Friday, February 21, 2014

Network PVR a Win for SPs and Consumers

Moving the "storage" function out of the Set-top box and in to the network is a win for both the service provider and for the consumer.  This article, written in ADD solving terseness,  will give the read an overview of the salient points of the benefits of deploying a network-based DVR or N-PVR.  Comments/corrections/suggestions are always welcomed.

What is N PVR?
1.       Network Personal Video Recorder (a.k.a. Network DVR)
2.       A DVR in the Cloud
3.       A user’s programming or content is stored on a server located within a service providers facility instead of stored on a hard disk drive embedded in a set-top box.

Benefits for Service Provider and Consumer
  1. Enables SPs to remove costly storage in every STB.
    1. One less device to fail.
    2. Reduces cost per STB,  less stranded capital
    3.  Reduces power consumption of STBs
      1.   Helps achieve goals set in voluntary agreement (see:
  2. Makes whole home DVR simpler
    1.  All traffic originates from the network to any device (TV, PC, Tablet, Smart phone et al.)
    2. Transparent to user
    3.  Simplifies home networking, re-use existing networks such as WiFi,  No need for a new technology.
  3. Enables TV-Everywhere or video everywhere and advanced video services
    1. A single seamless video experience across all devices/screens.
    2. Pause on one screen; resume on another screen is simplified.
    3. Watch “save” programming on any device at any location.
  4. Enables location-based targeted advertising
    1.  Ads can be “re-inserted” to location user is actually watching stored content.
    2. No need to play Boston Ads if user is watching Red Sox game in San  Francisco.
    3. Enhances advertising packages to ad buyers.
    4. Enhances viewing experience of consumer since ads are more relevant.
    5. Increases ad revenues
  5. Reduces usage and congestion of upstream bandwidth
    1.  Eliminates the need for Sling Box
      1. Sling box clogs limited upstream last mile channels
      2. N-PVR eliminates Sling Box zero revenue traffic
  6. Enables SPs to take advantage of innovations in Content Delivery Systems and advanced caching technologies.
    1. May already be implemented for Video on Demand.
  7. Enables smart phone to become DVR controller
    1.  Guide on smart phone delivered from network
    2.   “record” in network
  8. Leverages investments in cloud infrastructure
    1.  ROI of data centers investment will be enhanced with the addition of N-PVR application. 
    1.  As N-PVR rolls out, cache’s and servers may find themselves in facilities that aren’t as friendly as purpose built data centers.  These may include regional and local facilities such as central offices and head ends.
    2.  Energy issues (e.g., heat) should be addressed.
  10. LEGAL Issue
    1. The Cablevision litigation in the U.S. has been resolved in Cablevision’s favor.
    2. Content providers argued it violated copyright laws.
    3. Cablevision argued it’s the same as a DVR just a different location.
    4. After a number of rulings and subsequent appeals the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case ending the litigation.
    5. Recommendation to SPs…Deploy! 
  11.  Technical Issues
    1.  SP’s will need to have the stored programming in numerous formats applicable to specific devices.  i.e., different resolution and data rates for an HDTV verse a smart phone via 4G/LTE.
    2. Do you translate and transcode on demand or ahead of time? 

   To discuss these issues please contact me at

   For a list of previous articles please see

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