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The DVR Mystery... Can DirecTV Solve It?

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, October 17, 2002

The DVR mystery. Why aren't more consumers buying? Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Digital video recorders... or DVRs have been on the market for a few years... under the Tivo and RePlay names primarily. But so far, sales haven't taken off the way some had expected... .

"This product is truly a life changing technology. It changes the way they perceive television."

DirecTV executive VP Larry Chapman. DirecTV is about to introduce a new Tivo satellite receiver box for under two hundred dollars... allowing subscribers to record one channel while watching another... and pause programs in real time. The service will be free for top tier subscribers and five dollars a month for others. Will it generate more consumer interest? Chapman is hopeful...

"Well it has been very frustrating for both us and Tivo. The simple fact is this is not a product that isn't enthusiastically attracted by the consumers once they have experienced it in their homes. The challenge is communicating the values of this product to consumers."

Cutting and in some cases eliminating the subscription charges should help. But there is competition... not only from RePlayTV... but from DVR boxes being introduced by other consumer electronics manufacturers, such as RCA. DirecTV hopes to increase revenue by using the technology to store long form commercials viewers could click on, when they see products that interest them. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.