Video services

Cablevision's Network DVR Branches Out

Following its initial launch in the Bronx about three months ago, Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) has quietly introduced DVR Plus, its ambitious remote-storage DVR service, to Connecticut.

The MSO has not formally announced the service expansion, but its Web page dedicated to DVR Plus identifies that the service is now available in the state, where it serves about 250,000 customers in cities such as Litchfield, Bridgeport and Norwalk.

An MSO spokesman confirmed via email that DVR Plus launched in Connecticut on April 5.

Cablevision soft-launched DVR Plus on Jan. 18 in the Bronx, providing 160GB of network-based storage for $10.95 per month -- the same price for the MSO's local, set-top-based DVR service. Customers must have a minimum subscription to Cablevision's Family Cable tier to become eligible for DVR Plus. (See Cablevision's Network DVR Debuts in the Bronx .)

The storage is enough to hold about 100 hours of standard-definition programming or 25 hours of HD. Like local DVRs, DVR Plus also supports a temporary network-based buffer that can store up to 15 minutes of live video.

The first iteration of the product lets subscribers record up to four shows while watching a fifth already-recorded show.

Cablevision is using the network DVR in lieu of a more traditional whole-home DVR that would rely on technology like Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) to shuttle video from TV to TV. The decision could help Cablevision reduce its set-top capex bill significantly. The company, which has stopped ordering physical DVRs, believes the RS-DVR's use of a new downloadable security system could help reduce spending to about $50 per box. (See Cablevision Eyes $50 Set-Top and Cablevision Makes its Security Deadline.)

At this juncture, DVR Plus only supports a limited number of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)-made set-top models, and Cablevision has yet to extend support to CableCARD-based devices.

Cablevision has not said how many customers have signed up for DVR Plus or provided a timeline for an across-the-board rollout for the service. However, the recent expansion to systems in Connecticut offers a good indication that its deployment in the Bronx has been able to handle the traffic load.

Cablevision launched DVR Plus following a string of delays and after it overcame programmer-led suits alleging that the MSO's RS-DVR violated copyrights. With that legal hurdle removed, other U.S. cable MSOs may follow suit with similar network DVR services. (See DoJ: Butt Out of Cablevision RS-DVR Case , Court Resurrects Cablevision's Network DVR and Time Warner Cable Eyeing Network DVR Case .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:07:40 PM
re: Cablevision's Network DVR Branches Out Any CVC customers in the Bronx or CT who have signed up for this? What do you think of it?
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