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Cablevision's Expanding Network DVR

Superstorm Sandy walloped Cablevision Systems Corp. in the fourth quarter, but it didn't prevent the MSO from broadening its deployment of DVR Plus, the company's network DVR. (See Cablevision Feels Sandy's Wrath.) Cablevision President and CEO Jim Dolan noted on Thursday morning's earnings call that DVR Plus is now offered in the "vast majority" of its Optimum East area, which covers systems serving New York, Connecticut and New Jersey (Cablevision is in the process of selling its Optimum West systems to Charter Communications Inc.). According to the Web page dedicated to the service, DVR Plus is currently offered in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island and Westchester, N.Y., and in Connecticut. The service is capable of running on a handful of set-top box models made by Samsung Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. (Scientific-Atlanta). Dolan also shared some of the first usage stats I've heard about service, which debuted in the Bronx in January 2011. He said the system presently supports more than 10 million recordings and is handling more than 3 million playbacks per week. Cablevision, which ended the year with 3.19 million video subs, has not revealed how many customers are subscribing to DVR Plus. (See Cablevision's Network DVR Debuts in the Bronx.) The $10.95-per-month DVR Plus service hasn't changed much storage-wise since its launch -- it still provides enough capacity for about 24 hours of HD programming or 100 hours of standard-def content, and there's still no mention of any sort of storage upgrade option. But DVR Plus, Dolan noted, got access to an enhanced interface last year. On the user interface front, Cablevision's new cloud-based guide for set-tops, internally called Onyx, is starting to spread out. Cablevision SVP Kristin Dolan said Onyx is deployed on the Samsung boxes and will be moving to the MSO's Cisco/Scientific-Atlanta boxes "in the coming weeks." And that's pretty impressive progress considering that the guide's testing lab was underwater and unusable for three weeks courtesy of Sandy.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable



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