PDA

View Full Version : Skip, where's my DTV DVR?!?!


unlurking
06-17-2005, 09:09 PM
Thought this was interesting and wondered if you might have any more insight to the "free DVRs" for DTRV subscribers.

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20050616-5003.html

Rupert Murdoch vs. Wal-Mart: Fight!

6/16/2005 3:11:13 PM, by Hannibal

Apparently Rupert Murdoch is an even bigger fan of PVR than our own Caesar; I just read at PVRblog that he plans to purchase 20 million of the devices and practically give them away to DirecTV subscribers. Why would he do this? So that DirecTV users can rent movies by downloading them electronically for later viewing.

Murdoch plans to digitally deliver movies and other programming from his satellites to home digital video recorders that would be the same quality, or higher (HDTV), than a DVD. Since there are not enough transponders on satellites to stream movies to individual subscribers on demand, Murdoch needs DVRs in every home to make his digital-delivery system work. With DVRs, the satellites can upload movies in the middle of the night in encrypted form onto subscribers' hard discs without us having to do anything or even be aware of it. (One idea now under consideration at DirecTV is to provide these DVRs with an enormous 160-gigabyte recording capacity. The subscriber would only be told about 80 gigabytes, with the remaining 80 gigabytes reserved for encrypted movies.) Once the movies are placed on the DVRs, a customer "rents" them by clicking on his remote control.

Wal-Mart, which has so much video retail muscle that they talked Hollywood into mandating a 45-day gap in between the launch of a DVD title and that title's electronic availability, isn't going to sit still while Murdoch kills the DVD. But that probably won't matter, because Wal-Mart is facing off against a man who has spent the last 20 years working on a plan for World Domination that involves a huge network of satellites orbiting high above the Earth and 40 million loyal followers world-wide. So with Murdoch being just one secret island base short of ultimate Hollywood supervillain status, does the Evil Retail Empire stand a chance?

I doubt even Wal-Mart can fight the future, and the future is electronic distribution of movies and music. If Wal-Mart is going to keep making money in these two markets, they're going to have to move into electronic distribution themselves. Their music service is a start, but they'd better be thinking about a movie service as well. The company's abortive attempt at competing with Netflix has shown them that offline rentals aren't the place for them to be, but they might be able to make online distribution work. Right now, they've still got the leverage with the studios to work out a pretty sweet deal for themselves if they wanted team up with DirecTV's competitors to offer some kind of Wal-Mart branded movie service. But that leverage isn't going to last forever.