& cplSiteName &

Boxee's Ronen: The DVR Is Dying

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
3/4/2010
50%
50%

SAN FRANCISCO -- The TV of Tomorrow Show -- Some may believe that Boxee CEO Avner Ronen is out to kill cable and its subscription video distribution business model. They might be wrong. From the sounds of it, he'd rather stick a dagger in the heart of the DVR... if it's not there already.

"DVR is dead," Ronen proclaimed here on Wednesday during a keynote panel focused on broadband video that also featured Ian Blaine, CEO of Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)-owned thePlatform Inc. , and Mark Garner, senior vice president of distribution, marketing and business and development, A&E Television.

Ronen then back peddled just a bit: "It's not dead... It's dying."

Time will tell if Ronen's prognostication will ring true, but his point was that traditional DVR products are on shaky ground as gobs of TV shows and movies make their way to the proverbial "cloud" and are served up by over-the-top service providers or by new broadband-fed "TV Everywhere" products that MSOs, telcos, and satellite TV companies are starting to use to help defend their traditional video subscription models.

Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC)'s already offering Ronen his canary in the coalmine. The New York-based MSO is getting ready to launch its network-based DVR service in April, and last week said it intends to stop buying set-top-based DVRs by the end of this year. (See Cablevision Preps Network DVR, WiFi Phone.)

But home-side DVR products continue to evolve. Ronen's comments came just one day after TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) announced its new "Premiere" DVR line in New York, and two days after Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) started selling a three-tuner "Moxi" box. Although those products are still considered DVRs at their core, their integrated broadband capabilities, fancy navigation systems, apps, and connections to Web video partners make those products far more versatile and powerful than the crusty DVRs of yesteryear. (See Arris Hawks Three-Tuner Moxi Box, TiVo Building tru2way Version of New Interface, and New TiVo DVRs Built for Web & Cable Content.)

And seeing more video become available online is just fine with Boxee, of course, as it gets ready to bring its own Internet-connected box to market. (See Ronen: Boxee Isn't a Cable Killer and Boxee Urges TV Nets to 'Experiment'.)

Although the Boxee box will offer access to a trove of cool apps and broadband video, still missing from the puzzle is access to broadcast and other premium video delivered by cable. It could fill that gap by developing a device with CableCARD slots and tru2way capabilities, but don't expect the company to sort through that ball of snakes anytime soon.

In a brief conversation with Light Reading Cable, Ronen said Boxee has some interest in tru2way, but it's got plenty on its plate already as it tries to execute on its current strategy. "It's an issue of priority for us," he said.

Others on the panel said over-the-top (OTT) video and MSO-authenticated TV Everywhere models should be able to live together in harmony. (See Comcast's 'Xfinity' Goes Live , Avail-TVN Readies 'TV Everywhere' Platform, and Dish Slings Its 'TV Everywhere' Strategy.)

"Both are evolving at the same time and aren't mutually exclusive," said thePlatform's Blaine, noting that the libraries between the two will remain different for some time because it's unlikely that programmers will allow all their "premium" content to be fed over-the-top using ad-supported or pay-per-view distribution models. OTT is growing fast, "but I don't see it as a replacement for subscription TV and TV Everywhere," he added.

Although Boxee has no intention to develop a tru2way box yet, Ronen would like his box to be able to deliver content from a cable operator's TV Everywhere library. "It's more about getting them comfortable authenticating through us," Ronen said. "We just want to provide the user with as much choice as possible."

Programmers, meanwhile, will continue to be careful about how their content (and how much of it) is distributed online. "We are going to play where the money exists today," A&E's Garner said, noting that OTT has a critical mass of users, but not necessarily a critical mass of revenue support. Given that, he said programmers won't be chucking their dual revenue stream business model (ads and subscription fees) and taking their acts completely online any time soon.

As a point of emphasis Garner said Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA)'s decision to pull The Daily Show and other Comedy Central shows from Hulu LLC starting next week is "indicative of what the market is demonstrating in terms of monetizing online platforms." (See Daily Show, Colbert Leave Hulu.)

While that shows that the jury's still out on whether free, ad-supported Web TV business models can create a sustainable business, Garner did allow that the TV Everywhere approach should enable MSOs and programmers "to give consumers a better feel of the value they're getting" and "preserve it [the subscription TV model] longer."

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Shades of Ray
Why Analytics Is the Tech World's Digital Glue

3|27|17   |   02:20   |   (0) comments


It was obvious at the massive annual CeBIT enterprise tech trade show that the foundation for tech innovation right now is real-time analytics.
LRTV Custom TV
CommScope – Meeting the Demands of Tomorrow's Networks

3|24|17   |     |   (0) comments


Phil Sorksy, Vice President International at CommScope, discusses addressing the challenges faced by service providers today, and as future trends emerge.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
AMS-IX & Huawei's OSN 902

3|24|17   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei shows how its OSN 902 platform helps the Amsterdam Internet exchange to connect the world using multiplexing.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Smart Energy Innovation Center

3|24|17   |     |   (0) comments


In Nuremberg, Huawei showcases its latest capabilities in the digitalization of Internet resources, network infrastructure and intelligence at its Smart Energy Innovation Center.
Valley Wonk
OFC & Hyperscale: A Good Mix?

3|24|17   |   01:50   |   (0) comments


Cloud and telecom players want different types of equipment for their networks, as the chatter at OFC reveals.
LRTV Custom TV
Etisalat on NFV Journey

3|24|17   |   10:37   |   (0) comments


Etisalat is a service provider that prides itself on bringing innovative technologies to the markets it serves. It was one of the first operators to implement 3G and leads the pack in fiber penetration. Now, Esmaeel Al Hammadi, Etisalat's SVP of Network Development, explains the operator's journey to virtualization, beginning with the network core, as well as the ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at CeBIT 2017: Day 3

3|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


Light Reading reports from CeBIT 2017 in Germany, where Huawei is exhibiting on the application of technologies and key business verticals such as transportation, smart city, manufacturing, media and finance.
LRTV Documentaries
No Regrets: Cox's Finkelstein on Fiber & More

3|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


At the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies event in Denver, Cox's Jeff Finkelstein examines the cable capex conundrum.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Next-Gen: The 'Mile High' View From Denver

3|22|17   |   11:56   |   (0) comments


Alan Breznick kicks off the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies event in Denver, casting his thousand-yard stare over cable's current competitive landscape.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at CeBIT 2017: Day 2

3|21|17   |   2:27   |   (0) comments


Light Reading reports from CeBIT 2017 in Germany, where Huawei is exhibiting digital transformation solutions around IoT, smart data centers, OpenCloud ecosystem and its newly announced storage-as-a-service solution.
LRTV Custom TV
Driving Better Mobile Customer Experience While Transforming the Mobile Network

3|21|17   |   7:47   |   (0) comments


Light Reading talked to George McGregor of Citrix about the NetScaler Mobile Gateway - an intelligent traffic management solution which can markedly improve the customer experience provided by mobile operators, even when traffic is encrypted. Critical network services can be consolidated and virtualized using NetScaler. Because of the unique architecture, ...
LRTV Custom TV
Mastercard: What's Next for Mobile Payments?

3|21|17   |   7:49   |   (0) comments


2017 marks the fifth consecutive year for Mastercard at Mobile World Congress and it was a great time to reflect on the amazing advances the payments industry has made as well as discuss "What's Next' in the digital commerce future. We spoke to James Anderson, executive vice president of digital payments at MasterCard, about digital wallets to tokenization to ...
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
High-Band 5G: Let's Address the Range Question, Shall We?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 3/21/2017
Eurobites: A1, Nokia Turn It Up to 11
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 3/22/2017
FTTH No Slam Dunk for Cable
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/23/2017
Nokia & Facebook Push Undersea Fiber to 32 Tbit/s
Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading, 3/21/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
At MWC 2017, Qualcomm's CTO Matt Grob talks to Light Reading's CEO and Founder Steve Saunders about the progress being made in the development of the technologies and standards that will underpin 5G.
Animals with Phones
Neither Do We Click Here
Is that a prerequisite?
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.