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RS-DVR stands for Remote Storage - Digital Video Recorder. It refers to a system where recorded content from television broadcasts are stored and can be accessed from a remote location. This makes the service useful especially for cable TV providers that also offer Internet broadband packages to their customers.
In 2006, Cablevision announced that it would be setting up its own RS-DVR service soon after. The announcement prompted litigation instead and led to a legal case that ended with the U.S. Supreme Court. Several Hollywood studios and television networks owned by Time Warner, Walt Disney Co., CBS and News Corp. claimed that Cablevision's plan would breach U.S. copyright laws.
Originally a Federal Judge ruled in favor of the Hollywood studios and television networks. Cablevision decided to appeal the case, and won. A counter appeal attempt by the entertainment companies was ultimately rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court, paving the way for Cablevision or any other cable TV provider to setup a remote-storage digital video recorder service for customers.
The benefit for the cable TV operators is obvious. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of set-top-boxes have been installed in customers homes, all of which are paid for by the provider. With an RS-DVR, they can minimize costs by not paying for full-fledged DVRs and instead making it possible for their customers to connect to the online RS-DVR service to view content.
This would also save costs associated with sending out technicians to replace broken DVRs.
Cablevision announced in February 2010 that it will roll-out its RS-DVR service in April of the same year, and cancel all orders for DVRs later in the year.