Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Another, perhaps more tangible, benefit of digital video recorders over VCR's is the fact that they're much easier to program to record video when their users aren't at home. While VCR's had confusing numeric interfaces, DVR's use another type of computer technology: the graphic user interface. That makes programming most DVR's as easy as simply highlighting the program that you want recorded on an interactive program guide and pressing a record button on the remote. Combine that with the fact that most DVR's can record video off of at least two channels at once and there's really no excuse for TV lovers not to be able to watch all of their favorite shows.
Now there's a new type of digital video recorder on the horizon. It's called the Network Digital Video Recorder, or nDVR for short. With an nDVR, TV shows are stored on remote server computers that are owned and run by TV networks. When the viewer wants to watch a program, he or she highlights it on the program guide and presses a play button (or something equivalent) on the remote control. Then, instead of the program being played off of the actual digital video recorder, it's streamed over a dedicated channel and right onto the viewers TV.
This set up has a number of advantages over conventional DVR technology. First of all, it's even more convenient for the viewer in the sense that, the viewer doesn't have to plan ahead in order to program his or her digital video recorder to make sure that the desired program is available- with nDVR the program is available regardless.
There are two main advantages that it supplies for the networks. First of all, if the network controls how the video is streamed onto the viewer's TV screen, it can keep the viewer from fast forwarding through commercials. The other advantage is that the network can plug in commercials that are timely for when the program is being watched rather than when the program first aired. In both cases, this defeats a lot of the complaints that many networks and their advertisers have against DVR's.
In all, nDVR's are a novel solution to several problems associated with watching TV.