Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Time Warner Cable Would Like To Kill DVR Functionality

Enjoy fast forwarding through the ads on your DVR recorded programming, Time Warner Cable may just be trying to thwart your efforts.  "The patent, which lists Time Warner Cable principal architect Charles Hasek as the inventor, details how the nation's second largest cable MSO may be able prevent viewers from skipping TV commercials contained in programs stored on physical DVRs it deploys in subscriber homes, network-based DVRs and even recording devices subscribers purchase at retail outlets."  Good news for advertisers, bad news for consumers.  And if successful, they could then license their patent to other cable operators and change the landscape completely.

Time Warner Cable may be reluctant to use too quickly, although they do disable fast forward on their exclusive "Look Back" and "Start Over" features. For overbuilders and satellite providers, the offer of a DVR with a more consumer friendly DVR could be the impetus to cause more subs to leave Time Warner.   In fact, it could make Dish's Hopper DVR that much more desirable.

TWC isn't the only operator trying to salvage the advertiser value in video programming.  "Comcast  recently submitted a patent application that details how it could deliver alternative commercials to subscribers that hit the fast-forward button on their remotes to skip ads."  Or an ad being placed over an ad being fast forwarded through.  We may need to go backwards and start recording again on a VCR so we can retain control over our fast forward functionality.


  1. It would seem to me that this would make having a DVR with Time Warner less needed and would end up costing them money in the long run since they charge for their DVR receivers, just like the rest of the industry. I haven’t watched a commercial in any show I have recorded on my DVR in years, and frankly I don’t plan on it. There is a lot of talk about FTA channels being destroyed because of the Autohop feature and skipping commercials. How? Cable and satellite providers have to pay for those channels, so they aren’t FTA. Why do subscribers pay a monthly DVR fee? I have always looked as it as the right to watch that recording how I want, just like my father did on his VCR. The Autohop doesn’t delete, destroy zap or remove the commercials like the media likes to think, it does simplify my night by taking my fat fingers out of the situation. Working night at Dish for numerous years I have always relied on my DVR to record all my favorite shows, and frankly with as much as subscribers pay for television, it should be our choice to skip the commercials or not to, and the Autohop gives us that choice.

  2. Why don’t CBS, FOX, and NBC execs want consumers to enjoy commercial-free TV? It’s what we want! I’m a customer and employee of Dish, and I think AutoHop is great because you can easily watch commercial-free TV. A well known consumer advocacy group, Public Knowledge, agrees that people should have the right to control how they watch TV. They’re taking a stand for consumers by creating a petition that tells CBS, FOX, and NBC media to keep their hands out of your living room and DVR. Sign their petition to keep control of how you watch TV