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Netflix Gets TiVo Assist in Push to Join Cable-TV Lineup

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Netflix Inc. (NFLX), pressing cable operators to grant equal footing to its Web-based films and television shows on their pay-TV systems, is getting an assist from set-top box maker TiVo Inc. (TIVO)

Netflix, the world’s largest subscription streaming service, is in discussions with U.S. cable-TV providers to add its application to their set-top boxes, people with knowledge of the situation said. The change would let viewers search for its content without having to switch to a different device like a video-game console or Apple TV.

TiVo’s role is key to the Netflix effort because the company, the pioneer of digital-video recorders, makes set-top boxes that are already installed in the homes of cable-TV customers across the U.S. TiVo is introducing advanced technology that integrates cable programming with Internet services, a potential boon for Netflix’s $7.99-a-month product.

“TiVo has been on a course of implementing that for cable operators,” Tom Rogers, TiVo’s chief executive officer, said in an interview yesterday. “We’re very supportive of bringing Netflix into the fold so that can happen.”
Cable systems can integrate online and TV better than any other platform and doing so is key to the industry’s future, Rogers said. For Netflix, forging ties with cable providers could fuel expansion by putting its Web-based programs alongside traditional TV shows.

While Netflix has discussed partnerships with Comcast Corp., the biggest cable company, and other players, those furthest along are regional providers that rely on boxes from TiVo to blend traditional TV programming with Web.

Read the full report here.