More Time Warner DVR Fakery


Last year, Time Warner Cable brought us “Start Over” which allows one to start a television show from the beginning (while it’s still being broadcast) if, say, you’re running late. I guess Start Over is such a success (available in 23 states, 8 more by the end of the year) that TWC is expanding their fake DVR-OnDemand hybrid:

The service, called Look Back, will let cable customers watch certain shows later on that they missed, just the way a digital video recorder does, but without an extra monthly fee. The fast-forwarding function will be turned off, however, and consumers will be limited to watching programs later on during the day they are shown, anytime before midnight.

Neither Look Back nor Start Over store content locally on the cable box. They both provide rewind and pause, but TWC has intentionally left fast forward out – forcing folks to sit through commercials. The lesson here is: Sometimes you get exactly what you pay for… and these services are “free.” For $10 or $15 a month, I think most folks (who understand what DVRs can do) would prefer to schedule their own recordings (that do not turn into pumpkins at midnight) and fast forward at will.

(Via Engadget. Thanks for the reminder, Mike!)

5 thoughts on “More Time Warner DVR Fakery”

  1. Evil. I feel it’s gonna get worse before it gets better.

    I see this kind of “customer abuse” in other industries, with one commonality – they are all “sunset” companies with the outmoded “vendor lock” business plan.

    Try to think of things like DVRs with no fast forward as the last dying breaths of dinosaurs desperate to stop their own extinction.

  2. I don’t see how its useful since you only have until midnight to watch a primetime show you missed. Without fast forwarding, that means you will be up real late trying to watch a show that just went off the air? I can’t see how anyone would even want this.

  3. Part of the issue here is that Cablevision lost the network DVR case, so for the moment network DVRs are illegal in the US. Features like this rely on negotiating the right to use it with each channel. CBS for example isn’t enabled for these features, while I think most of the other biggies are. The channels are more likely to enable because you can’t skip the commercials.

    For a free service, I think its fine. There’s probably a subset of people for whom this is adequate. For the rest of us, pay for a DVR.

  4. CBS for eample isn’t enabled for these features

    Which is interesting since CBS shows are available On Demand via Comcast.

  5. I don’t mind commercials at all: in fact many of them are hilarious, so if they want to leave out the fast forwarding that’s fine by me. However giving people the only option to watch something the same day its aired is a horrible idea.

    I can’t see why DVRs can’t just have their fast forwarding option removed : I can’t watch the Office and 30 rock at 11pm on Thursdays due to work, so recording them so I can watch during the weekends is ideal.

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