Cablevision is testing a system that would allow consumers to record and play shows using their existing cable boxes--the equivalent of TiVo without a hard disk.
Cable companies have been offering TiVo-like services for a while. The twist here is that the programs are stored at the cable company itself, instead of at the subscriber's home, allowing Cablevision to roll out the service without having to make any house calls.
Analysts are already predicting clashes between the cable company and networks, especially since no new broadcast rights have been negotiated.
Blog community response:
"Times have changed a bit, and perhaps TV execs may finally be realizing that giving people what they want is a good thing? Then again, perhaps not. The article covering the story expects many of the content firms to fight back against this device -- as if users don't already have plenty of options with similar functionality."
"Although I wonder about the economics of the experiment. You have to wonder if streaming TV back from a large remote server would be more cost effective than just building hard drives into a boxes. Then again, if more than one person could share the same show under a rights management package thing from the server, well...you never know."
--Thomas Hawk's Digital Connection
"This is going to ruffle some feathers though, content providers are having a hard enough time smiling through their teeth at DVR-wielding cable companies. But now making it that much easier and taking the box out of the equation is sure to revive some of the old ire and arguments."