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Cable Companies Despise PVRs

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the convenience-is-awful dept.

Television 726

sbombay writes "I just came back from Broadband Plus (formerly the Western Cable Show) and was disappointed to find that cable companies despise PVRs. In his keynote speech, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said that the PVR amounts to 'the Napster of the future.' Cable World has a story about the speech and quotes from other cable execs bashing the PVR. The cable industry's opposition to the PVR boils down to two things -- PVRs help satellite companies (Dish and DirecTV) provide services like Video On Demand (VOD) and a PVR in a cable home cuts into VOD revenue. Any of the sessions at the show that touched the topic of PVRs were an opportunity for the cable industry to slam the PVR. The strongest attack came from Gary Lauder, a venture capitalist who has funded many cable related companies. During his 15-minute presentation, Lauder slammed his Replay box, 'it's too hot,' 'my wife doesn't know how to use it,' and he even tried to fry an egg on his PVR. He also openly called on the cable companies and Hollywood to sue the PVR companies for copyright infringement. If you love your PVR, the cable industry is not your friend." Update: 12/09 18:33 GMT by T : Gary Lauder wrote to say that this account misquotes and misinterprets his speech on certain points. Read below for his reaction.Gary Lauder writes: "I have 3 PVR's and love the functionality. My wife knows how to use it. The misquotation is that she did not know how to reboot it when it locked up. This was a piece of data in support of the following position:

My position that I expressed in my speech and that was inaccurately portrayed: PVR functionality should be provisioned from the headend for the following reasons (which ultimately will benefit consumers):

  1. VOD servers cost much less
    • If video servers @ $350/stream (Soon Component cost declining 40%/year
    • @ 10% simultaneous use, costs $35/sub.
    • PVRs cost >10X more
    • When simultaneous use = 50%, server costs will have declined >5X
  2. Disk noise wakes my wife
  3. Replay box hot enough to fry an egg -- Is that a feature?
  4. Disk size limitations mean obsolescence, esp. with HDTV
  5. Available on every set-top in house Average of 1.7 PVRs/PVR household
  6. No pro-activity/anticipation required
  7. Records multiple concurrent shows
  8. NW storage could always have max. res.
  9. Uses existing deployed base
  10. Moving parts break more often
  11. Box complexity means more crashes & customer support costs

My basic thesis is that PVRs + Satellite will eat cable's lunch, and since it's unambiguous that cable needs to get the copyright clearances to offer programming from the head-end, they should start now. It is the case that I suggested that if a Supreme Court case was brought on the legality of each feature of PVRs were brought, some would lose. I also suggested an alternative business model to make everybody happy to avoid the all-or-nothing result that has been occurring in the RIAA vs. Napster wars.

I suggested that consumers pay 1 cent per commercial skipped (which is about the same as what advertisers pay). That would be equivalent to $10/thousand commercials skipped. I think that's reasonable. I also suggested that targeted advertising could be a win-win for all involved by delivering ads in areas that are of greater interest to the viewer so that there would be less incentive to skip and fewer ads would have to be delivered due to the higher prices paid for the targeted group. I also predicted that this dynamic combined with competition between satellite and cable would ultimately make both services free."

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Huh? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4844119)

What do they think about my first post?

bullshit (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4844121)

If cable companies despise PVRs, why does AT&T sell Tivo, branded under their cable service?

Re:bullshit (5, Insightful)

jtkooch (553641) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844197)

I would assume the cable companies would love PVR's. I got HBO only after I got my TiVo, b/c now I can watch the Soprano's when it fits into my schedule, not theirs. It's not quite on demand programming, but the benefits and features cost the cable industry nothing.

Re:bullshit (5, Insightful)

cmeans (81143) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844247)

You can't (if you were) trying to equate HBO with a cable company. HBO is subscription based, so there's no ads (as such) to skip over/fast forward through. Yes they do advertize their own programming, but if you're paying for the HBO service...why should they care if you're actually watching it or not?

Cable companies, on the other hand, have to deal with advertizers who are seeing their dollars, potentially, go to waste on PVR users.

P.S. I love my TiVo, I am watching a lot more TV than I ever did before, and a lot fewer ads.

Re:bullshit (5, Informative)

tmhsiao (47750) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844208)

Because AT&T Broadband, despite all of their insipid customer service issues, doesn't have the paradigm block that Comcast apparently has. Either that or they recognize that despite objections, PVRs and PVR technology is the way consumers will want to view television in the future.

The other issue is cable companies losing the ability to sell/rent their own crappy boxes to their customers. Their revenue stream from these boxes can be two-fold--ads and sales/rentals.

I know that when I visit my parents in Miami, and use their shitty digital cable receiver box, I get big ads and huge banners which obscure the picture on the television. If my parents didn't live where the HOA frowned upon it, I'd tell them to get DirecTV.

Likewise, Charter. (3, Insightful)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844228)

Sounds like the small boys are the ones who are getting mad. Too bad the big boys are already enbracing it.

Re:bullshit (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4844246)

Ditto. Time Warner in nycap(Upstate NY) just started rolling out their "DVR" offering here on Friday. It's a digital cable box with a hard drive that's rented for an additional 4.95/mo. Who wants to bet that they're carefully tracking each and every program that gets recorded back at the head?

Works both ways... (5, Funny)

slipgun (316092) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844124)

If you love your PVR, the cable industry is not your friend.

And if you hate the cable industry, then the PVR is your friend.

And I despise... (2) (463190) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844129)

The fact that expect to force feed me with ads.
Time are changing. Tough shit.

Ads.... AARRGGHH!!!! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4844241)

THat's probably the *real* reason they hate PVRs, because you can skip the ads. My local cable company plays 14 minutes of program followed by 8 minutes of ads followed by 14 minutes of program followed by 8 minutes of ads, etc, ad nauseum. That's 57% ads and 43% program material. Bleaggghh!

What's even worse than PAYING to be bombarded by that is that they SYNCRONIZE the ads on most of all channels so you can't even channel-flip between channels to escape the ads.

Re:Ads.... AARRGGHH!!!! (3, Insightful)

ColdGrits (204506) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844306)

"My local cable company plays 14 minutes of program followed by 8 minutes of ads followed by 14 minutes of program followed by 8 minutes of ads, etc, ad nauseum. That's 57% ads and 43% program material. Bleaggghh!"

Erm, instead of worrying about adverts on TV, I suggest you go back to elementary school and learn some simply maths skills.

Clue - you are getting 36% ads and 64% program material. NOT the absurdly wrong figures you are trying to pretend.

Re:And I despise... (1)

CVaneg (521492) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844265)

That's not the best part.

MSO control makes it easier to keep ads in the programs as well as raise rates, he said in a session with CNBC anchor Bill Griffeth.

Thank god! I was worried that by watching more ads, I would have to pay the same amount, or god fobid, less. Fortunately, they seem to be working on a way to work in rate hikes too.

Re:And I despise... (1)

Ryne (78636) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844268)

And without the revenue ads provide they will be able to spend less money on the shows, meaning the quality of the shows will get worse (than they are now even). And people will complain that the cable companies have no good shows.
Times are changing. Tough shit.

We should be getting paid to watch advertisements. (4, Interesting)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844283)

And a lot of industry leaders are starting to agree. Not only on Cable television, but on the radio, and on the web. Anything we are bombarded with technically interrupts our time, and for that, companies should be paying for our time. It's quite a shift that's going to go on in the future, but companies are going to adapt with other revune models. Perhaps when then they pay us to watch an ad, and we actually buy something, they will get a cut. So they'll have to work to make things look appealing for a change. (Ie. To sell Britney Spears videos and CDs, show her in a thong etc)

I have been living under a rock (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4844130)

Can someone point me to a PVR page, one that explains it for newbies and what one to get say in Europe?

What's a PVR? (1)

3770 (560838) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844134)

Excuse my ignorance. But what is a PVR?

Re:What's a PVR? (5, Informative)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844189)

Personal video recorder. Think digital VCR. Many include functionality to say record all Simpson shows and it will can through it's "TV Guide" finding any episide of the Simpsons that may be showing. It also allows you to pause the football game to go make a trip to the bathroom, fast forward through commercials if you have previously recorded, repeat that funny scene, etc.

Re:What's a PVR? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4844190)

Personal Video Recorder

Re:What's a PVR? (1)

Albinoman (584294) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844220)

Personal Video Recorder Records shows you set and automatically remove the commercials for viewing later. They can hold a lot of video too, so its not urgent to watch them right away. The other bonus is that they dont use tapes, they use hard drives. Occasionally youll see them listed as DVR (TiVo does this), Digital Video Recorder.

PVR (2, Interesting)

devn2k (562912) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844135)

TimeWarner now has a PVR/Cable box combo...

Re:PVR (1)

mojogojo (577421) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844232)

PVR = Personal Video Recorder

It's a generic term for any device that allows you to record television to harddrive for playback later, and usually supports pausing live television.

ReplayTV and TiVo.. those are specific brandname PVR's. There are also videocards with built-in TV tuners with software that allow you to turn your computer into a "PVR" (I have a Radeon 7500DV card - which had everything included to set up a nice PVR right out of the box...).

Re:PVR (1)

s.o.terica (155591) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844296)

Time Warner doesn't have combo PVR/cable box -- what you're referring to is Video on Demand which lets you stream a very small subset of their programming (primarily HBO and Pay-Per-Views) from their servers.

VCR v. PVR (3, Interesting)

TheLogster (617383) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844138)

What the hell do you call a VCR - A PVR with upgradable storage...

Re:VCR v. PVR (4, Funny)

Oliver Wendell Jones (158103) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844162)

If you're VCR has an almost instantaneous 30-second skip button, then it's hated as well.

Re:VCR v. PVR (2)

mark_lybarger (199098) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844288)

i don't see how this relates at all to the OP, but what the hell. on a vcr, the ff button works quite nicely for going past commercials. why else does it show you the video while ff'ing? it's certainly not good on the tape to view while ff'ing.

pvr's are nice for gadget geeks who just plan don't want to learn to program their vcr, but the inability to archive materials is their biggest fallback. personally, i forsee personal dvd rw devices taking over the PVR (Tivo, etc) market space in the near future.

AT&T Selling TiVo (4, Interesting)

dreamt (14798) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844140)

So what about the fact that AT&T Broadband is selling their own branded TiVos? This kind of makes it difficult to say that they hate them.

Re:AT&T Selling TiVo (5, Funny)

mgs1000 (583340) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844194)

This is especially interesting now that ATT Broadband is owned by Comcast, and the president of Comcast is the one bitching about PVRs.

Re:AT&T Selling TiVo (0)

Jerdie (516662) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844236)

Same thing with my local cable company(Time Warner), they just started offering their own DVR service. It works great, and they sure as hell don't seem to 'hate' it.

Re:AT&T Selling TiVo (3, Interesting)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844272)

Not really. They might still hate the fact they exist, but they at least have the sense to realise that they aren't going away anytime soon so they might as well make money with them rather than lose money to them.

It's a bit like all these music companies finally starting to cotton on that the P2P networks aren't going to die, and at last trying to bring out their own services.

oh yea... (1)

mschoolbus (627182) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844142)

If you love your PVR, the cable industry is not your friend.

Like they were my friend before... I find a new reason why I want to rip all their heads off every month and I don't even watch much TV...

I am willing to bet that most people don't like their cable company... It is just one of those types of companies that nobody likes I think.

Always two-faced (3, Interesting)

jbarr (2233) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844146)

I love the two-faced approach of the cable industry. A while back AT&T partnered with ReplayTV to provide OEM'd ReplayTV boxes to some their cable customers.

They can't even get analogies right (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4844147)

PVRs are in no way like Napster, in the past, present or future. PVRs are like tape decks, VCRs, etc.

PVRs make the TV viewer happier, so that they WATCH MORE TV.

What do the cable companies and advertisers want you to do? WATCH MORE TV!

They need to get their heads out of their asses and realize just like how they were wrong about VCRs destroying the movie industry, they're wrong about this now.

It's amazing how these companies stay in business... One might think their monopolies had something to do with it.

Re:They can't even get analogies right (3, Informative)

wastedimage (266293) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844226)

The problem is they think that they are loosing money from the commercials we skip. They don't realize that most of us (pvr users..) view commercials as just another crappy imposed spam that we are forced to deal with. They're going to bitch and moan, suprise suprise.., because they think their loosing profits and what not when the simple fact of the matter is they won't. It seems like every biz nowadays is trying to blame some new innovation for loss in profits this quarter intead of realizing that ITS A DEPRESSION (slight though..) enhanced by their own ignorance of the new coming tech toys. I also don't understand how they can say watching more tv is a bad thing, but I can see it from their pov..kinda..They just need to realize they should embrace the new stuff! Not fight it..I can't figure out how these companies think they can bully everyone and win in the long haul. Their ignorance is simply amazing. The sheer fact that (with my blessed tivo heh) an hour program is only ~45 mins is silly. Some half-hour shows are only like 15mins or less! They need to quit focusing so much on profits and rethink their primary business models..

Re:They can't even get analogies right (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4844249)

And Random House and Webster "loose" revenue every year because Americans refuse to buy dictionaries and figure out how to fucking spell "lose".

Re:They can't even get analogies right (1)

wastedimage (266293) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844276)

1) I imagine there are also non-americans
2) Never!

24 "Gets It" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4844309)

I'm pretty sure that show is ad-free (atleast in the initial airing), except for a small mention about Ford sponsoring it. They also use only Ford vehicles. ("Get those terrorists... they're driving a NEW Ford Thunderbird, James Bond Edition.") If they can do that, why can't other networks? Friends could endorse a particular coffee. ("Mmmm, Chandler, this Yuban is delicious.")

Wrong! WATCH MORE ADS! (4, Insightful)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844250)

A good consumer will WATCH MORE ADS !

Sorry guys, but that just has no value to me. Watching TV shows does have some value to me, such that I will pay for cable, and (maybe) watch ads. But the whole point of the broadcast system is to get people to buy stuff.

(Of course, the FCC grants licenses to broadcasters with the understanding that they will serve the public good. Hey, kind of like how copyright law gives someone a grant on a public domain with the view that it will serve the public good. And just like copyright, these companies have forgotten (or ignored) that they're being a special dispensation with the understanding that they will give something back in return.)

The simple solution.... (2, Interesting)

dethl (626353) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844148)

is to go dish!

Re:The simple solution.... (2)

skroz (7870) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844275)

Sure, if you want lousy technical support, NO hardware support beyond warrantee, contracts, limited deployment with a single dish, multiple wires bored into your home to support more than one receiver, unreliable service during even slightly inclement weather, a retched browsable guide, limited selection of PVRs with native tuner support, and the dependance on line of sight (hint : if you have a dish installed in winter, take into account how many leaves are going to be on nearby trees in the summer.)

So yeah, I love my fucking dish.

Hmm, I think not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4844149)

Seeing how Time Warner is one of the largest, and still rapidly taking over smaller companies. It would seem this article is bogus as they are happily introducing their own PVRs. I submitted this awhile ago but you know the good ole slashdot editors!

Re:Hmm, I think not (1)

RabidOverYou (596396) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844264)

Uh, Time Warner, the one that's part of AOL Time Warner, the one that's imploding, right now, as I type? Laying off people? Running aground? Falling apart? That Time Warner?

Hold it (3, Interesting)

JohnnyBolla (102737) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844150)

Charter Communications is distributing these to thier customers, and they're linux based to boot, so get your facts right before you slam an entire industry.

Re:Hold it (3, Informative)

JohnnyBolla (102737) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844183)

In fact, here is the link from right here at slashdot. 1/18/139245 &mode=thread&tid=129
FUD. It's not just for Microsoft anymore.

Huh? (4, Insightful)

jtkooch (553641) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844154)

The words of one CEO shouldn't always reflect the opinion of the industry. AT&T has sent me a few offers to buy a TiVo directly through them.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4844218)

You didn't read the fine print. It is a non-fuction TiVo for display purposes only. This allow you to tell your friends "Yes, I have a TiVo." and even show it to them. Isn't that worth paying money for?

Re:Huh? (2)

RadioheadKid (461411) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844231)

Especially the words of a CEO whose company (Comcast) is starting to roll out their video on demand service. The basket in which they've put most of their eggs, as it were...

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4844294)

The words of one CEO shouldn't always reflect the opinion of the industry

Key word there kids is SHOULD. I don't give a fuck what you think it SHOULD reflect. The fact of the matter is, the words of that ceo DO reflect the opinion of the industry.

uhh VCRs!!! (2, Redundant)

Flamesplash (469287) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844155)

And while we're at it we can sue every VCR manufacturer and user ever!!

Oh Wait, that's EVERYONE.

Same "problem" different name.

It seems like the second you put "high tech" into a beaking a law that has been socially accepted to break all hell breaks loose.

Re:uhh VCRs!!! (1)

Peyna (14792) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844252)

Anyone can use a PVR, but VCR's take brains to use, so they're less of a threat I guess.

Help! Cable companies are STEALING from me! (5, Insightful)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844161)

What I don't understand is if I pay for cable programming, why the hell am I double-taxed by having to watch ads?!!!

They've been ripping me off for years, even before PVRs existed!


Hey, I'm only applying the same specious reasiong the media companies use to call me a pirate, a criminal and an ingrate!

multiple funding sources (4, Insightful)

timothy (36799) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844195)

I remember when the great thing about cable was the absence of commericals, movies running their entire length etc. (At least, that was the rumor -- my household didn't get cable until far later).

But it's like buying the Sunday paper -- the ads subsidize the (fairly low) cover price. Cable TV would cost more (or very well could) if they didn't also get funding from ads. (And Premium channels that *do* run uninterrupted movies are one example ...)


Re:multiple funding sources (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4844262)

When I first got cable in 1980 there were no commercials. Cable sux ass

Re:Help! Cable companies are STEALING from me! (2)

.sig (180877) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844289)

Yes, they probably are ripping you off, but not through 'double-taxing.' The reason you still have to watch ads is because very few people would pay several hundered dollars a month for something that they currently get for well under a hundred.
The cable companies, which in my area is a single monopoly, determine how much profit they want and rather than charging the customers the entire ammount, offset some of it with advertisements.

Then again, there's also the promotional ones, that serve to remind you what's coming on next, or what the movie of the week is , but that's a completely different story.

Real reason for cable woes (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4844164)

The real reason for cable woes is that they reduce their service and increase their prices.

Instead of doing the obvious thing like actually try to provide a better product, they instead encourage frivolous lawsuits against the competition.

(A case of lack of improvement: the new downgrade of digital cable. Sorry, cable companies, I like to channel surf. And a machine that requires an extra remote and takes 6 seconds to switch between channels is a No Go!)

Sad Sad Sad (1)

The Mole1314 (632584) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844166)

The napster of the future refrence is just to start things up. PVR's encourage useage of TV that cabel company's can't profit from. Mabey they should come out with their own PVR to counter act TiVo and them that'll only work on their own networks.

a quick observation about the submission. (0)

xerxes7 (266869) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844167)

sbombay is a very talkative and overreactive nance.

in soviet russia (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4844168)

the PVR companies despise cable

My cable company rents me a PVR for $10/month ... (2)

dougmc (70836) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844172)

I have two PVRs. One was provided by my cable company.

(It's a Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8000 I think.)

I much prefer my Tivo, but the cable box/PVR is nice too (mostly because it's the cable box as well, and can record two things at once. And it has an 80GB drive, larger than the 20GB my Tivo came with (it has 60GB now.))

Still, I'm planning on switching to DTV soon -- I want two of the Tivos that go with DTV (they're sweet -- they record the mpeg stream directly, so the quality is exactly the same. And of course they can record two things at once, which the SAE 8000 can, but my Tivo cannot.) Anybody know of a good DTV deal that includes two or three DTV Tivos at a good price if I sign up for a year or so?

Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4844173)

Cable Companies Despise PVRs

Sounds like a good reason for me to go and buy a TiVo today! :)

In Soviet Russia (-1, Redundant)

keesh (202812) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844174)

PVRs despise cable companies

unbeliveable (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4844176)

how these people throw around with words like napster and copyright infridgement. first they put them out of context with their media influence and now they use them spread fud and secure their business.

Now you listen here young (wo)man.. (1)

Scott (1049) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844185)

You're going to watch these commercials and you're going to like it! If you don't you'll be getting no desert. Also, we will cancel your cable subscription and take you to court and make it a law that you are required to enjoy advertising.

Honestly (1)

dknight (202308) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844186)

is the cable company ANYBODY's friend?

Yea ok, they provide cable internet access, good for them. Of course, they're also capping it and restricting its use in every way they can.

I'll admit, we have cable at home, but only because DSL isnt available. Is the phone company evil too? Absolutely, but it's the lesser of the two evils in my opinion.

Re:Honestly (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844286)

Around here, it's the opposite. Cox Cable is a tiny, friendly monopoly when compared to the likes of Southwestern Bell (SBC).

Napsterization?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4844188)

These people (Roberts) along with AT&T are fools.
They cornered the cable modem and set top box
market only to shoot their own leg off trying to
prevent any progress.


Ra Ra Retards (5, Interesting)

FatRatBastard (7583) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844192)

Man, cable companies really have their heads planted firmly up their ass. From the day that I got my TiVo I saw the potential of the PVR tailored for their market that would allow all kinds of value adding services. For instance, build a cable box where some of the storage capacity is used to store PPV moives. Instead of tying up cable channels with a limited set of monthly PPV moives you instead pipe down any movie they have in a catalogue down the TCP/IP data pipe and store it on the PVR. Thus, folks can stop, FF, RW pause a movie (just like a VCR/DVD), watch it multiple times over the course of a few days (or however long you allow them to view the movie) and allow subscribers to download any number of movies, not just the new releases. And it frees up cable channels to boot. If I ran a cable company I'd LOVE PVRs, and would be working with SonicBlue, TiVo, or Moto. design me a box and a back end post haste.

Re:Ra Ra Retards (1)

Wylfing (144940) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844270)

I'd have no problem paying for that kind of service. Who the hell runs their marketing department?

VCRs with Commercial Advance? (4, Insightful)

phreak404 (241139) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844196)

I can understand why cable companies are openly against PVRs with commercial skip and commercial removal capabilities, but why wasn't there this much of an outcry over VHS devices with the same commercial avoidance features?

The bottom line here is FairUse and the unfortunate news for them is once that signal enters your home (provided you haven't used any illegal methods for decoding it) its yours to do whatever you personally want to do with it (i.e. not rebroadcasting).

They hate (1)

BigBir3d (454486) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844198)

that they are not making big bucks off of them yet. PVR's have not exploded onto the market.

There are 100+ million TV's in the USA, and only 500,000 PVR's. How long ago did they come to market? Much slower growth than either the VCR or the DVD player enjoyed.

People in cable and tv industry bitch about PVR's because people can skip commercials. what they fail to realise is that i only go to the bathroom/kitchen/whatever during the commercials to begin with! i am reasonably confidant that they do the same thing.

i pay the cable company for access to the shows, not access to the commercials.

Libel / Slander (2)

4im (181450) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844199)

See subject. PVR companies should sue this guy for libel and slander.

They really are getting more ridiculous every day... dangerously ridiculous.

The cable industry our friend (4, Insightful)

Christianfreak (100697) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844202)

If you love your PVR, the cable industry is not your friend.

I don't have a PVR, but I can't recall a time when the cable industry has ever been my friend. $45 for exteneded basic cable services, and what do you get? 70 channels of ads. I can't stand watching TV! Slowly but surely commercial length is increasing while show time is decreasing. 1/3 of a 30 minute segment is commercials. Sure the PVR would fix that but even before this article everyone knew that someone was going to cry foul. The cable industry is just like the rest of the content industries, as soon as the content control is in our hands they bring in the lawsuits because they don't want to change.

Screw it! I'm about to move and I've already decided that I'm not going to pay the money every month to have junk piped to my home. /rant

All the invective (1)

Apparition-X (617975) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844205)

Just smells like fear to me. Well, gentlemen, wake up and smell the coffee. It is time to adapt (come up with a better business model that recognizes the range of technology choices available to consumeers) or die. Which is a lot tougher than putting Fritz Hollings in your pocket, isn't it?

Video On Demand? (1)

Taldo (583925) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844211)

So what the hell is VOD anyway? This is the first I've ever heard of it. Is it just pay per view under a different name? Rebranded so to speak?

And if so... do they REALLY think we're that stupid?

Re:Video On Demand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4844282)

No, they don't think we're that stupid, they think we're stupider.

Time Warner is onboard...kind of (2)

peterdaly (123554) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844214)

In Central New York (upstate, not the city), Time Warner Cable is offering a combination Digital Reciever/PVR.

I don't know much about the units, other than hearing they hold 40 hours, and integrate with the digital cable TV Guide type thing.

They must have the if you can't beat them, join them attitude when it comes to PVR's. The devices cost about $10 a month, on top of digital cable. All in all, that does not sound like a bad price to me , when your consider that is what the service alone costs for most third party PVR's like TiVo.

Does anyone know more about this unit? Is the software crap? Is it smart like Tivo, recording things you might like?

Anyway, they don't ALL hate EVERYTHING about PVR's.


PVR Backlash (5, Interesting)

cafebabe (151509) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844217)

Is it just me or have other people also been noticing a lot of anti-TiVo news stories lately like this [] ? I feel like there has been a big uptick in the number of "TiVo is Big Brother" articles lately. Since many publishing and news agencies are in bed with cable companies, I wonder if they are trying to use the media to promote a negative image for PVRs.

Brian Roberts doesn't get it (5, Interesting)

AWhistler (597388) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844219)

If cable companies would just learn to work WITH PVR's, they would actually make MORE money with their pay-per-view/VOD offerings. It's simple. The advertisement for it would go like this: "Order SuperBowl ZZZZ now on pay-per-view, and we will program your TiVo/ReplayTV to record it for you automatically!" They could then extend that to say "you can now order your cable TV BY THE SHOW instead of by the channel. The cost is $XX.XX per season, or $X.XX per show." Then they wouldn't have to worry about commercials as much since they have people only paying for what they want to watch. But then again, cable companies are too lazy to be creative, being too interested in maintaining current business models and not finding new ones.

Re:Brian Roberts doesn't get it (1)

buckminster (170559) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844291)

Yep, this is exactly the direction they should be going. I find that I actually order pay-per-view MORE now that I've got a TiVo. I record stuff in the middle of the night and watch it two weeks later. In the past it was always too much of a pain to sit down and watch PPV programming when it was on. Not to mention the fact that you're pretty much locked to the TV watching a show you've paid for for a 2 hour period. Now I can pause PPV, rewind, etc.

Gary Lauder (5, Funny)

FreeLinux (555387) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844229)

Lauder slammed his Replay box, 'it's too hot,' 'my wife doesn't know how to use it,' and he even tried to fry an egg on his PVR.

So, he doesn't like them. He thinks they are for copyright violation. He thinks cable companies should sue the PVR manufacturers. So, why does he own one and why is he pissed that his wife can't operate it.

Hey Gary, can she set the clock on your old VCR?

Time Warner Cable seems to have a different view (5, Informative)

proxima (165692) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844233)

I don't think every cable company hates PVRs. In fact, Time Warner Cable is rolling out their own PVR, called iControl [] . It has basic PVR functionality, but it's main purpose for the cable company is pushing on-demand movings that you can pause, etc. as if you rented it.

Ironic that Time Warner Cable would do this, as it's part of the much larger AOL Time Warner which seems torn between the content provider and the content producer mode - the company owns lots of record companies and movie studios. Yet AOL and Time Warner Cable seem to be doing things the content part of the company doesn't like. It's like watching Sony make mp3 players and yet be distributing copy-restricted CDs.

Why I prefer satellite TV providers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4844234)

They just have a far less anticompetitive nature than cable providers. The cable companies were happy with their respective monopolies they had a few years back, but now they are pissed because "outsiders" are competing with em, and they can't rip off the customer as much as they used to anymore. Now that this has arrisen, I now KNOW with zero doubt that cable providers are evil :)

Still Like Cable for Broadband... (3, Interesting)

BadlandZ (1725) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844235)

I'm about to switch from my cable+TiVo combo to a DirecTiVo combo now that the new Series II DirecTiVo's are out, but I'm keeping my cable. At least with DirecTiVo, I can record 2 channels at once, and get real 5.1 sound.

In my area, Cable Modem speeds blow away DSL (epically when you look at the price/performance factors). So, to get a $10/month discount on my cable internet, I'm going to keep the $9.95 basic local channel option on my cable TV bill.

It strikes me very odd that Cable has the best potential tap into mass market broadband, and they are wasting any time worried about Satellite TV or PVR's. Satellite is not threat in the broadband department. And, if we ever do get to mass sharing of TV broadcast ala Napster like stuff, we will need broadband more than ever (even if the shows come from satellite). Even thought I am one of the people switching, I'm still keeping my broadband with the cable company.

Maybe in your country (2)

sheriff_p (138609) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844238)

In the UK, Sky ( a major cable provider ) actually sells this as a service...

what I don't get (1)

chinakow (83588) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844243)

is that for some reason I am ok with paying money to watch commercials, I mean aside from HBO and their ilk, I watch more commercials on channels that I have to pay for than I do for local channels, how I justify this, I don't know

Time Warner Cable Uses PVRs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4844245)

I live in Austin, TX and Time Warner Cable offers a PVR set-top digital cable service for an additional $9.00 a month. It's a beta run that they plan on expanding to the rest of the US. I've played with one and it's nice. I believe it has like 40 hours of HQ. So, not all cable companies hate PVR...

Similarly, (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4844254)

the movie/TV industry hated VCR's. And they now make most of their revenue off of it.

My friend??? (2)

Kaa (21510) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844258)

If you love your PVR, the cable industry is not your friend.

LOL. I don't have a PVR and don't love it, but I have very strong doubts the cable industry is my friend, anyway.

But is anyone surprised by cable industry's attitude? They (and the most of content industry) really want to sell you "views" -- opportunity to watch (or hear) something once and once only. Want to watch or hear it again? Pay again.

They rased SF Bay Area cable rates by about $0.10 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4844260)

They rased SF Bay Area cable rates by about $0.10 a month because of "rising costs" and they want me to be their friend?? SCrew them and thanks to my Sony TiVo I can "google" my way and record shows I only want to watch. If they don't like me fast forwarding through their commercials, then ban those retared Old Navy commercials!

Sounds like... (2)

GMontag (42283) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844263)

Sounds like I need to build my own and hook it up to my cable connection QUICK!

Thats why I use Dish... (1)

kperrier (115199) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844271)

This is why I don't give any cable company my money.


Surprise, surprise! (-1, Troll)

someguy42 (609667) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844274)

"If you love your PVR, the cable industry is not your friend." Well duuuh!

At least it's not (5, Interesting)

Waab (620192) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844278)

At least it's not a perfectly clear-cut issue of right and wrong.

Back in the early days of broadcasting, there was quite a bit of debate as to how broadcasters should pay their expenses. Right or wrong, the system that emerged had broadcasters selling air time to advertisers. Thus, consumers get the content "free" on the assumption that they will hear/see the ads and go spend money.

The television delivery system has now evolved to the point where most people pay a third party (cable company, satellite company) to deliver a high-quality signal straight into their home, negating the need for an actual broadcast signal. So now consumers pay the third party, the third party has a financial arrangement with the "broadcasters", and the "broadcasters" still sell ad time.

The question is now, what do the consumers owe the broadcasters? Are all the monthly cable bills enough to cover the expenses of the cable companies and content providers? If so, there's no need for ads. If not, would you pay a higher cable bill to have ad-free content?

In the beginning, broadcasters sold ads to pay for content. Now, broadcasters work on content to sell ads. Personally, I figure once the signal I've paid for is in my home, it's mine to do with as I please, so long as the use is strictly personal.

Dear Cable Companies: (2, Insightful)

sootman (158191) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844284)

Too fucking bad. We're the consumers, it's what we want, deal with it.

The cable companies have never been your friend (5, Interesting)

spazimodo (97579) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844290)

The cable monopolies are just like any other service provider monopolies - terrified of change, and totally freaked out when people don't buy %100 into their latest revenue generation scheme.

I find particularly funny the latest "don't get a satellite dish!" ads (even though IMO dishes offer much better service) There's one in particular playing here in Boston (On broadcast TV mind you) where these two parents say how "they have 5 kids and going 5 minutes without TV would be worse than cancer"

Preaching to the converted? (1)

matlokheed (602233) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844295)

"During his 15-minute presentation, Lauder slammed his Replay box, 'it's too hot,' 'my wife doesn't know how to use it,' and he even tried to fry an egg on his PVR. He also openly called on the cable companies and Hollywood to sue the PVR companies for copyright infringement. If you love your PVR, the cable industry is not your friend."

I don't know how anyone else views this, but to nearly anyone who's had any experience, a statement like this sounds more like "I'm trying to find something wrong with it". The average user doesn't notice the heat buildup (and I know I've never noticed any heat buildup on my ReplayTV 4000). And his wife can't understand it? Can his wife understand the TV Guide? It's a lot more difficult to follow.

Then again, telling this at a convention made for cable companies is preaching to the converted.

Dunno. Just my 2 cents.

No Commercials!!!! (1)

Albinoman (584294) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844298)

When am I gonna find time to go get a snack, piss, or browse competing stations for a new show?!

I only have one thing to say ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4844300)

Burkle-Durkee ... You know, the sound the guitar makes in the the beginning of The Dukes of Hazzard!

Justa Good 'ole boy!

Why is AT&T and TW/AOL selling PVRs? (1)

zachusaf (540628) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844301)

Because the enemy of your enemy is your friend. AT&T and Time Warner dosen't like TiVO. TiVO, presumably being a business and wanting to corner the market, dosen't like competition. By intoducing their own PVRs, the cable companies can hope to get a share of the market, eventually hoping to control the market and use it to suit their own agenda.

good for delayed content on demand (1)

Stonent1 (594886) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844302)

You could easily place a PPV order for a fight, sports game or movie to be viewed whenever you wanted it, and have the PVR download it. If they are really being snooty about it, but a time limit on it. Such as an in-demand movie. Just send it to the pvr and give you x number of days to view it. Makes money for the companies.

You don't need a PVR (2)

rknop (240417) | more than 11 years ago | (#4844303)

Unless you're a high paid executive in the industry or a congressman receiving extreme donations, the cable industry is not your friend!

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