Courts Kill Cablevision RS-DVR

When you record a program with your DVR, does it matter whether the hard drive lives in your set-top box or on your cable company's network? Yes it does matter, a federal district court has ruled, effectively killing Cablevision's Remote Storage DVR. Soon after Cablevision introduced the innovative device, it was sued by CNN, Fox, NBC, Paramount, and TBS, who claimed the RS-DVR was not merely recording programs, but rebroadcasting them--a violation of copyright law. Cablevision argued in vain that the device was not rebroadcasting because recording and playback were controlled by the consumer. The decision will affect not only Cablevision's three million New York-area subscribers, but also cable consumers nationwide, by preventing other cable operators from introducing their own network-based DVRs. Cable operators like network DVRs because they're less costly to operate than the conventional kind. Cablevision may appeal. If it drags out the fight long enough, and Congress passes the Fair Use Act, the RS-DVR may get a second chance. The proposed law protects devices "capable of substantial, commercially-significant non-infringing use."

westcott's picture

I do not see how cable is going to be able to keep up with the bandwidth race. HD is becoming more and more the norm, and cable just does not have the proper infrastructure to move into the future of HD. I suspect that in the long run, cable will provide phone and internet services only.

Ian Bell's picture

Normally, I would not have cared, but last week my PVR was on the fritz, and when I turned it on a screen came up saying my data was corrupt and to hit "ok" so it can reformat. Naturally I screamed - then decided to turn it off, then back on instead of hitting that dreaded "ok" button. Luckily everything was back to normal.But I got to thinking that it would be nice if all my shows were stored on my providers server. It would be more reliable and let me access my content from any TV in the house, not just the one with the PVR attached to it.