So by now you've all probably heard the news: Cable TV has come up with its "next big thing." Yes, cable television, that bastion of customer-centricity, has conceived a new solution to make our lives better -- and oh, by the way, save themselves a bundle in the process. The concept: DVR-less DVRs.
On Monday, Cablevision
Of course not, ladies and gentleFools! Although it's true that Cablevision "expects cost-savings to be passed on to customers," notice the conspicuous absence of the definite article from that statement. Although it's possible that some savings will trickle down to customers, I suspect that Cablevision, Comcast
But will consumers bite?
That's the real question, isn't it? Judging from my experience with the DVR-like "On Demand" service provided by Cox Communications, I have my doubts about whether customers will want to hand over their cable boxes. While the service works more or less as promised, allowing a user to view programs at will, and to pause, fast forward and rewind as well, it's not without its quirks. Chief among these is the time lag between pressing a button and seeing the resulting action. Simply put, routing commands to the home office and back makes the system work more slowly than customers with actual DVR boxes may be accustomed to.
But what if they can make it work?
Yet another good question. If DVR boxes go the way of the Betamax, does this mean investors should start selling out of their positions in Motorola
I don't think so. Even if physical DVR boxes do fall out of fashion, the software that runs the DVR function will not. These companies make tons of tangible cash off the intangible software installed on the cable boxes they sell. Boxes or no boxes, that's not going to change.
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Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above.
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