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October 6, 2015

Could VOD kill the PVR?

by Brad Linder, posted Jul 26th 2007 11:00AM
Time Warner Video On DemandTime Warner president Jeff Bewkes says cable providers should be working toward providing on-demand versions of every television program from every television network.

If consumers can watch any show they want any time they want, he argues, cable providers can save the time and money it takes to install personal video recorders in their houses. Of course, by eliminating the need for PVRs, cable companies could also be removing the consumer's ability to skip advertisements. "Free" video-on-demand would have to be advertising supported, and that means cable providers would disable the fast-forward function.

And that's why I don't really see Bewkes' plan working. Certainly one of the most appealing aspects of a PVR is that you can watch shows whenever you feel like it. But being able to pause, rewind, fast-forward, and yes, skip commercials is another part of it. Would you be willing to pay as much for DVD purchases and rentals if there were ads that you couldn't skip?

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Currently, the pause, rewind, and fast-forward functions are far inferior with VOD but even with that corrected VOD will never kill the PVR simply because control shifts back to the content provider instead of the consumer with VOD.

Despite what Ben says most people DO mind commercials. One of the biggest pet peeves I have with DVDs is that despite the better picture quality over VCRs I can't fast forward through the opening segments and trailers if I want to go straight to the movie.

I'm all for the instant access to any past show that VOD provides but I'm not willing to lose the control that PVRs provide.

July 26 2007 at 2:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There is no doubt that one day VOD will replace DVRs as well as movie rentals, but cable has a long way to go.

Sure we like DVRs, but most of America doesn't have one and if they had free VOD with enough selection, I doubt they would ever bother.

As for commercials, most people --including me -- don't mind commercials that aren't repetitive and that are focused. If cable can figure out a way to dynamically serve up commercials too, they will be very successful.

But alas, most MSOs don't get it, and they'll probably screw it up some other way. With any luck the freedom of the Internet will allow consumers to get what they want, but either way it won't be a DVR as we know it today.

July 26 2007 at 11:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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