Note: Cloud Computing & Network DVRs


Cablevision is going ahead with its plan to implement a network Digital Video Recorder. Cablevison plans to:

roll out a system in early 2009 that will let viewers record any show without a DVR, only a digital set-top box. Shows will be stored on Cablevision’s servers instead of a home DVR — a shift the company said could save it upward of $700 million…

Craig Moffett, senior analyst at Sanford Bernstein, said the network DVR will save cable companies money because DVR boxes make up as much as 10 percent of their capital spending.

The boxes cost as much as $400 for high-definition, and it can take years to recoup that cost with monthly fees.

Once it’s that easy for subscribers to record shows, Moffett sees usage tripling to 60 percent of cable households.

Neat enough; not having to provide every household with a hard drive and sophisticated electronics saves money for all concerned. But not all companies are following suite. Cox in particular is worried that it doesn’t have enough bandwidth to do the same:

The challenge of managing bandwidth is one reason Cox Communications Inc. isn’t jumping into network DVR just yet. Peak usage among DVR customers who record programs could more than quadruple with network DVR, said Steve Necessary, vice president of video product development and management at Cox.

Cablevision has the bandwidth, in part, because it has shifted to an all-digital system.—Lafayette denizens should note that LUS’ all fiber, all digital network will have bandwidth burn inside the network; more than enough to emulate a DVR.

But going all digital (or all-IP in more recent coinage) has other advantages. Cablevision will be able to offer online storage for customer’s video’s and photosets that could be easily shown on the big TV screen. What Cablevision will not have is the bandwidth to run applications over the net… they’d just be too slow. On the other hand Lafayette’s network could support a DVR function, storage and online apps without strain. Big Bandwidth and Big Storage allow a whole set of new applications to be run over the net. Folks ought to start thinking about it.

This is just a note. What do you think?