Cablevision Debuts RS-DVR In The Bronx


Cablevision Systems is no longer offering conventional DVR set-tops to Bronx subscribers, following the Jan. 18 launch of the network-based Remote Storage DVR in the service area.

The service, dubbed DVR Plus, is priced at $10.95 per month for 160 Gigabytes of storage, which is the same as with Cablevision's conventional iO DVR service. It's the first launch of the RS-DVR across an entire Cablevision market, according to spokesman Jim Maiella.

Cablevision is touting DVR Plus as a "whole-house solution," available from any digital set-top box in the home. For example, if a show is paused on one set-top, it can be resumed on another box elsewhere in the house. DVR Plus lets customers record up to four shows simultaneously, while watching a fifth recorded show.

Cablevision's DVR Plus launch was reported Monday by Light Reading.

One of the primary vendors powering DVR Plus is Israel-based startup Fabrix.TV, majority owned by telecommunications and energy provider IDT, according to industry sources. Cablevision and Fabrix.TV have declined to confirm they're working together. According to the Fabrix.TV website, the company's platform is based on off-the-shelf server hardware and "is ideal for RS-DVR applications."

Cablevision engineered a prototype of the RS-DVR in 2006, only to be hauled into court by a coalition of TV programmers, movie studios and other content owners alleging the service violated copyright laws. The MSO prevailed in 2009 after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider an appeal of a lower court ruling that Cablevision was within its rights with the network-based DVR service.

Previously, Cablevision had anticipated rolling out RS-DVR as early as last April. Chief operating officer Tom Rutledge has told Wall Street analysts that the MSO will cease buying physical DVRs once the network-based DVR is widely deployed.

DVR Plus is currently available only to residential customers located in the Bronx who have a subscription to Family Cable or a higher tier.

For now, Cablevision's regular iO DVRs -- Cisco Systems' Explorer 8300 HD or SD models -- can only play back programs recorded using DVR Plus (not initiate or manage network-based recordings). Set-tops fully compatible with DVR Plus are Cisco's 1800 SD, 1850 SD, 4200 SD/4200 HD and 4250 SD/4250 HD models; the service doesn't work with CableCard-based devices like TiVos.

While DVR Plus recordings of standard-definition programming can be accessed on any digital cable box, shows recorded in HD are available for playback only on HD cable boxes. Pay-per-view programs can be recorded after a sub has purchased the program but VOD programming cannot be recorded.

DVR Plus allows users to pause live TV, like conventional DVRs, for a maximum of 15 minutes.

The service also provides parental controls, so that when a subscriber records a program, DVR Plus checks whether the program is blocked by channel and/or blocked by rating on the digital cable box from which the program was scheduled. If it is blocked, then the program will be blocked on all digital cable boxes in the house.

Cablevision provides more information on DVR Plus on its customer-support website, here: