Time Warner Cable Would Deploy A Network DVR: Britt


Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt said that his company would roll out a network DVR product if the courts allow it.

On a conference call with analyst to discuss its second-quarter results, Britt said that the network DVR, championed by Cablevision Systems, is a more elegant engineering solution.

“We’ve said for a long time that a centralized network DVR is a better engineering solution than having hard drives all over everybody’s home,” Britt said. “If this particular court case is upheld, we will deploy that.”

Earlier this week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit overturned a ruling by a lower court that stopped Cablevision from pursuing its own network DVR product, which it calls the Remote Server- DVR.

Britt said that Time Warner has developed much of the technology underlying the network DVR – as is evident by its Start Over and Look Back services – and as a result it could deploy a network DVR “fairly quickly.”

But he cautioned that it isn’t just a matter of rolling out the technology. The underlying issues – particularly with programmers that have accused the technology of basically allowing cable operators to steal their content – practically assure that the battle is far from over.

“If you talk to a bunch of lawyers, this is a lot more complicated than the headlines appear,” Britt said.

And though TWC’s parent Time Warner Inc., was one of the lead plaintiffs in the original suit to block the RS-DVR, Britt said that the MSO would comply with copyright law however the courts interpret it.

“The engineering attraction of the network DVR is clear,” Britt said. “What isn’t clear is the law. We’ll do whatever the outcome is… There really isn’t any particular conflict over this issue.”