different from TiVo's patents should they lose at trial and ordered to pay after the Court calculated a judgement. Dish had stockpiled a great many DVR's in warehouses ready to go into homes and replace "offending" DVR's at a moments notice. With Dish's large army of tech/installers along with its practice of often shipping DVR's to customers for easy replacement on their own and ship back the "offending" DVR's with shipping pre-paid, it would not have taken much time, perhaps a month or two to replace every last one, especially since since a new generation of DVR's had already replaced those older "offending" DVR's as part of upgrades years before, and ONLY the latest generation of DVR's had been installed for new customers--as is the standard practice for Dish--also years before. The number of offending DVR's was not near what it was at the time TiVo filed the lawsuit. Time had marched on and technology with it. The "offending" DVR's were standard definition and pretty rudimentary by comparison to the new gen DVR's that arrived as the first to offer High Definition with access to the internet for VOD and other features including OTA channel reception and OTA program guide integration into the sat guide along with better UI had stolen the hearts of Dish DVR users who called in droves for upgrades when they were introduced.

    So, TiVo would have not gotten as much money as they were thinking, and certainly no long-term agreement for Dish to pay fees for "offending" DVR's still in use and in future use nor agreements to offer TiVo DVR's--all at Dish's cost--like all of TiVo's bad business requirements for the MVPD contracts to offer TiVo DVR's. That was one of TiVo's biggest stumbling blocks to the vast majority of MVPD's accepting or embracing TiVo DVR's: TiVo required the MVPD's to pay for ALL COSTS, from development to promotions, while TiVo needn't spend a penny of its own money for anything--and STILL collect a monthly fee for each TiVo in use. It was NO partnership. This is why TiVo's were always more expensive per month to the consumer/subscriber than the DVR's offered by cable and sat.

    I think it was within 48 hours that TiVo chose to settle because--as Ol' Tom Rogers said at the time, "I don't want to wait for the Supreme Court [to rule if we appeal]." It was either death to TiVo or settle, most likely on Charlie Ergen's original settlement offer terms, which was nearly identical to his terms for the TV Guide/Gemstar settlement. Dish also get LIFETIME licenses from TV Guide/Gemstar when they settled rather then go back to Court for whole new trial after an Appellate Court ruled the trial judge erred, and a new trial was ordered. In the matter of TiVo vs. Echostar, ironically, then TiVo CEO Tom Rogers and Dish/Echostar CEO/Chairman Charlie Ergen were good friends at the time, remained friends throughout the entire legal battle and still are friends. It was all just business.

    And BTW, Tom Rogers really does deserve some credit for keeping TiVo alive for some years with his (although somewhat slimy) "sue everyone" strategy. Otherwise, TiVo would have died many years ago, and there would have been no Series 5 and later because TiVo would have been DEAD. At least we got some good extra years of TiVo to a take us right up to this very moment because no one was gonna buy TiVo at that time. Tom's strategy allowed TiVo to escape death and appear to have a decent future with cash coming in from settlements, and that allowed TiVo to be seen as an attractive buy--to the suckers who bought it, and then seemed to regret it.

    However, I too agree that TiVo should have really done more to be the "One Box" it was supposed to be by making streaming features robust and as great an experience as a Roku or Fire TV wrapped inside one of the best DVR's: the TiVo DVR. Sadly, we saw too much focus on making virtually the same product for each new generation with streaming still awful compared to Roku/Fire.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020
    tim1724 likes this.
  2. ITGrouch

    ITGrouch New Member

    Jan 7, 2015
    I contacted Comcast support with @ComcastCares via PM on Twitter regarding not being able to receive several channels on my TiVo DVRs but was able to receive them on the XG2 cable box and they escalated it to the CableCard tier-2 support. I received a phone call from tier-2 support today (11-22) and Comcast is moving some channels to IPTV (I will create a separate post with a list of channels that have been moved so far) and I asked the rep about the future of CableCard and he stated as part of the court settlement, Comcast will support TiVo, including CableCard, until 2031.
    chiguy50, PSU_Sudzi and humbb like this.
  3. zalusky

    zalusky Well-Known Member TCF Club

    Apr 5, 2002
    Cupertino, CA
    But did they say what channels will be available. As you said another long thread is about to start.
  4. schatham

    schatham Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2007
    "The deal is retroactive to 2016 and runs through 2031." This might mean new IP Tivo. Anything that does not require a cable card is good news. Maybe plug and play Tivo's will be in the future.

    New ownership struck this deal so maybe Tivo's will work towards a future. My guess is it will be cloud DVR access tied into Comcast like their X1 without hard drive. Using memory for pause only.

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