Cable companies are reacting to phone companies' TV plans and are devising ways to fend off the competition:
- Cablevision plans to begin testing the RS-DVR system on Long Island in the second quarter of 2006. Using existing set-top cable boxes rather than dedicated DVR units, subscribers will be able to record up to 80 GB of programming (about 45 hours of television) and record up to two programs simultaneously while watching a previously recorded show.
- Time Warner has started early talks with broadcast networks regarding a new "instant re-run" service. Time Warner can record popular television programming and offer subscribers the ability to call up that programming on demand soon after the broadcast.
Although the storage costs of a broadly available RS-DVR service are formidable, cable operators find the service compelling as it offers some economy of scale and allows use of existing digital set-top boxes. However, RS-DVR capabilities may cut into the market for downloads of programming and/or VoD services of television programmers and networks and create some issues for operators.
- In an attempt to keep pace with Verizon's FiOS, Comcast has doubled download speeds of its fastest broadband service in four areas: Reston, VA; Sarasota, FL; Fort Wayne, IN; and Howard County, MD. Comcast is automatically upgrading customers of its premiere broadband service to 16 Mbps from 8 Mbps for downloads and 1 Mbps for uploads from 768 Kbps at $52.95 per month.
The selected cities also happen to be where Verizon is offering its FiOS service. Comcast says it is increasing download speeds to test new applications it plans to offer its broadband customers and not to compete with Verizon's FiOS.