According to the Globe and Mail’s Hugh Thompson, next month will mark the 10th anniversary of the Personal Video Recorder, or PVR, in Canada. And what a boring and dull ten-year old our PVR has become. Almost none of the promise of the PVR’s first released in 1999 has ever been realized here. Instead, our PVR has become little more than a glorified video cassette recorder.
Yes, the satellite and cable industry trumpets the advent of “whole home” networked PVR’s. What a yawner. ReplayTV had this ten years ago. In fact, the current crop of PVR’s is missing a whole host of features that used to be common place! How about:
- In-video content search, pioneered by Ottawa’s own Televitesse. By scanning the caption stream, Televitesse could find specific spoken words in a program, and jump the viewer to that scene. It was perfect for news hounds.
- Search and record by cast member, subject, genre, or review ratings. All delivered by ReplayTV over a decade ago. My favorite feature of ReplayTV? Once you had created the search, it would simply record anything on any channel at any time that matched search.
- Tivo Season Pass – record an entire series, every week, even if the time or the day or the channel changes.
The tenth anniversary of the PVR in Canada is a legacy of mediocrity. The television companies – Bell, Rogers, Shaw – apparently don’t have the imagination or the desire to improve the viewing experience for the user.
Is it any wonder that so many people are turning to the web, instead of television, for video?