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When is VOD Not Really Video On Demand?

According to an In-Stat commentary -- "The announcement by Disney and the Kudelski Group got us thinking about the complex art of identifying what a company actually does.

The announcement highlighted a joint venture between Walt Disney Television International's Venture and Business Development Group and the Kudelski Group, a leading content security and conditional access company. The venture's goal is to develop and market a "push Video-on-Demand" service, which allows a TV service provider to deliver video content directly to a set top box with an integrated hard disk drive. This box would then allow cable, satellite, and IPTV operators using the system to offer time-shifted (pause, fast-forward, rewind, etc.) video service, just like TiVo or a cable TV-based VOD service.

This announcement was notable for couple of reasons:
- Disney recently suspended its MovieBeam service trial in the US due to tepid consumer acceptance and concerns about the service's financial viability. MovieBeam was also a "push VOD" service that was being tested in three US cities.
- The Disney/Kudelski Group push VOD service would reportedly be made available to TV operators everywhere except for the US, Canada, and Japan.

This makes sense since these three countries are at the forefront of cable-based VOD service deployments.

At the same time, the announcement raised a couple of questions:
- Is there any difference between a PVR service and push VOD? In our minds at In-Stat, there isn't much of a difference. Both services rely on a PVR box to record and playback video programming, although the "push" model will allow programming to be loaded onto the PVR's hard drive based on the desires of both the service provider and the end user.
- Is it accurate to call this service VOD? Probably not, especially since it is centered on a PVR platform. Most VOD services don't require a storage capability at the receiving end of the video stream. Instead, they store the video on a server at a head-end."

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