Study: DVRs Not for Everyone

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A six-month study that put digital-video recorders into cable homes last year found that about one-third of homes felt that TV watching increased and about one-third said they didn’t bother to skip over commercials.

Another aspect of the study caught reporters’ attention: Only 67 out of 157 homes recruited -- in the New York City metro area February-August 2004 -- completed the study. This means that 90 homes (57% of the sample) returned TiVo Inc. equipment that they were using free-of-charge as part of the study, coordinated by Horowitz Associates Inc. and commissioned by ABC and ESPN.

Ed Gordon, ESPN’s director of local and affiliate research, discussed the results Sunday at the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau conference in Chicago.

TiVo technical issues -- such as not being able to record one channel and watch another at the same time -- were among the reasons participants gave for dropping out of the study. Others said they didn’t watch enough TV to make it worthwhile.

Convenience -- not ad-skipping -- was the driving force for most people who stayed in the study.

ABC and ESPN are doing a more in-depth national survey as a follow-up.