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DCR: Battle for the Consumer Experience

As the cable TV industry, consumer electronics manufacturers, and content providers prepare for Digital Cable Ready devices, a battle will be waged over who controls the user experience. According to The Transition to Digital Cable Ready, The Diffusion Group's most recent digital media analysis, each of these three groups has diverse and often conflicting motives for pushing DCR:

Cable operators hope to eliminate the expense of subsidizing digital set-top boxes, but are determined to maintain control over the user interface, and even reach beyond the television into the home's network;

Consumer electronics manufacturers are hoping to wrest control away from the set top box through the sale of DCR-enabled TVs and DVRs, and are reluctant to grant cable operators exclusive license to the user interface; and

Content providers, advertisers and programmers are hoping interactivity will measurably improve their control of user experience, while the viewer finds new ways to thwart traditional content funding models.

In all three of these cases, the goal is controlling the user experience - starting with the menu through which consumers will view content options, identify and navigate between programs, and control their viewing experience. As more digital electronics find their way into consumer homes, and as more of these devices become connected to one another, the value of a single easy-to-use interface that allows control of multiple content sources becomes more important to both consumers and vendors.

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