Comcast rolls out TiVo boxes — but when does TiVo start rolling in dough?

Comcast is finally starting to introduce digital video recorders with TiVo software, two years after announcing plans to do so. Existing boxes will be upgraded to make TiVo available, first in New England — all the better to record those Red Sox playoff games — and soon around the country. Comcast will charge subscribers a small extra fee for Tivo service. TiVo didn't respond to requests for comment, but we suspect its share of the payments are incredibly small compared to the hefty monthly fee TiVo charges its own subscribers. Any new cash, however, would be a boon for TiVo. Satellite and cable companies — including Comcast — have eaten into TiVo's market share by renting cheap DVRs to their customers. A relevant portion of a recent TiVo SEC filing is after the jump.

The TiVo service on Comcast is expected to launch shortly in its initial market, Comcast's New England Division, which includes metro Boston, Southeast Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, with the rollout process expected to continue throughout the fall. Activities, including trials, related to the TiVo service on Cox are expected to commence during our fiscal year ending January 31, 2008. We anticipate receiving cash payments for providing the TiVo service as a result of these deployments and expected subscription adoptions but do not expect to recognize a significant portion of these cash payments as service revenues during this fiscal year. Under the accounting guidance for multiple element arrangements, since the contracts contain undelivered elements such as future software development for which we do not have fair value, significant portions of these cash payments must be deferred and recognized ratably over the term of the agreement.
Translation: Think Comcast customers have been waiting a long time for their TiVo boxes? TiVo shareholders are going to have to wait even longer to see money from this deal.