There are plenty of ways to look at last week’s court decision that let stand Cablevision’s network, or remote-storage digital video recording (nDVR or RS-DVR) platform.

There is the Hollywood, or content provider, angle. After all, it was The Cartoon Network (interestingly: a Turner company, which is a Time Warner company) that originally filed suit against Cablevision.

In reversing the original ruling against Cablevision, the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Second Circuit ruled against what Turner had argued was in its own best interests.

"Cablevision beats back entertainment industry" – so reads the subhead on a posting at

It is a loss for Turner, and it will be appealed. But many on the content side separately have made peace with Time Warner Cable’s StartOver platform in the interim, indicating that the entertainment industry views network storage-related technologies in nuanced terms. Ads and networks There is the related angle of advertising, the potential loss of which by fast-forwarding consumers is what prompted Turner to cry foul in the first place.

It’s a topic that surfaced in a separate conversation on advanced advertising with ARRIS Director of Product Strategy Paul Delzio.

"It’s easy to manage network-based devices," Delzio said. "Rather than replacing 2 million set-top boxes, just upgrade systems internally."

That applies to network-based advanced advertising as well, which could not only enable the delivery of more relevant messages, but also could possibly disable the fast forwarding functionality that programmers fear.

As for what technologies are required to graft nPVR onto an existing VOD infrastructure, ARRIS Senior Director of Business Development Jeff Brooks pointed to the set-top, the backoffice and capacity planning.

"In the user interface today, there is no look-ahead-and-select functionality for the recording piece," Brook said. That missing application is what interacts with the guide on the set-top, the set-top itself and the back office.

The biggest piece at the backend, Brooks said, "is the database to keep up with all those requests and tell the system to execute and record when the program actually airs." HDDs, DLNA, Google As for how much of a hit the in-home DVR market takes from a revived nDVR platform, IMS Research for one expects multiple challenges for DVRs and the hard-disk drives they require.

"Cablevision’s legal victory … allows it to provide those (network DVR) services at significantly lower cost by reducing the number of DVRs – and therefore hard disk drives (HDDs) – in the homes it serves," the research firm said in a statement.

"However, this threat to DVR and HDD volumes is flanked by an equally large threat from DLNA-based home media networking."

Need a fresher on DLNA? Take a look at this primer in Communications Technology from last summer.

And if you’re wondering whether nDVR is actually going forward, or as this LightReading headline put it, "Still Paused," read this analysis of the case by Michael Harris, who said the latest ruling also bodes poorly for Google’s video delivery business.

– Jonathan Tombes

The Daily


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