Cablevision remote DVR stays legal: Supremes won’t hear case

2 07 2009

The US Supreme Court this morning refused to hear a final appeal in the Cablevision remote DVR case, thereby bringing the years-long litigation to a close. Despite the continued objections of broadcasters, video providers like Cablevision will be allowed to offer “box less” DVR service to customers.

The central question in the case might seem an arcane one: does it matter where a hard drive lives? Cablevision said no, and prepared to launch a service in which all of the digital video recorder’s hardware lived in the cable company’s central office. Subscribers would still have to choose which shows to record, how long to keep them for, and when to view them, using their television sets and cable boxes as a front-end to the system. Cable companies would no longer need to service and distribute hundreds of thousands of DVRs to customer homes.

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