Video on Demand is here.
November 25, 2002 5:27 AM   Subscribe

Video on Demand Is Finally Taking Hold by the way of Time Warner Cable. We've read this news before, but this time they're promising to start providing the service at buyable prices "by the end of the year throughout 1.2 million subscribers in New York City" (the slogan "Now Anything's Possible" is already on their site). Choose, play, pause and rewind any program you want, from film to tv series, it's all there for you. It "may be the most significant development for the Couch Potato Nation since the remote control". And the cable tv providers take the lead over the satellite television providers (DirecTV, EchoStar), who just can't offer video on-demand like that.
posted by nandop (15 comments total)
It's available for Showtime and HBO on Time Warner Digital here in Columbus, Ohio. Cost is $6.95 per month. It is not included with the purchase of the regular 7 channel HBO package that is offered. They've built a digital cable network over the last 3 years here, and it is available -as is broadband internet- throughout most of the city and suburbs.
I have heard that it works quite well.
posted by putzface_dickman at 5:34 AM on November 25, 2002

I've used Video on Demand for my cable service to do movies several times. While the system isn't perfect yet, it does substantially improve the service. I did video-on-demand pay per view. The movies started right away and were great quality. The controls for Rewind-Reverse-etc. were lagged at best, and while do work, don't work with great accuracy. (Maybe I'm spoiled by TiVo)

Otherwise a good system. Once they have all the kinks out of it, it will do much better than any internet based solution would.
posted by benjh at 6:41 AM on November 25, 2002

this post mostly reads like an ad for Time Warner cable over the satellite providers.
posted by zoopraxiscope at 7:03 AM on November 25, 2002

My one question about this service has been: do they show unedited movies?
posted by jammer at 7:06 AM on November 25, 2002

Sounds great, but now we just need for the govenment to stop allowing the MONOPOLY that each cable company has over its subscribers, so that maybe, just maybe, someday I can have Video on Demand and good service.

I mean, if satellite cannot do it, then we're just back to the old days.
posted by eas98 at 7:07 AM on November 25, 2002


In other vaguely related news (this thread WILL be relevant, dammit)... Time-Warner are cutting HBO service for analog cable subscribers, you can only get it with the digital cable plan (slightly more expensive, plus $6 extra to lease the box - your cable-ready TV or VCR isn't, anymore).

Isn't this against the law? I thought cable companies had to offer premium channels a la carte, without subscribers having to buy a given level of service.
posted by RylandDotNet at 7:14 AM on November 25, 2002

why do people always demand things ?

where is that pony?
posted by sgt.serenity at 7:16 AM on November 25, 2002

In Austin Time Warner also offers video on demand (branded as i-control) for stations such as comedy central etc.

The service here is buggy but saves a trip to Blockbuster when it works.
posted by tboz at 7:20 AM on November 25, 2002

RylandDotNet- Cable companies want you to believe that, but it's not true.
posted by mkultra at 7:31 AM on November 25, 2002

I prefer the Take A Walk Outside On Demand, myself.
posted by four panels at 7:32 AM on November 25, 2002

this post mostly reads like an ad for Time Warner cable over the satellite providers.

The fact that generated the news is an inevitable ad for whoever it may be (if it really works like they promise it will) - in this case for the company you've just cited. The text is almost entirely pasted from The New York Times.
posted by nandop at 7:45 AM on November 25, 2002

Isn't this whole VOD thing another excuse for the cable companies to maintain their monopoly? They can say that they deserve the monopoly since they invested so much into these new digital systems...
posted by panopticon at 7:50 AM on November 25, 2002

They just rolled this service out here in my market, (Northern NJ right on the edge of NYC).
My first reaction was VOD? They've offerred one-button ordering of Pay Per View right from the remote for a few years now.
However, on further exploration its quite cool. You go to channel 1000 and there you find a list of movies and this list runs 2030 movies deep. You hit a movie, the movie begins then and there, not at some pre-appointed time. You can watch it as many times as you want in a 24 hour period.
Not only can you pause the flic when nature calls, but you can also rewind *and even* fast forward the film (offering fast forward seems to indicate they'll be serving up Pr0n, cuz who can watch it without FF)
It only costs $3.95 for a 24 hour period, so its a Blockbuster killer once the library grows.
You can even take the svhs cable and fed it into your computer and encode the movie as a divX for posting on Kazaa!

But for the record, TimeWarner has always and will always suck dirty ass, and not even just cuz they have the sickly stench of AOL exuding from every corporate pore of their enterprise, this feature and my blessed cable modem not withstanding...
posted by BentPenguin at 9:09 AM on November 25, 2002

I thought cable companies had to offer premium channels a la carte, without subscribers having to buy a given level of service.

They do. I work for the cable company here in Des Moines, IA, and the way it works is you have to rent a digital converter and then pay the a la carte fees, which will cost another $28. For customers here it is cheaper to go digital for $23. And that's just for one movie channel.

The cable company wants digital to be cheaper so more people upgrade. But people aren't upgrading as quickly as we'd like, so we do what we can to get a digital converter into your home. The more digital converters we have in the city, the harder it is for people to steal cable.

And yes, BentPenguin, there will be pr0n offered through the VOD. I believe the going rate will be $10 a movie, but you only get to watch it for six hours.
posted by Homeskillet Freshy Fresh at 12:19 PM on November 25, 2002

We've got OnDemand here in KC, and it works pretty well. It actually has a few different kinds of channels. There's a standard "Movies On Demand" that runs the same kind of movies as are availabe through PPV (ones that were released on DVD/VHS a couple months ago, but aren't ready for HBO/Showtime yet). Then you also have the HBO, Showtime, Cinemax and The Movie Channel OnDemand channels, which let you watch selected movies those channels are offering at any time. The other channels are things like Biography, CNN, Comedy Central, Music Videos, Food Network and a couple others, that offer some of their shows, individual videos or news clips that you can just push the button and get.

If you have their super-duper "everything" package (including cable modem), all of those channels are included for free (well, you still have to pay for the PPV-type movies, but all the HBO and other cable channels shows are free). You can also buy it for $6.95 a month if you have one of their other packages.

It's pretty handy because there's usually several movies available that I'm interested in watching, so it's pretty nice when there's just junk on everywhere else.

Right now, though, the movie channels are a bit short on selections, and they're still trying to get the technical aspects working right, so there are times you can't get a movie to start or something, and that's annoying. I love having it, however, and can't wait until more content is available.
posted by thorswitch at 2:03 PM on November 25, 2002

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