Reports out of last week's The Cable Show event in Washington, D.C., suggested that several cable TV companies, such as Comcast, Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, now have plans for multi-room DVR services in the works. In at least some of the cases, these offerings will be based on Tru2way technology and could leverage Multimedia over Coax technology for in-home content distribution between DVRs.
For the cable TV industry, such capabilities have been a long time coming. Companies such as Comcast and Cox mentioned the possibility of multi-room DVR at least two years ago, if not earlier. Some of the technology to support the feature may have been available then, though the more recent rise of Truway could make it easier.
Meanwhile, the cable industry's telco TV competitors have not been waiting for the cable guys to make a commitment to multi-room DVR. AT&T, Verizon and others already offer whole-home or multi-room DVR services, and to date that has been one obvious edge that these offerings had over their cable TV counterparts.
Still, the competition for the couch potato has continued to be much more a war of stock-piling high-definition weaponry than anything else. Telco-cable-satellite TV competition has been all about who has the most HD channels. It is not clear that the telcos have fully leveraged multi-room DVR as a differentiator between their services and others, and in the coming months, we are more likely to see telco and cable TV competitors clash over who has the best multi-room DVR features. In that sense, multi-room DVR might be the next HD--the next service representing table stakes in the ongoing contest among TV service providers.
- Multichannel News has this story
Verizon upgraded its multi-room DVR service at CES2009
AT&T launched its whole-home DVR service last year