TV 2.0 Battle, Round One

In what may turn out to be one of the seminal decisions in the technological battle for TV 2.O, Hollywood movie companies won a decision against Cablevision in what has been called the network DVR case.

The issue involves Cablevision's announcement a while back that it might (just might, mind you) offer customers a service whereby we would select movies and programs to record just as we do now with our DVRs (digital video recorders). But instead of keeping the shows stored on individual set top boxes (which are expensive and can breakdown and hiccup), Cablevision planned to store our selections on hard drives at the cable company's own offices. The Hollywood execs screamed bloody murder (okay, not "bloody murder," but the Californian equivalent expletive), and immediately called in the lawyers.

So what's the difference, you may well ask, between my DVR and Cablevision's really big DVR? Answer: transmission. The length of the cable is what matters, after all. Short cable from your box to the TV, no problem. Long cable from the company to your box, big problem.

But honestly, the real reason the movie and network people threw a fit is that they want to offer us exactly the same service–and charge us through the nose for it. They just haven't been able to figure out how to do it yet. The cable companies would help, but they've already got DVRs out there for which we pay them every month. Movie companies could do it through the Internet, but the Internet is too slow, and the movie execs too nervous about piracy to make it happen.

And if you think Apple TV will solve the problem, think again, not different.



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About jquain

Technology reporter, writer, and television correspondent, JQ has been covering the computer, communications, and consumer electronics industries for more than 25 years.A contributor to The New York Times, Popular Mechanics, PC Magazine, U.S. News & World Report and many other publications, JQ appears on CBS News television program Up to the Minute and on Fox Business.
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