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Cablevision To Roll Out Controversial RS-DVR In April

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Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) Systems said it will begin rolling out its controversial Remote Server-Digital Video Recorder in April, and plans to have the service available throughout its 3-million subscriber footprint by year-end. Speaking on a conference call to discuss fourth-quarter results, COO Tom Rutledge said that the roll-out of the RS-DVR would begin in three phases: the ability to pause live TV, which is currently in employee homes. In April, a limited function DVR will be available. “By year-end we intend to cease buying physical DVRs as we begin deploying our network-based DVR solution throughout our footprint,” Rutledge said.

Cablevision was the first MSO to attempt to rollout a remote DVR, which most cable operators believe is a more efficient technology than physical DVR set-top boxes. The company attempted to trial the service in 2006, but was blocked by programmers who claimed the service constituted copyright infringement. The programmers initially won the first round, when U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin ruled the RS-DVR did infringe on copyrights. But that was overturned in appeals court in 2008. Since then, Cablevision has kept quiet on the service, opting to confine trials of the service to its Long Island corporate campus and select employee homes. More on Multichannel.