Four Hollywood studios and the three major television networks have filed a copyright suit seeking to prevent Cablevision Systems from launching an “on-demand” service that aims to replace the living room digital video recorder.
I’m a bit torn about this. One the one hand, if Cablevision can deploy a centralized DVR system it could be bad for TiVo. A centralized system is inherently more efficient (economies of scale) than DVRs in every home. The hardware in the home only needs to receive and decode the data – no encoders, no storage, etc. Unless TiVo could provide the UI for the client devices (possible) it’d be more competition for them.
On the other hand, I like seeing technological innovation in general. And I agree with Cablevision’s stance. What they’re offering is functionally no different than TiVo or any other DVR. The differences is simply that the encoders and drives are in a central location – kind of like having half the DVR (recording & storage) in their server room and the other half (playback & UI) in the home. This isn’t OnDemand or rebroadcasting, IMHO. Just like with a DVR in the home, the user has to request recordings and each user has their own recordings, it isn’t a shared system.
So I have to hope the courts agree with Cablevision and not the foot-dragging entertainment industry.