Time Warner Cable Launches Network DVR (Sort Of)

Folks in San Antonio are getting a free TWC upgrade today in the form of “Start Over,” a service that lets you restart a show in progress using an existing digital cable box. It’s not exactly a full fledged DVR, but it’s an interesting spin on the “network DVR” concept for folks who don’t get (both figuratively and literally) DVRs. Video is not stored locally, but rather stored at the cable company headend. My guess is the service utilizes technology Motorola picked up with their Broadbus acquisition, namely the B-1 Video Server which uses DRAM for denser storage and greater video “ingest” speeds.

“Start Over” has been active in South Carolina field tests for some time and hasn’t drawn the ire of networks/studios like CableVision’s network DVR has — looks like Time Warner has been proactively making deals, rather than making proclamations.

I do wonder why the marketing gurus didn’t come up with a better branding… While descriptive, “Start Over” sounds like an episode of daytime talk or a support group slogan.

San Antonio Express News writes: While Start Over lets viewers rewind and pause programs, they cannot fast-forward or use Start Over to skip commercials. And, initially, only a portion of Time Warner’s programming can be restarted. The company must negotiate agreements with the networks it carries and with content producers like Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema before it can make shows Start Over-enabled. It wants to avoid legal troubles like cable provider Cablevision Systems Corp. experienced this year when studios and networks sued it over a new video-on-demand service. The service, experts said, will appeal to the 65 percent of Time Warner digital customers who don’t pay up to $9 extra a month for the company’s digital video recorder.

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