Supreme Court clears the way for Cablevision’s new DVR

After three years of court fights, Cablevision’s
controversial new digital video recording system is on its way to consumers’

The U.S. Supreme Court today refused to hear the appeal of a
consortium of Hollywood studios looking to block the service. Cablevision said
it plans to begin the roll out this summer.

The studios, which included Time Warner, General Electric’s
NBC/Universal, CBS, Disney and Fox, alleged the new service would infringe on
their copyrights.

Cablevision’s remote storage DVR system will allow users to
record and store programming on centralized servers owned by the New York-based
cable operator. Today’s DVRs record programming on a hard drive within a
set-top box in the consumer’s living room.

The current equipment is expensive for cable operators to
manufacture and install. Cablevision says the new service will result in
considerable savings for it. Whether consumers will pay lower rates remains to
be determined.

At issue is the common DVR practice of ad skipping. With its
new service, Cablevision could see a substantial increase in the number of subscribers
signing up for DVR service. (Industry experts believe the new technology could
put DVR technology in nearly half the homes in America.)