Time Warner in Austin also offers the Explorer 8000 which is a *very* basic PVR. And thought I have digital cable and two boxes that will do it, I have yet to use the Video on demand service they offer. Just haven't bothered.
I think what we may see is a 'commoditization" of the technology as they incorporate it into the cable box, then they will reduce it's functions (like make sure there is no commercial advance) and then make the fast-forward only like 2x so you sorta have to see the commercials. Maybe make it "overshoot" reall hard to discourage you from using it. Maybe even detect if the FForward is being used during a commercial and disable it? Once they have control of it they could do anything with it. :::sigh:::
PS: Wow... This story got posted *and* got three replies in the time it took me to post it! I really did check to see if it was there first, so sorry about the redundant posting..
Exactly who is going to manage all this monitoring at the cable company?
Remember, these guys pay like $10 an hour to their installers. So they aren't holding on to the technological elite.
Everything that's been said about PVRs and DVD recorders was said about VCRs and more. It's not cable. It's Hollyweird. And they don't fear you and me. We're good consumers. In fact we're on the main wave of consumerism.
What they fear is the guy over in Bosnia who flys into London, picks up all the new releases on DVD, and plays them at his own private theater while making copies for the good little boys and girls to buy.
They may fear the guy in Bosnia, but they figure while they are at it why not take it as far as possible. Tight control equates to more money. Imagine PPV VOD for reruns. Wanna watch "Three's Company"? No problem 20 cents per episode, please.
Installing a tv, vcr, dvr, cable box, sat system, etc., is childs play. It looks scary to the inexperienced, but it's all pretty darn straightforward 99% of the time. My point? An installer should enjoy new and different units to install. If it's harder, they get paid more for their time. If it's easier (as DVRs certainly are, there's what, 2 cables in the back of most of them?), then nothing to complain about either.
My take on why they hate it is that the PVR lets you have much more value out of less cable. If you only have the basic cable package, a Replay will grab many more shows out of the same channel set. Because of this, less folks will purchase those mega channel packages with 18 flavors of starz and hbo, because their PVR already grabs more tv than they can watch. My RePlay was a big reason I downsized my cable service. The trend in cable/satellite seems to be to put the value proposition largely on the volume of programming they will let you access, rather than on producing better content. Instead of putting more needles in the same size pile of straw, they'd rather just give you a bigger haystack.
I think the issue is not the installers, etc. I have all kinds of interesting content stacked up on my Replay - some from network TV, some from beyond-basic-cable like TLC, Discovery. AND a list of movies from HBO, Showtime, etc. that I get to periodically.
So even if I had it, I would not likely use PPV or VOD in the sense the cable companies want us to - $ for every show. There is enough content under my control on the Replay (culled from non VOD content) that unless I feel the burning need for a more current movie, I would not use VOD or PPV. I don't mind the lag for movies to hit HBO, Cinemax, etc.
So to me the Replay represents control over my viewing and a constant source of new content, even if the movies are a few months old!
Take the PVR away and I would be like the non-PVR folks - if I don't like what is on, I might have to use PPV or rent a movie or something....hey I could use whatever godawful internet-based service the Hollywood has cooked up by the - u know like the one they are rolling out where u download the movie and have 24 hours to watch it before it turns into a pumpkin.
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