Motorola Mobility says it will soon begin trials on a new cloud-based digital video recorder system that, at least on paper, has the potential to kick-start the pay TV industry’s ambitious yet cumbersome TV Everywhere initiative.
The company’s networked DVR could theoretically fulfill the wide-reaching promise of TV Everywhere, allowing subscribers to multichannel services the ability to access their TV programming on devices ranging from notebook computers to tablets to smart phones. (It also spares pay TV services the expense of leasing out millions of DVR set-top boxes.)
According to Motorola, because of recent changes to key multichannel industry technical specifications that allow metadata to be added to video streams sent to subscribers, rights holders would have control as to how their programming is accessed.
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For example, if a certain media conglomerate remains uncomfortable about its content being played back on iPads, it could block access to its programming on that device. The ability of subscribers to fast-forward through commercials could also be blocked.
As the Wall Street Journal noted with great fanfare in early March, the pace of TV Everywhere’s development has been bogged down by the complexity of the deal-making between program suppliers and pay TV operators. Also, programmers are concerned about the potential loss of control to their ad-delivery mechanisms should viewing of their shows be fragmented across myriad devices.
So, again theoretically, having a unified solution that enables TV networks to control what’s played where — and how the commercial time is counted and displayed — could free cable, satellite and telecom providers to roll out TV Everywhere services faster. They could offer TV Everywhere products and let content providers concern themselves with the rights issues.
In addition to controlling rights, TV networks would have new opportunities for dynamic ad insertion.
Motorola officials would not reveal when their trial is set to begin or which multichannel operators will be involved.
Separate but notable, Tuesday was also the day when Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility became official.
Here’s a Motorola video introducing its nDVR product: