·Time Warner Cable
I still like this idea
Cableco's (and FIOS providers too) are going to HAVE to do this eventually in order to survive. DVR's are just a glimpse of the future of CATV. In large cities, DBS will become much more of a niche-market than ever before and Internet-IPTV will seem daunting by comparison. Once analog is shut off (if ever) then this can really take off...
Here's how it will work if done successfully. The cableco's have got to maintain an enormous cache of programming in the head-end... every show on every channel (except Infomercials and color-bars, etc.), perhaps even 10 or more mirrors of moderately popular programs (even more of shows that draw huge numbers). The system will need to be scalable and even self-evolving as time goes on, too. For example, say a program is just a little popular- so much so though that users get errors when trying to access it. Well an evolving system will take care of this issue by mirroring the program and allowing more streams to a given node on the network. Users will involuntarily become ratings-providers simply by watching a program to at least a certain percentage through (indicating interest-level); the cableco's can then sell this data back to the providers. If the cableco's can edit out the ads for an additional fee, this would eliminate the need to worry about lag-time when FF/RW'ing programs for the most part. and the STB's could still have small HDD's for local storage of the last few minutes or more of a program so really this shouldn't be an issue whatsoever. the only lag should exist when initially starting a program.
cable and FIOS have the bandwidth to pull this off. the only way DBS will do this is with either more satellite capacity or by using the Internet (the fastest of which the major cable/FIOS companies control).
"I saw Matlock in a bar last night; the sound was off, but I think I got the gist of it..."