Remote DVR-ing: Where Is It?
In Jan, DirecTV launched a remote DVR feature that lets subs schedule their DVRs remotely via any broadband connection. At the time, Pali‘s Rich Greenfield put out a research note titled, "Why does it always feel like DirecTV is a step ahead?" Just a month before, Cfaxhad noted that the feature has been long talked about by cable, but still was unavailable for the most part. So, now that we’re approaching the halfway mark for ’08, where is cable on this front? The good news is that some subs do have it. Charter launched the feature in 4Q to subs with Digeo Moxi boxes who also take HSD in St Louis; Greenville, SC; Madison, WI; and Birmingham, AL. Charter’s talking to other set-top providers about offering the service as well. The MSO’s survey of customers found that those with remote DVR scheduling record with the DVR approximately 18 hours/week vs 16 hours/week for non-users. The service also got high marks in accuracy of recording the correct program, reliability and ease of use, a spokeswoman said. For the most part, however, cable subs don’t have remote scheduling. Comcast still promises that the service is "coming soon" on its Fancast.com site. A spokeswoman said there are no updates on the feature at this time. Time Warner Cable has been quieter on the issue. But when contacted by Cfax, a TW rep said the MSO’s currently developing a Web-based scheduling feature and hopes to have it ready by 1Q ’09. Cox doesn’t currently offer the feature, but a spokesman said it’s "in the works." Similarly, Cablevision says it’s looking at it. Verizon, which has promised to launch the feature this year, appears to be moving a little closer. Last week, it launched its FiOS TV Central Website (www.verizon.com/fiostvcentral), which will eventually allow remote DVR programming. Telco sisterwww.verizon.com/fiostvcentral AT&T was the 1st to offer remote DVR scheduling for both U-Verse and AT&T Homezone customers, launching it for U-Verse in Apr ’07. AT&T declined to provide any stats on usage, though a spokeswoman said customer use has "really even been beyond what we anticipated."