Time Warner Cable (TWC), like many other forward-thinking cable operators, started working on a personal video recorder back in 2003 as a hedge against the growing popularity of TiVo (TIVO). Four years later, the company has finally gotten around to releasing its service, except it lacks any ability to skip through commercials or fast-forward through video.
Cablevision (CVC), another New York-based cable operator, last year was trying to launch its own centralized DVR, but its forward thinking got the company sued. The TV executives missed the point: If the content was centralized, there was very little chance of people ripping it off their drives to share with friends.
Time Warner Cable didn’t want to take the risk, and instead came up with what is essentially a virtual hard drive, devoid of any intelligence. As for the inability to fast-forward, Mike Masnick at Techdirt puts it best: “The lack of the skipping features is an attempt to appease the content owners and advertising community, and once again proves that cable operators don’t seem to realize that subscription paying people are their primary (and only) customers.”
The service reminds me of a Dodo, and like the bird it is going to be extinct soon. And to think that it took them four years to come up with it; you have to wonder about the technical abilities of the incumbents.