Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Network based DVR may be a GO

It's no longer breaking news, but the Solicitor General has recommended that the Supreme Court not review Cablevision's case for Network based DVR service. Many believe this is a major victory for Cablevision and clears the way to begin offering the service toward the end of 2009.

Let's review - Network based DVR would place the customer's recording capability somewhere in "the cloud" (probably in the headend), rather than in the subscriber's set-top box. Why is this significant? It would mean that:
  1. Video on Demand (VoD) providers who thought they had a lock on the pause, rewind, etc. technology are concerned about their business model.
  2. Premium movie channels like HBO and Cinemax are worried that subscribers will record their offerings in-network where it will be easy for films to be viewed in highest quality and possibly shared (this is likely the biggest hurdle).
  3. IPTV and cable providers would only need to distribute a simple, inexpensive STB, saving on initial capital expendature (CAPEX). This also reduces the need for long-term commitments from subsribers and a far faster return on investment.
  4. Satellite providers are further challenged by offering a (largely) one-way product. It will be very interesting to see how DirecTV and Dish react.
If all goes as planned, all of us (who get television from a provider) may all be enjoying a version of this technology in the next few years.

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