TWC Fires Up Its ‘Enhanced’ DVR

Moving ahead with more video-focused elements of its “TWC Maxx” upgrades, Time Warner Cable has begun to roll out an “enhanced” DVR in Los Angeles and New York City that features six tuners and 1 Terabyte of storage – enough to hold about 150 hours of HD video.

In its multi-room set-up, TWC’s new offering lets customers watch, pause, rewind and fast-forward DVR-recorded shows on up to four other HD set-top boxes in the home.

Update: TWC confirmed that the DVR model being rolled out is the Arris DCX 3600 and is using a cloud-based navigation system for its VOD portal. The hybrid QAM/RF box is equipped with a DOCSIS 3.0 modem. Retail pricing is $15.99 per month for the single room product, and $19.99 for the whole-home set-up, though those prices exclude the set-top box rental fee. Service bundles with the new enhanced DVR in NYC and L.A. is the same as it with TWC's legacy DVR product.

TWC’s new offering will help the operator keep pace with video competitors that have already rolled out next-gen DVR offerings. Among those rivals, Verizon’s new premium-level Quantum TV set-up ties together 12 tuners and 2 TB of storage, while Dish Network’s Hopper HD-DVR with the Super Joey can record up to eight shows at once. DirecTV’s Genie whole-home DVR can currently record up to five shows at once.

Comcast, which is in the process of acquiring TWC, has been testing  a configuration of its X1 video platform that can record 15 shows at once. Comcast is doing this by linking together the storage and tuning capabilities of three X1 HD-DVRs and sharing recorded content between them using Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) technology.

Comcast’s new Cloud DVR product is currently configured for 500 Gigabytes of storage and the ability to record up to five shows at once, and recently added out-of-home access to programming that is recorded in the cloud. Following a recent upgrade, Cablevision Systems’ network-based Multi-Room DVR is now capable of recording 15 shows at the same time.  

TWC has said that its next-generation video platform will use the Reference Design Kit (RDK), a preintegrated software stack for IP-capable boxes that is being managed by Comcast, TWC and Liberty Global, but it was not immedietly known if the product being rolled out this week in NYC and L.A. uses the RDK. TWC announced in April that it had developed its first RDK-based box-- an IP-only HD client box – with Humax.

Time Warner Cable’s new DVR is one piece of its TWC Maxx upgrade initiative. The all-digital effort also features broadband speed upgrades, including a new 300 Mbps (downstream) DOCSIS 3.0 service that replaces its former 50 Mbps offering and an expanded VOD library.

In addition to NYC and L.A., TWC has said that  seven more markets are in line to get the TWC Maxx treatment in 2015: Charlotte, N.C.; Dallas; Hawaii; Kansas City, Mo.; Raleigh, N.C.; San Antonio, Texas, and San Diego.

“DVR customers are passionate about watching what they want, when they want. Our new Enhanced DVR transforms our customers’ TV experience by allowing them to record all their favorite shows at once and store a vast library of programming,” said Peter Stern, TWC’s EVP, chief product, people and strategy officer, in a statement. “Enhanced DVR is just the latest highlight for our customers in the nation’s two largest cities. By the end of this year, customers throughout New York City and Los Angeles will have access to Internet speeds up to 300 Mbps; all-digital TV with the most HD channels of any local provider; and a graphically rich programming guide with up to 39,000 hours of On Demand content choices — all backed with rock-solid reliability.”