Skip to main content

MobiTV Floats Cloud-Based DVR For Operators

MobiTV is pitching a network-based digital video recorder service as a standalone solution to cable operators and other service providers, following legal rulings finding certain network DVR implementations don't violate copyright laws.

The company is marketing the MobiTV nDVR service, which was previously available only as a piece of its end-to-end multiscreen platform, to cable MSOs, wireless carriers and other network operators.

Earlier this month, Barry Diller-backed startup Aereo won a legal victory in a copyright-infringement lawsuit brought by major broadcasters, who charge that its live TV and network DVR service is illegal. A judge in a New York federal district court declined to grant an injunction against Aereo, citing a previous appeals court ruling upholding the legality of Cablevision Systems' Remote Storage DVR.

However, MobiTV said, its policies-based network DVR service lets network operators honor content-rights restrictions, permitting recording inside or outside the home as the rights allow.

"Rights management has long been a difficult process for service operators to navigate on an international scale," MobiTV CEO Charlie Nooney said in a statement. "The MobiTV nDVR removes barriers for operators and provides the solution for a true TV Everywhere experience."

A network DVR lets viewers record and play back television content "in the cloud," rather than on a DVR physically located in their home. That gives operators more flexibility in offering additional storage and also can let subscribers watch their DVR content anywhere and a range of devices.

MobiTV provides two forms of network DVR: one that stores separate copies for each individual user -- a key technical reason Cablevision's RS-DVR was cleared under U.S. copyright law -- and a more efficient model that keeps a single "master copy" for each program that can be accessed by multiple subscribers.

Founded in 2000, MobiTV has never turned a profit, according to regulatory filings.

Last Friday, MobiTV withdrew its initial public offering citing "unfavorable market conditions" nearly a year after filing for an IPO to raise up to $75 million. Its customers include the major U.S. wireless carriers -- AT&T, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless -- as well as other U.S. and international wireless carriers and service providers. The company licenses content from major TV studios, including ABC, CBS, Disney, ESPN, Fox, MTV Networks and NBC.