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November 29, 2004
Beyond TiVo (Or Not)
What benefits does "competition" in the digital video recorder (DVR) market bring consumers in the post-ReplayTV litigation world? If the details in this USA Today piece on DirecTV's DVR-in-planning are any indication, not many.
We knew we couldn't expect to see a major breakthrough in functionality; after all, the copyright cartel has stuck a fork in the DVR, and it wouldn't take very kindly to anyone daring to innovate "outside the TiVo." Here's what we get instead:
- identical functionality (surprise!);
- except not really, because you won't be able to jump over commercials entirely using the 30-second hack;
- video-on-demand included as part of the service; and
- it'll be cheaper to get video-on-demand + "TiVo" -- nice if you're already purchasing both separately.
And finally, the most exciting new feature of all (at least according
to Abe Peled, the CEO in charge): you get to pay for your pay-per-view movie when you watch it, rather than when you first select it for purchase. So you can, you know, change your mind and stuff.
For comparison's sake, check out the list of features you could have if you decided to make your own DVR from scratch -- including the "feature" companies like HBO take away in order to sell back to you: the ability to make fair use of recorded programs and movies.
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