Will the Hard Drive be a Thing of the Past for the DVR of the Future?

USATODAY.com – Cablevision tests ‘remote storage’ DVR use From 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.”

It look like the thin client is about to get a whole lot thinner.

Will there be a day when you truly can have 5 terabytes of TV stored without having to buy 10 external hard drives? An interesting move on the part of Cablevision. Although I wonder about the economics of the experiment. You have to wonder if streaming TV back from a large remote server would be more cost effective than just building hard drives into the boxes. Then again, if more than one person could share the same show under a rights management package thing from the server, well… you never know. I mean, we don’t really need *all* of us to each have our own copy of The Sopranos in high def now do we?

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7 Comments

  1. Dan Covey says:

    It is actually way more cost effective to do nPVR rather than cPVR, even today’s low end VoD servers can stream hundreds of sessions of a nPVR asset from RAM or a hard drive allowing each viewer to pause, rewind and watch he same copy of an asset time shifted from every other viewer. when you consider the cost of putting a PVR capable STB in every home compared with the cost of a digital STB, the nPVR option is very attractive.

  2. Will says:

    I am afraid if we cede control of shows on our DVR’s to the cable company, it’s just a matter of time before the MPAA/Gestapo convinces them that some aspect of a DVR is “illegal” and the commercial skip/fast-forwarding functionality disappears. I hope I am wrong, because TiVo would not be able to compete with such a juggernaut, and the consumer would be left with one choice that the MPAA could easily manipulate.

  3. How would you like your provider to decide when you have had the show long enough and to go ahead and delete it? Or that you can only watch a recorded television show once? Remote storage would provide a provider with a lot more options…

  4. Shawn Oster says:

    This would make watching DVR’d content a bit hard when the construction crew cuts your cable or the wind storm knocks out your dish. Wouldn’t it be fun to be watching TV and suddenly it goes choppy with a message, “We Are Experiencing Network Congestion, Please Wait”.

    Aside from worries about spotty connections (comes from living in a new build area) I fear when they start putting time-limits on content. I know a *lot* of people that wait until a show is half-way through a season before they start watching what they’ve recorded. Hell, I’m just finishing watching the end of season 1 of Grey’s Anatomy.

  5. Dan Vogel says:

    Will there be a day when you truly can have 5 terabytes of TV stored without having to buy 10 external hard drives?

    Kryder’s Law suggests that day will be within the next decade.

  6. Sounds wonderful, no need for a special box, just let your cable/satellite provider manage things for you, but like the others here I fear giving the providers control over the recording mechanism and media, for all the same reasons.

    And maybe I can come up with another: with current TiVOs and PVRs it is fairly easy to move content from the PVR to a computer or DVD-R. With this proposed system will this be possible, or will that ability go the way of the dodo?

    It’s irrelevant to me because I a) don’t have a PVR and b) don’t have cable or satellite with which to use a PVR, but it’s definitely a big question for those of you who DO.

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