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"The Napster of the Future?"

Slashdot has a story on how the cable industry views PVRs -- personal video recorders, like the TiVo or ReplayTV:

sbombay writes "I just came back from Broadband Plus (formerly the Western Cable Show) and was disappointed to find that cable companies despise PVRs. In his keynote speech, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said that the PVR amounts to 'the Napster of the future.' Cable World has a story about the speech and quotes from other cable execs bashing the PVR. The cable industryís opposition to the PVR boils down to two things -- PVRs help satellite companies (Dish and DirecTV) provide services like Video On Demand (VOD) and a PVR in a cable home cuts into VOD revenue. Any of the sessions at the show that touched the topic of PVRs were an opportunity for the cable industry to slam the PVR. The strongest attack came from Gary Lauder, a venture capitalist who has funded many cable related companies. During his 15-minute presentation, Lauder slammed his Replay box, 'itís too hot,' 'my wife doesnít know how to use it,' and he even tried to fry an egg on his PVR. He also openly called on the cable companies and Hollywood to sue the PVR companies for copyright infringement. If you love your PVR, the cable industry is not your friend."
The Supernova Website has an entry on a talk by TiVo's president yesterday:
Morgan Guenther, TiVo. Focused on marketing and financial execution; will be cash flow positive this quarter. Moving to licensing and productization of technology. Continually innovating on the apps that live above basic DVR functionality. Moving into new advertising, content distribution. Evolving to a home network of TiVos.
The contrast is striking. TiVo is about to make money and has incredibly satisfied users -- this is from David Pogue of the New York Times:
My name is David, and I'm a TiVo addict. Oh, sure, I love my cable modem, I take my laptop everywhere, and they'll have to tear the Palm V out of my cold, dead hands. But if I were cast away on a desert island with only a single power outlet, I'd want my TiVo.
Meanwhile, the cable industry views PVRs as evil and wants to shut them down. This is despite the fact that TiVo in particular has reached out to form partnerships with content providers. Don't they get it? PVRs make people watch more television, not less. Instead of thinking about legislation and litigation, they should be thinking about how to take advantage of their popularity and the new viewing models they create. Speaking of David Pogue, he wrote about this earlier, and I blogged about it here.

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