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WebSite, Design and Web Hosting News - Cablevision to Provide DVR to Two mln Customers
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Cablevision to Provide DVR to Two mln Customers

2006-03-28 15:35:00

Cable TV giant Cablevision Systems is testing a remote digital-video recorder (DVR) service that will let customers store programs on the company's servers without requiring the purchase of a special set-top box or other hardware.

Using this new technology, Cablevision plans to provide some two million digital-cable customers with DVR functionality that is similar to the service provided by the popular
TiVo machines.

Cablevision expects that the service will result in lower cable costs for consumers, although the company has not yet announced pricing details.

DVR and Copyright Law

While TV networks and other content providers have raised concerns about digital rights and the ability of consumers to bypass advertisements using DVR technology, Cablevision contends that the new service abides by copyright laws.

Consumers have well-established rights to "time shift" television programming by making copies for personal, in-home viewing, the company said in a statement.

Much like users of traditional set-top DVRs, Cablevision customers will be able to use a channel guide to select programs for recording, then view or delete the stored shows.

When the service rolls out nationally, customers will be able to store 80 GB of data, equivalent to about 45 hours of programming, in their own dedicated space within Cablevision's facilities.

Like other DVR services, customers will be able to record two programs simultaneously while viewing a third, previously taped show.

Secondary TV Market

The popularity of DVR technology, driven largely by TiVo, has led other cable companies, and even I.T. firms, to jump on the bandwagon.

"The broadcast networks realize that there is a secondary market available for their content with these types of services," said Yankee Group analyst Michael Goodman. "After the initial airing of shows, there isn't much opportunity to cash in on the programming, but now they can license it for recording."

Still, Goodman noted, the DVR market is in its infancy and might take some time before service providers and networks collaborate on new services that generate substantial revenue.

Working to Cablevision's advantage, the analyst said, is the fact that users will get a product that is never obsolete.

"TiVo doesn't work with the forthcoming high-definition TV technology, which means customers will have to upgrade," he said. "But with Cablevision, the cable operator will just upgrade its servers to provide HD TV."

Initial testing for the service will be conducted on Cablevision's home turf of Long Island during the second quarter of this year, after which the offering should become widely available.

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