Cablevision Systems said it will begin rolling out its
controversial Remote Storage-Digital Video Recorder in April and plans to have
the service available throughout its 3 million-subscriber footprint by year-end.
On a conference call to discuss fourth-quarter results,
chief operating officer Tom Rutledge said Cablevision will roll out the RS-DVR
service in three phases, starting with the ability to pause live TV, which is
currently in some employees' homes. In April, a limited-function RS-DVR will be
available. "By year-end we intend to cease buying physical DVRs as we begin
deploying our network-based DVR solution throughout our footprint," Rutledge
Cablevision was the first MSO
to attempt to launch a remote DVR, which most cable operators believe is a more
cost-efficient technology than DVR set-tops. The company attempted to test the
service in 2006, but was blocked by programmers who claimed the service
constituted copyright infringement.
It won that case on appeal in 2008. Since then, Cablevision
has kept quiet on the service, opting to confine trials to its Long
Island corporate campus and select employee homes.
Separately, Rutledge also said on the call that Cablevision
is investigating offering a wireless telephone service, and has begun testing a
phone that would switch between Wi-Fi networks and cellular telephone networks.
"The testing is so far proving to be good and consistent
with our view of what is possible, and [it] gives us some hope that we will be
able to launch additional products using the Wi-Fi network that will look like
what some people think of as cellular telephone," Rutledge said.
Cablevision outpaced estimates for the fourth quarter,
reporting revenue of $2.2 billion (up 5%) and adjusted operating cash flow of
$682.8 million, an increase of 13.5%. The MSO
lost about 2,800 basic customers in the period, but grew digital subscribers
(up 4,800); high-speed data customers (up 45,700) and telephony subscribers (up