Tivo and Comcast developed an ability to browse and stream the Comcast on-Demand library using the Internet instead of cable card for two-way communication. It is in the On-Demand section of the Tivo menu. It was hit & miss the 1st year but now is very reliable and works extremely well.
As was stated before, there's no reason why FIOS could not do the same if they wanted to.
Note its not easy to do. Not to say that it can't be done. The way FIOS does On-demand is different than many other providers. So the question is could it be done on TIVO boxes or not.
In what way is different?
FIOS on demand is done via IP.
Cablecard doesn't support FIOS VOD because of that.
Not sure of all the details (maybe someone else will post) but I beleive that Comcast uses two way functionailty that sends comannds upstream via a qam channel while FIOS does their VOD out of band (by using their internet stream).
That is why people can get higher than subcribed downloads on Internet as FIOS adds additional bandwidth to support VOD.
I contacted Tivo asking why this isn't availbale on my Tivo. This was their response:
"TiVos cannot access the Verizon Video On Demand.
Some cable providers do allow for Video On Demand, for example Comcast does.
The issue is more related to the cable card, which can be authorized to access On Demand."
The idea, in this technological day and age, that VZ doesn't have the capability to modify their cabe cards to allow it to pull an IP from their router is ridiculous. As far as Tivo and softrware, again, I don't buy it. On the VZ guide there is a channel to select OnDemand, it doesn't work because VZ doesn't want it to work.
When I bought Tivo, and at that time VZ charged $15.99+Taxes for their box, Let's just round up to $16 for convience sake. That's $192 a year with just one box, at that time. This is their bread and butter, because they order these boxes in bulk, they get one heck of a discount, probably below wholesale, and my guess is that within the 2 year contract all of us are forced to agree to, they make a profit on the boxes also, they rely on us being lazy and not shopping around for better deals, so at some point within two the 2 years, the box charges are gravy.
Think about it, it is not in VZ interest to allow this feature at this time. Let's say there are 2M VZ customers, there are more I am sure, and let's say every VZ customer had just one box, roughly, that comes out to $32,000,000 PER year, and let's be honest, most homes have more than one box.
Comcast did it in order to reclaim old customers who went to Tivo, and they are getting them back because of the OnDemand feature.that works through Tivo. Comcast was smart in seeing that the feature is a value add to their service.
It isn't that VZ can't, it's that VZ won't. Technology isn't holding them back, it's the gravy train the boxes provide, it's easy money. Because let's face it, once people truly start realizing the wasted cost of the box, Tivo is a much better option to purchase, the box has more flexibility and it's YOURS.
My contract is up in September 2015, and I am seriously comtemplating going with Comcast because of their vallue added feature for OnDemand services. At the time, both companies didn't offer OnDemand with Tivo, so it was no big deal, that has changed. I am now tired of paying for a service I am unable to access just because they refuse to reprogram their cabecards.