There's a new DVR service in town.
Not content to let Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) soak up all the DVR glory, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is now trialing a "Super DVR" service that lets users record and watch up to 15 programs at the same time. TV ads for the service were spotted in select cities back in May and reported by users on the DSLReports forums.
Since then Multichannel News has confirmed (subscription required) that Comcast is piloting its Super DVR in the northeastern regions of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Connecticut, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.
While Comcast is marketing the Super DVR as something new, it appears that the branded service is really only a way of highlighting to consumers that they can hook three X1 set-tops together to maximize tuning and recording capacity. A source within Comcast noted that it's actually possible for X1 users to combine set-tops in any Xfinity market, and that the service should work with both Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) and Pace plc DVRs. Comcast leases DVRs for $20 per month each. (See Comcast Cloud DVR Storms Down East Coast.)
Touting the recording capacity of a DVR service -- like promoting the number of HD channels in an earlier year -- is the new marketing measure for pay-TV providers. However, it's not clear that subscribers actually care about being able to watch and record more than a handful of shows at once.
On the marketing score sheet, Comcast now ties Cablevision, which also enables recording of up to 15 shows with its network-based DVR. Verizon supports 12 concurrent shows with its Quantum TV service.
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading