Monday, July 21, 2003

ReplayTV's New Owners Drop Features That Riled Hollywood

ReplayTV's New Owners Drop Features That Riled HollywoodReplayTV's New Owners Drop Features That Riled Hollywood "Last month the maker of ReplayTV, a line of digital video recorders that allows consumers to record and store hours of their favorite television programs on hard drives instead of tape, agreed to remove two features from its devices that simplified life for consumers but complicated business for entertainment providers.
ReplayTV's new 5500 model, which will go on sale next month, will no longer be able to skip entire commercials automatically without recording them or to send recorded programming over the Internet to other ReplayTV users outside a home network. The recorders will, however, still be able to store large libraries of programming indefinitely and allow users to skip manually through recorded commercials in 30-second increments."
Critics see this not as accommodation, but as capitulation.
"Companies are under considerable pressure to bow to the wishes of the entertainment industry. This is unfair and anticompetitive," said Jeff Joseph, vice president and spokesman for the Consumer Electronics Association, a manufacturers' trade group. "If advertisers and broadcasters are seeing their traditional business model threatened, then it would behoove them to consider alternative business models."

(There is, after all, a reason why it's called "commercial television.")

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