Cablevision’s recent win in appellate court may open the door for network DVR (nDVR). Cablevision executives have publicly stated they intend to move forward and hope to have a product ready by “early next year.” nDVR offers a DVR service to consumers without the need for a device in the home, potentially saving consumers the purchase or rental costs for the equipment. In theory, nDVR service could be offered at lower price points because a service provider’s overall costs would be lower (i.e. fewer truck rolls, etc.). It also may counter the current advantage of multi-room DVR, offered by current telcoTV competitors AT&T and Verizon.
Significant hurdles still remain. The legal battle, championed by Hollywood movie studios may not be over – there is a still a chance this case goes to the Supreme Court. But even if it doesn’t, content providers will have to be on board for this to fly. There will have to be some “fence mending” and buy-in from the content gods, or this product goes nowhere. There are also some technical issues to work out, most notably, understanding and managing the bandwidth implications of such a service. Assuming those issues get resolved and Cablevision moves forward, nDVR could have significant implications on the competitive landscape. Cablevision may lead the way – but it won’t stop with them. Should it prove effective, look for many cable companies to follow.