It was in 2011 when TV players in Europe started to move some set-top box features to the cloud. Today, all European players confirm their commitment to this approach, with plans already underway for the transition to cloud-based, network PVR. Accordingly, in the US, Comcast, for instance, have started to deploy network PVR. While in Asia, KT (South Korea) for instance, plan the deployment of cloud-based PVR in 2013.
The move towards a cloud-based approach is primarily driven by the telcos’ objective to reduce equipment (usually a share is subsidised by the pay-TV operator) and maintenance costs associated with a set-top box. The advent of multi-screen and multi-device ownership, bolstered by the increasing popularity of tablet and smartphones, have created the conditions for content sharing across multiple devices and therefore lure the pay-TV operators to bring the set-top box features in-the-cloud in order to facilitate it.
However, at the moment, a number of matters provide hurdles to a full network PVR transition. While telcos are able to reduce cost from abandoning set-top boxes, significant investments are necessary to upgrade their data centres’ storage capacity. Furthermore, broadcast copyright can become a issue since pay-TV customers are given the freedom to record free-to-air programmes and stream them from the cloud to their preferred viewing platform anywhere, at any time.