Cloud DVR = Smart DVR.

By Brian Ring, Guest Blogger

Fabrizio Capobianco stated in a recent webinar, “I don’t want to adapt to TV. I want TV to adapt to me.” As Chief Innovation Officer of Minerva, he’s making sure that happens.

Indeed, that’s what Cloud DVR is all about. Where the DVR warped time, Cloud DVR warps time and place. It adds trick-play and start-over to shape linear TV into a feed that fits life. It’s better than SVOD, AVOD, and pay TV — combined. And it’s an obvious win toward boosting the perceived price-to-value of pay TV.

Despite that, you won’t find much about cloud DVR in the Streaming Wars chatter. Netflix nabbed “Seinfeld”. HBO Max paid big bucks for “Friends”.  Peacock ponied up for “The Office”. And none of those contracts has anything to say about the way I can effortlessly record hundreds of syndication airings for these shows every week.

This one example shows why I believe that DVR’s Second Act — centered in cloud and streaming — is going to be bigger than the first. I think that’s why Minerva calls it “Smart DVR” and I must say: I concur.

So what does DVR’s Second Act look like? 

Below, I’ve outlined three key impacts that DVR has had on TV. In each case, I’ve followed it up with the key reasons cloud DVR will be more impactful.

1. DVR added Content & Convenience. Still does.

Manual, recommended & series recordings turned Linear TV schedules into massive content catalogs, dramatically increasing the content choices and watching convenience for consumers.  And you didn’t have to rent a VHS or DVD!

Today, Cloud DVR does all that, but also provides more flexibility to watch anywhere on any device and is easily shared across family members. However, the real breakthrough comes with a whole new experience. 

One example? Minerva’s Smart DVR playback of personalized sports highlights. Got fifteen minutes to catch-up on the game in the living room? Less time?  No problem.  Just pick the length you want.  Have a favorite player you want to focus on for your fantasy league?  No problem. Click. Want to deep dive on specific types of plays? OK. Click. The service delivers.   Cloud DVR is a platform for a variety of new use cases.

2. DVR added Business Model versatility.  Now with better cost efficiency.

Born in the heyday of DVD, DVR’s gadget-plus-service model translated well for consumers. But at a high cost for operators.  In addition to the original purchase, devices needed to be installed and maintained and drives would fail and need to be replaced.

Cloud DVR contributes the same monthly service fee of device based DVR, but greatly improves the operator’s cost structure by allowing optimization of centralized storage capacity and simplifying maintenance. Plus, Cloud DVR offers the benefit of new revenue due to software based service management that can easily increase storage space for users – for an additional service fee of course!

And to build on the Smart DVR concept mentioned above, it’s possible to provide personalized highlights at halftime. For non-DVR subscribers, you can offer ad-hoc DVR services for a pay-as-you-go style service package. A user might not want to pay $5-$15/month for DVR, but might be willing to pay a couple dollars occasionally to record special programs. 

For example, the Super Bowl may be free to stream. But imagine coming in late to the game and being able to catch-up on highlights you’ve missed? Something that cool — combined with a fast mobile payment workflow — could open “impulse purchase” economics.

3. DVR added Interactivity, Personalization & Usability. 

From the beginning, the DVR was ‘natively personalized and interactive — after all, the device (mostly) only does what users instruct it to do. TV with DVR is more controllable and productive..

Cloud DVR not only turns the linear schedule into a personalized library of content, it automatically puts that library onto the device that consumers unlock 80 times a day – our smartphones.[1] 

Consumers can get alerts and set recordings, reinforcing and strengthening the TV schedule even as it makes it a bit more flexible.  As such, Cloud DVR offers a path forward for operators and content owners to build more engaged digital habits. And engaged customers are long term customers.

Simply put, Cloud DVR is simply better.

More convenience. More flexibility. Access on all devices. For users, Cloud DVR is the same and better.

Lower equipment costs. Lower services cost. More efficient utilization. New business models and revenue streams. For operators, Cloud DVR is a bright spot for the TV business.

The history of TV has shown that DVR is a core valueenabler for TV product strategies. On content, business, and interactive dimensions, DVR was a watershed invention

And yet theres every reason to believe that cloudbased DVR, and the new use cases that come with it, will be even more impactful in the future of TV than it has in the past.



(1) Business Insider, April 2016 The Average iPhone is unlocked 80 times per day