No Need for TiVo in the Future?
The PVR (personal video recorder) market has slowly been gaining momentum as major CE manufacturers, including Sony, Microsoft, and others have begun to roll out set-top products aimed at consumers who wish to time-shift satellite, cable, and TV broadcasts.
But the nCUBE nPVR system uses the company's n4 streaming media appliance to enable cable operators to store a week's worth of programming for up to 200 digital channels, giving cable subscribers who have not purchased one of the PVR systems full time-shifting control over their cable programming.
Unlike the "client-side" models such as TiVo products, with a hard-disk drive and MPEG encoder built into a customized set-top box, a network-based PVR is "server-side," with encoders and disk drives stored at the network head-end, creating no need for consumers to purchase in-home devices in order to have the ability to pause, rewind, or fast forward programming or to call up shows from earlier in the week. nCUBE points out that their PVR system also gives cable operators the ability to control what channels or programs they wish to store and how long that storage should last.
nCUBE claims that it currently provides the only system that can scale to the storage and stream input requirements of network-based PVR, saying that "other systems cannot economically store thousands of hours of programming nor can they ingest the dozens of simultaneous streams needed to offer a full PVR service.
"nPVRs have much higher storage needs than VOD. To store one week of 100 channels of programming, a server will need to be able to ingest 16,800 hours. The n4's unique scalability allows it to stream up to 60,000 streams per server and requires only a single content copy for serving hundreds or thousands of homes, greatly reducing costs for operators."
nCUBE's Daniel Sheeran adds that "this is a very exciting period. We are pioneering a whole new concept with nPVR. Issues like the effect of ingesting so much programming into a server and how that reduces the server's ability to stream out to subscribers have financial and business ramifications in the number of servers and pieces of content operators have to purchase if they want to satisfy their customers' desire for personalized television experiences."