March 27, 2006


Cablevision tests 'remote storage' DVR use (David Lieberman, 3/27/06, USA TODAY)

In a move that could ignite a major debate about consumer "fair use" of TV programming, Cablevision Systems will unveil plans to test a service that gives cable subscribers the ability to record and time-shift shows using existing digital set-top boxes.

Although it works just like TiVo and other digital video recorders (DVRs) — consumers choose in advance which shows to capture and can fast-forward through ads — the recording itself will be stored at the cable system, not on a hard drive in the consumer's home.

The technology for what Cablevision calls its "remote storage digital video recorder" (RS-DVR) "is here today, and in Cablevision's case, we can use it to put DVR functionality in more than 2 million digital cable homes instantaneously, without ever rolling a truck or swapping out a set-top box," COO Tom Rutledge says in a statement.

There doesn't seem any reason not to expect that in a very short time you'll have a television where you can just summon any movie or television program of which a record still exists at your whim.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 27, 2006 7:02 AM

This sounds very much like the service we've had with Bright House for quite a while. For six or seven bucks a month, they provide the magic box and we can record up to 80 hours of programming and stop and start regular live programming.

It's well designed and easy to program. One caveat, be careful when choosing to records all a series. We found out the hard way that there are at least a thousand episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger being shown round the clock.

After decades of not watching much TV at all, we're like kids in a candy store, especially since there's so much good stuff on now -- add Netflix and the poor selections at the movies and we're regular coach potatoes now.

It's been great.

Posted by: erp at March 27, 2006 8:55 AM

Hey, it's Cablevision -- They'll either botch it up, charge too much for the service after the initial lower-priced rollout or sell information on veiwers' show recording preferences to third parties, which will drive people away to other recording technologies.

Posted by: John at March 27, 2006 9:05 AM

it sounds like it will have problems scaling. one of the nice things about tivo, is that you can watch it when the main signal is out (which is rare, but does happen). in any event, microsoft media center is way ahed of where the cable companies are thinking.

Posted by: toe at March 27, 2006 12:56 PM


Doesn't matter. Once Cablevision does it, no matter how badly, it will be "proven" to the venture capitalists (i.e., it must be a good business idea if a big company did it). At that point, someone with clue will build it.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at March 27, 2006 3:16 PM

Anyone know who's hardware is driving this at the head end?

Posted by: The Black Knight at April 6, 2006 3:57 PM