The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Friday, October 04, 2002

it's alive!
Lots of people think that digital video recorders (DVRs), like TiVo and ReplayTV, are primed to take off, replacing the VCR. It hasn't happened yet, but if it does, it will change the way the television industry measures programming popularity. Witness this matter-of-fact report on which recent broadcasts were most popular with TiVo viewers. Even though it doesn't come right out and say it, it's pretty obvious that if DVRs can accurately measure which programs are being recorded, then the approximation sampling done by the Nielsen Ratings becomes obsolete.

At issue is the perceived invasion of privacy, with TiVo monitoring viewing habits; makes some (but I'd bet, not many) people antsy. The other issue is the ability of viewers to skip over commercials. In any case, I doubt DVRs will take off until they become an integrated part of cable TV services.