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There's a Quest commercial where a motel clerk tells a weary traveler he has TV access to every movie every made (via Quest's fiber optics). That's appealing (Madison Avenue) video-on-demand (VOD), although the few pilot U.S. VOD programs apparently store only 100 or so movies. To view them, you use a central hard-disc server with the same flexibility as a VCR (instant access, pause, etc.).


Over in the long-running Houston HDTV cable thread there's limited discussion of Time Warner Cable introducing VOD there. Except, Time Warner appears to be planning introduction of TiVo-like cable boxes --converters with hard drives built into them. Unless I'm missing something, that sounds like you'd have access to only whatever is stored at any time on your converter's hard drive.


This may just be a liberal--and misleading--use of the term VOD. Presume HDTV capabilities could be built into converters. -- John







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STOP DVI/HDCP AND DFAST




[This message has been edited by John Mason (edited 03-22-2001).]
 

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There was a thread in the TiVo forum about a month ago that discussed this. Apparently DirecTV and Blockbuster are going to utilize the DirecTV w/ TiVo boxes for a VOD type service. There were no specifics but I think they are targeting a roll out when the 2nd D-TiVo tuner is activated.
 

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I think that how many in the industry see VOD working is having customers download the movie they want to watch onto the hard-drive in their cable boxes (or Tivo machines) and then watching it like any other pre-recorded program. The downloaded program would then automatically erase itself off of your hard drive after 24 hours. The download speed would depend on the bandwidth available to the home, but if they can get it under 10-15 minutes, this could be a great business.


Ideally, with high bandwidth into the home, the download could take seconds and not minutes, giving the customer instant access. Need a solution for the last mile before that happens.
 

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In most of the articles I've read about this subject, the download a movie model is refered to as near VOD, while true VOD gives you a stream that you control. Needless to say that true VOD is very bandwidth intensive. Near VOD would work just fine for me. Pick a movie or three in the AM, decide which one (or two) you want to watch in the evening, and be charged as you watch them. If they price the service right, they will make gigabucks. However, I predict that they will overprice the service to hell and gone, then sit around and wonder why it didn't work. If they would charge $1.49 a movie, they'd sell a bunch. For that much I'd try damn near anything. Point of the service is to get more customers spending more money on average. If I have everything on the server, there is effectivly 0 marginal cost for every new download. Given the size of modern server farms, and cost per transponder, you should be able to download a bunch of different movies per day.


Does anyone have any references for where the Blockbuster/Tivo rumor came from?


Mike

 
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