Video services

DirecTV VO-Whenever

6:00 PM -- Bill Burns, Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q)’s biggest fan, had this to say about his recent use of DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV)’s new video on-demand (VOD) service:
When I had Comcast, I was able to watch VOD – and it was pretty much ready to go when I was. And you could watch a video with no commercials. Sure, the controls were sluggish, but it worked pretty well.

I now have DirecTV. In order to get VOD, I had to hook up the DVR to my home network (and VOD only works if you have a DVR). You have to download the VOD content to the DVR. I have a speedy connection at home (8 Mbit/s) but it still took quite some time to download. You can start watching a video after it is 66 percent downloaded. Still, two things that annoyed me.

First, some of the content from the networks (like Heroes and The Office from NBC) cost $0.99 per episode for a 24 hour rental! I haven’t downloaded any of those. Second, the free VOD content I did download had commercials! Fortunately, it ends up on your DVR like any other content, so I was able to skip them. But I found that very interesting.

Since I can’t watch “VOD” – on demand – on DirecTV, I find it obnoxious that I have to pay $0.99 for an episode that I have to wait to download, yet only have 24 hours to watch. I do think it’s funny, however, that I’m getting my DirecTV video on demand using my Comcast Internet connection.

I’m sure Comcast will find that funny, too.

— Phil Harvey, The Editor, Light Reading

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