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Cable companies win huge ruling


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16 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Bob Coxner

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 10:55 AM

The Supreme Court ruled today on a case involving Cablevision versus film studios and tv networks.

Cablevision wants to eliminate physical DVRs and maintain virtual DVRs on their servers. Studios/networks claimed copyright infringement. Cablevision won.

This means cable companies will no longer have to purchase, maintain, repair or keep track of DVR boxes. The potential savings have to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Your recordings will be stored on cable company servers, similar to On Demand today.

This gives a serious advantage to cable companies relative to sat companies. DTV could possibly do some of the same but it would require customers to have solid internet connections and no usage caps from their internet provider.

This should also spur DVR innovation by the cable companies. Currently, they avoid any software/hardware changes like the plague. If they make a firmware change and it breaks boxes, it can cost them a fortune in truck rolls to fix it. With only a single virtual DVR on their server, the risk is almost zero. Make sure you have a good backup and then make any changes you want. If they fail, reload the backup and try something else. Also, there are no more individual problems. If it works for one customer, it works exactly the same for all customers.

It's also a potential deathknell for Tivo. Who needs all the headaches of installing and maintaining a physical Tivo box when it can all be done by a virtual DVR? Or, maybe Tivo builds the virtual DVR.

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#2 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 11:01 AM

I'm moving this out of the DIRECTV forum.
Opinions expressed by me are my own and do not necessarily reflect
those of DBSTalk.com, DIRECTV, DISH, The Signal Group, or any other company.

#3 OFFLINE   Drew2k

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 11:54 AM

I'm a Cablevision customer and have been following this since it made it's way into the courts. I'm less than thrilled with Cablevison's DVR (SA-8300-HD) and the SARA interface - if you could see the guide you might wonder if my Commodore Vic20 didn't make the graphics, as that's how ancient it looks.

The On Demand response is also quite bad, waiting for the trick-play action to be relayed to the head-end and back to Cablevision for a response, so I can't imagine how a remote storage solution with a crappy interface and crappy response will every work.

I currently pay $9.95 for DVR service and $6.75 for the box. I can only imagine that when remote DVRs are introduced, there will still be a per fee box, and users will pay for tiered storage: 15 hours HD (current DVR capacity) will be $9.95; 30 hours $19.95; 50 hours $34.95 ...

Of course I hope I'm wrong and they rewrite the GUI and improve responsiveness and give 50 hours of storage at $9.95 a month, but I won't hold my breath. :)

#4 OFFLINE   smiddy

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 12:33 PM

I think this might bode well for the consumer though, in that saving single copies of items and tagging them for customers' use versus having one at each (potential) TV hookup is tremendous. I can see the savings...but the upstart cost on this will be huge, so that would likely be handed over the course of a year of so to customers. I'm not sure how this could work for a satellite provider unless they could individually code streams per receiver, internet connections very so much that your most robust connection back to the server farm holding your DVR'd item is the stream.

I'm thinking I like the ability to have it on "my" DVR versus some farm where I may or may not get access in an expedient manner. :nono:
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#5 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 12:40 PM

This is great news for cable subs. Comcast's HD VOD library is amazingly robust, with new titles being added every week. It almost obviates the need for an HD DVR. Almost, but not quite! :sure:

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#6 OFFLINE   Bill Broderick

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 12:55 PM

While this might be good for cable TV subscribers, I think that it will suck for cable Internet subscribers. I know a few people who have already canceled Cablevision in favor of Fios because cable Internet speeds are greatly affected by the amount of traffic that is being consumed by other local customers. They complained that, during peak hours, their download speeds, with Cablevision, were horrendous.

If everybody who utilizes the DVR service is effectively downloading a TV show, I would think that would use an awful lot of bandwidth that is currently allocated to Internet users. With HD, it will be even worse.

#7 OFFLINE   bicker1

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 12:59 PM

It depends on how big the node is, though. A DVR "in the cloud" is not much different, in effect on bandwidth usage, from SDV. Combined with the other victory this week (the fines imposed on cable companies for deploying SDV were reverse), we could be seeing the beginning of a movement toward more efficient use of cable bandwidth, overall.

#8 OFFLINE   JLucPicard

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 01:15 PM

I wonder if they would be able to maintain some control over whether commercials could be FF'd through?

I have no idea how the technology would work (and don't really care to get into it here), but I wonder how much they would be able to mess with things versus a standalone DVR in the home?

#9 OFFLINE   bicker1

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 01:18 PM

I'm not sure it would make that much of a difference. They could do so either way. They could even do so on a tru2way-driven customer-owned host device.

#10 OFFLINE   roadrunner1782

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 01:44 PM

I too will be concerned if TW starts doing this and it slows down my internet speed! As long as it doesn't I'm good. I believe I'll stay with D* and my HR2x, although this does sound like a pretty cool idea.

#11 OFFLINE   usnret

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 01:44 PM

You need more bandwidth to download the shows, plus internet usage too, and don't the cable cos charge more for more bandwidth now?? Sounds like a great moneymaker to me.

#12 OFFLINE   Drew2k

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 02:12 PM

I think this might bode well for the consumer though, in that saving single copies of items and tagging them for customers' use versus having one at each (potential) TV hookup is tremendous. I can see the savings...

Cablevision is intending to treat their central storage as a true remote DVR, so each user will have space allocated and recordings will not be shared between customers. It would have made sense to do as you propose, record once and play back numerous times to individual customers as requested, but CV opted not to do that to sell it as a remote replacement of a local DVR in the home.

#13 OFFLINE   Drew2k

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 02:15 PM

I wonder if they would be able to maintain some control over whether commercials could be FF'd through?

I have no idea how the technology would work (and don't really care to get into it here), but I wonder how much they would be able to mess with things versus a standalone DVR in the home?

That's the big concern of CV customers.

I have some other concerns:

If cable goes out, I can still play recordings from my local DVR, but if cable goes out and I have a remote DVR, I can't do anything.

With a local DVR, I can add an eSATA drive and the internal/external drives are used together. With a remote DVR, I'm stuck with whatever storage Cablevision allots to me and if I want to expand, I likely will have to pay them.

#14 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 07:34 PM

Think long term - think cell phone with voice mail vs phone company land line with answering machine. Sure I have a land line with an answering machine. But I have kids and grandkids who don't.

DVR. A klunky box with a hard drive that if it goes out, you have to have someone come out or it least swap it out yourself. If your power goes out, unless you have a generator like me, you miss your favorite show unless you watching it on...the internet. It's the typical customer nemesis though a great toy for a techie.

Central Server. It's their problem. You may even be able to access your recordings while away from home or on your iPhone and whenever you want.

The DVR is not the future of TV for the iPhone generation! Actually, the Cablevision idea os the precurser to unscheduled TV in whatever form it takes. We all know it.

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#15 OFFLINE   bicker1

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 07:21 AM

The decision that the Supreme Court implicitly ratified actually was rather technical, and my understanding is that the Court of Appeals found three faults with the claim that Remote DVRs violated copyright protection:

First, the courts said that buffering does not count as copyright violation. Buffering is used regardless of whether the programming is being watched immediately or not. Moreover, the nature of a buffer explicitly contradicts one of the requirement to prove violation, i.e., that the so-called copy is permanent for more than just a "transitory duration".

Second, the courts said that the actual "copy" being made is made by the subscriber, just like a person who has their own VCR or DVR is the person who makes the "copy" stored via those technologies (and of course, prior precedents hold that individual people can make temporary copies for playback later).

Third, the courts made it clear that this technology does not constitute a public performance of what was copied.

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#16 OFFLINE   Cholly

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 11:29 AM

If this comes to pass, it won't be for a year or so. I would be inclined to think that the cable companies will charge a premium for the VOD they'd be providing. I'm happy with my TiVo DVR's and would not want to lose all their features.

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#17 OFFLINE   gfrang

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 06:07 AM

Well their going to beat Directtv on this one.Directv is working on a whole house dvr and cable is going to have a whole city dvr.:lol:

Edited by gfrang, 03 July 2009 - 05:05 PM.
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