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Cox rolls out DVR in Northern Va.

Mon, 04/07/2003 - 8:00pm
Jeff Baumgartner

Cox Communications has launched a new digital video recorder service in its Northern Virginia systems with Scientific-Atlanta 's Explorer 8000.

Cox is offering the service for $9.99 per month, plus a monthly lease fee of $9.99 for the integrated DVR set-top.

Cox, like other MSOs, is gradually warming to the DVR concept. In February, Cox initiated a full-market DVR service trial in Gainesville, Fla.

The MSO, already a strong proponent of bundled broadband services, said it will leverage the DVR offering to complement its digital video, high-definition television and high-speed data services.

The combo can "further differentiates us from our competition and provides unsurpassed bundled advantages to our customers in Northern Virginia," said Lynne Elander, vice president, video product development at Cox, in a statement.

Despite Cox's latest move into the DVR realm and the launch of Tivo Inc. 's premium "Home Media Option" service Tuesday, at least one research group suggests that consumer awareness and interest in the DVR segment — at least for the moment — has grown stagnant.

Leichtman Research Group Inc. (LRG), citing a new survey of 1,250 U.S. households, said only 1 percent of cable and DBS subscribers reported having a DVR. Moreover, a mere 17 percent of those surveyed "expressed strong interest" in the technology — a figure that remains unchanged compared to an LRG survey conducted last year.

Among other findings, LRG said of those surveyed, 52 percent of cable and DBS subs have heard of DVRs, but only 9 percent of that group said they were familiar with the product.

In a nod to Cox's approach announced Tuesday, LRG's survey also showed that 55 percent of those most interested in DVRs would likely sign up if the cost was $9.95 per month, along with a cable subscription.

"While future opportunities for on-demand TV abound, for the moment, consumer acceptance of DVR services clearly remains in a nascent stage," said LRG President and Principal Analyst Bruce Leichtman.

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