The Next Wrinkle

Apr 19, 2004  •  Post A Comment

While cable operators rush to roll out set-top boxes with DVR capability, Scientific-Atlanta is developing a whole new “concept” set-top box that combines DVR capability with a recordable DVD player, upping the ante and raising new questions about digital rights management.
Scientific-Atlanta’s new product, according to sources, will give cable subscribers the kind of control that customers have dreamed of. Theoretically, with such a box, customers wouldn’t have to go to Blockbuster to buy the latest season of “The Sopranos” on DVD-they could burn one themselves, doubtless cutting in both the cable operator and HBO in the bargain.
Cable operators currently don’t share in income from TV-DVD, which is projected at about $1.5 billion this year. Sources close to Scientific-Atlanta said that what has held up announcement of this product isn’t technology but rights issues, which might pose a significant challenge.
“I would fully agree that it’s an interesting question of intellectual property and digital rights management,” said Jay Gamble, senior VP of the Washington Metro-Virginia area for Comcast.