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DVRs No Big Deal Yet

What's the big deal about DVR?

Alan Breznick

August 1, 2006

1 Min Read
DVRs No Big Deal Yet

6:00 PM -- To hear some people tell it, digital video recorders (DVRs) are totally transforming the TV landscape, giving hordes of viewers unprecedented control over what they watch and when they watch it. The networks are crying foul. Advertisers are quaking and shaking in their boots.

Indeed, the number of folks with DVRs in their homes is certainly on the upswing. In a new survey, Leichtman Research Group Inc. (LRG) found that about 12 percent of U.S. households have a DVR. That's up from a mere 3 percent just two years ago, before most cable operators were actively hawking the machines.

Likewise, a recent study by the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) found that 17 percent of cable homes have a DVR, up from a modest 7 percent only a year earlier. Even more impressively, the study found, 30 percent of digital cable subscribers now have one of these newfangled digital recorders.

So DVRs really are a big deal, eh? Uh, not really. Even though they may now be in close to 15 million American homes, they haven't exactly revolutionized the way that most of us watch TV just yet.

Consider some other LRG study tidbits. Despite the jump in DVR take rates, the consulting group found that recorded DVR programs still account for an extremely tiny share of all TV viewing. In fact, DVR and video-on-demand programs together accounted for less than 4 percent of all U.S. TV viewing, up from about 2 percent a year ago, as viewers tend to watch them only as a last resort.

So let's not jump the gun yet on DVRs, OK? Come back in three or four years and then we'll talk.

— Alan Breznick, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

About the Author(s)

Alan Breznick

Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

Alan Breznick is a business editor and research analyst who has tracked the cable, broadband and video markets like an over-bred bloodhound for more than 20 years.

As a senior analyst at Light Reading's research arm, Heavy Reading, for six years, Alan authored numerous reports, columns, white papers and case studies, moderated dozens of webinars, and organized and hosted more than 15 -- count 'em --regional conferences on cable, broadband and IPTV technology topics. And all this while maintaining a summer job as an ostrich wrangler.

Before that, he was the founding editor of Light Reading Cable, transforming a monthly newsletter into a daily website. Prior to joining Light Reading, Alan was a broadband analyst for Kinetic Strategies and a contributing analyst for One Touch Intelligence.

He is based in the Toronto area, though is New York born and bred. Just ask, and he will take you on a power-walking tour of Manhattan, pointing out the tourist hotspots and the places that make up his personal timeline: The bench where he smoked his first pipe; the alley where he won his first fist fight. That kind of thing.

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