In a move to bring basic digital video recorder (DVR) functionality to the masses, Time Warner Cable is cooking up a television service offering called 'Start Over.' As part of a broader programming renewal deal, NBC Universal Cable has agreed participate with its USA, CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo, and SCI FI networks.
Time Warner is readying a test of Start Over in Columbia, S.C. with plans to roll the service out further by the end of 2005. As the name implies, Start Over provides Time Warner Cable customers the ability to restart enabled television shows that are already in progress. Additionally, users can pause and rewind shows, but not fast-forward through commercials. It is a clearly a compromise offering, providing digital cable customers DVR-like functionality without the need for a set-top hard-drive, and allaying programmers' fears about DVR users skipping commercials.
Start Over will be available to Time Warner Cable digital customers for no additional charge, providing a nice value-added differentiator for the MSO's digital TV offering.
It is also an important icebreaker in the cable industry's move toward additional 'network DVR' type services.