DirectTV to Unveil New DVR Service In 2005?

Jeff Berg
SILICON VALLEY — DirectTV may be preparing to offer a new digital video recorder service in mid-2005 that offers pay-per-view services, according to the company producing the software for the new service.

According to Abe Peled, CEO of NDS Group, the new DVR will feature all of the options currently available with DirectTV’s current partner, TiVo, except for the ability to skip commercials and the PPV offering.

The new system would allow customers to record several movies for free and then pay each time a movie was viewed.

Peled told USA TODAY that the new system will be cheaper than TiVo for DirectTV.

“We are not a consumer brand,” said Peled. “We don’t own the customer data the way TiVo does. And we don’t sell advertising that we send to the box.”

If Peled is correct, the new service might mean trouble for DVR giant TiVo. Currently, 61 percent of TiVo boxes belong to DirectTV subscribers, and 75 percent of its new third-quarter subscribers were attributed to DirectTV.

After announcing results from the company’s most recent quarter last week, TiVO CEO Mike Ramsay responded to concern about NDS, saying that the upstart’s delayed launch would be its downfall.

“NDS has delayed their product offering into later next year,” Ramsay said. “I think we have got a fairly clear runway with DirectTV that we certainly want to take advantage of.”