DVRs MAY YET PROVE TO BE PC (AND WE DON'T JUST MEAN POLITICALLY CORRECT)
via MediaPost's 'Real Media Riffs'
Here's a truly frightening scenario. Suppose the average TV household didn't have to go out and purchase a new set-top box, or arrange to lease or buy one from their cable or satellite TV provider in order to have a digital video recorder connected to their TV. What if they already had such a box sitting in their home just waiting to be activated for little or no cost and with relatively little hassle? If that were the case, about two-thirds of American's would flip the switch overnight, instantaneously driving DVR penetration to critical mass. Now here's the really scary part: 86 percent of non-DVR households actually have such a device in their homes. It's called the personal computer, and if the conclusions of a new report on DVRs are even partially right, it's a far greater threat than TiVo ever was.
Sound a little far-fetched? According to the report, "Demystifying Digital Video Recorders," which is being released today by InsightExpress and MediaPost, it wouldn't take all that much to make that switch. Asked if they could retrofit their PCs to function as a DVR, 58 percent of consumers said they would be "extremely interested" or "interested" in making the move if it could be done in less than 15 minutes and for a cost of up to $100.
Still not convinced? Then consider that the "installed base" of PCs is roughly about 100 million households. Those are big numbers. Big enough to give pause to any major advertiser, agency exec or TV programmer, not to mention any heavily positioned TiVo shareholder.
The scenario actually makes a lot of sense, especially when you consider that a DVR is more or less a dedicated computer hard-drive attached to a TV tuner that runs some special software to store, navigate and "run" TV content.
It especially makes sense when you consider the report's findings on the types of manufacturers consumers would be most apt to accept a DVR-like device from. It's not the TiVos of the world, nor their TV-oriented subcontractors like Philips and RCA, but personal computer manufacturers like Sony, Dell, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft and IBM. More than half (55 percent) said they'd be most comfortable getting such a device from a computer manufacturer, followed by 38 percent who cited a computer software provider. TV manufacturers ranked third (37 percent).
Interest In Using PCs As A Digital Video Recorder Are High
I would consider using my PC as a DVR if it were easy/cheap: 65% Repurposing an older/unused PC as a DVR is a good idea: 56% Using my PC as a DVR would be "cool": 52% Using my PC as a DVR would be technically challenging: 29%
Source: "Demystifying Digital Video Recorders," a report published jointly by InsightExpress and MediaPost based on a series of online surveys of DVR and non-DVR adopters.
This study will certainly make the folks at Wintel happy - particularly the stated consumer preference to source a DVR from a computer manufacturer. However it is much too early for anybody to scream victory as there is currently still no offering that is able to provide PC users with a cheap and simple DVR solution - one that allows users to conveniently watch programs on their TV and not only a PC monitor.
In-Stat/MDR - Digital TV Coming Home On PC-TV Tuners And Digital Terrestrial Set Top Boxes
CNet - PC-TVs set to take off