Video services

Brooklyn on Deck for Cablevision's Network DVR

Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) customers in Brooklyn will soon get their mitts on DVR Plus, the MSO's remote-storage DVR (RS-DVR) that provides 160GB of storage for $10.95 per month.

DVR Plus debuted in the Bronx in January and was launched in the MSO's Connecticut systems on April 5. It's coming to Brooklyn soon, MSO COO Tom Rutledge said on Thursday morning's earnings call, but he didn't provide a specific launch date. (See Cablevision's Network DVR Debuts in the Bronx , Cablevision's Network DVR Branches Out and Cablevision Revenues, Profits Pop in Q1.)

It's more evidence that Cablevision's network is standing up to the ingest and streaming stress caused by the new service, which stores individual copies of TV programs on the network. Cablevision is using the RS-DVR in place of local, set-top-based DVRs, hoping the move will save money while enabling box costs to drop to around $50 per unit. (See Cablevision Eyes $50 Set-Top.)

Cablevision is using the RS-DVR as another weapon against Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) FiOS, which is offered in about 40 percent of the MSO's footprint. Cablevision lost 8,400 video subscribers in its traditional properties (not those it acquired in its purchase of Bresnan Communications) in the quarter, but Rutledge attributed most of that to the effects of the tough economy in lower-income neighborhoods.

Cablevision hasn't said when it will launch DVR Plus across its entire footprint, but it's already in the process of phasing in its own services to cable systems in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Montana that came by way of its Bresnan buy. (See Cablevision Goes Country With Bresnan Buy.)

Rutledge said the Bresnan brand will be replaced with the Cablevision's Optimum brand on May 12. Cablevision also expects to complete by year's end a transport ring that will link 85 percent of its Western customers and treat those separate geographic locations as one large cable system.

Cablevision is interested in making more Bresnan-esque acquisitions, but said nothing it's looked at recently offers the kind of attractive operating returns that Bresnan did -- a subtle hint that Cablevision might not stay in the chase for Insight Communications Co. Inc. , an operator that serves 750,000 subscribers in parts of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. (See Who Will Bid for Insight Communications? .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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