Everything Everywhere, the UK’s largest mobile network with around 25m mobile customers, announced a little over three weeks ago the imminent launch of EE TV – a connected set-top box, complete with over 70 Freeview channels and a number of VOD players. It will be free to all EE mobile customers who already are, or sign up to become, EE Broadband customers (of which there are currently just over three-quarters of a million). more “EE TV: Replay offers glimpse of a (network) PVR future”
Not many people had heard of the UPC Horizon service until the UPC parent, Liberty Global, bought Virgin Television earlier in the year. With the Virgin acquisition UPC got its hands on Tivo, and became a European cable giant running TWO different next-gen TV platforms, and the comparisons began. Would Horizon ever replace Tivo or vice-versa? more “Anything New on the Horizon? – Updates to the UPC’s Cable Box”
Damien Read – February 2013
However, there are two competing models for the evolution of these DVRs which are about to get into the ring with one another; cloud based network DVR (your recordings are saved in the network) and terabyte sized home ‘media servers’ that can stream live channels, recorded content and VOD around a home with full DVR functionality.
The central difference between the two is simple – the location where the hard disks are located when the recordings or the paused TV is saved. Network DVRs store recordings and even live ‘pause’ centrally in the network whereas the ‘media server’ DVR stores them in the home. This subtle difference actually has little implication for the consumer recording experience, but a big impact on what kit is in consumers’ homes, the quality of the broadband needed to deliver content to the home, and content rights structures.
Here’s a question I discussed at dinner in IBC last week. If you could start a new TV business today how would you do it. If your choice was to either start a VOD based business or to launch a PVR based business, which would you choose? When we discussed this in Amsterdam, the question was laced with a key assumption. This was that memory innovation will occur quicker than network innovation – i.e. hard drives will get bigger at a quicker rate than networks will increase in size and coverage. Meaning that push VOD, which uses a PVR’s recording capability to create an on-demand outcome, could benefit from technology innovation faster that pull VOD will. It it not unreasonable to imagine a generation of PVRs coming with 2-3 TB of memory and 5-10 tuners.
Nigel Walley – June 2011
We”ve been having a look at Virgin Tivo and having a think about what it means about the future of the TV landscape. Its begun to dawn on us that the implications could be quite significant. Particularly as the pay platforms and the free-to-air broadcasters are finding it so hard to come to some sensible agreement about incorporating their catch-up services into the next generation pay TV services. What Tivo and SkyAnytime+ show is that it might be easier if the platforms just ignored the broadcasters and used their PVRs to build their own versions of iPlayer and the other catch-up services.
Adrian Stroud – June 2009
I recently challenged myself to work-out why I still watch so much ‘live’ TV. I don’t mean news or sport because I can rationalise those genres quite easily. I mean bread and butter programming.
The challenge came about because I was debating just how much more damage all the VOD services and PVRs will do to live TV viewing figures in the long-run. This is important because it is those live viewing figures that contribute the vast bulk of advertising impacts. VOD currently delivers far, fewer impacts per hour of viewing than live TV, so the ‘end game’ for advertising funded TV programming is defined by this question. My guess was that live TV won’t drop more than perhaps 25%, no matter how many VOD and time shifting gadgets like Sky+ launch, but I could not say why. I suspect I’m making the mistake of confusing the technology with the benefits.
VOD and the PVR are the rational way to consume all but the livest of live TV events. So, when VOD has all the content you want and it is available on every screen in the house, why would you want to watch ordinary old broadcast TV at all?
Nigel Walley – March 2009
I received an email this week from a contact who works in the TV industry in Australia asking my opinion on something to do with what he called ‘PDRs’? Now I had to stop and think what on earth he was talking about. Eventually I went back to him to check my assumption that PDR meant ‘personal digital recorders’. These are, of course, what we would call a personal video recorder (PVR) or, if you believe Sky, a digital video recorder (DVR) or, if you follow Tess Alp’s of Thinkbox’s mantra, a ‘digital television recorder’ (DTR) or, if you are the Dixon’s web site, a little bit of all of them, without explaining the difference.