PVR a game-changer, says NDS chief

11 Nov 2008

Ask Abe Peled to tell you the best technology for multi-platform TV and he'll pull a thumb drive from his pocket.

Not just any USB drive. It's a secure disk, with a smartcard for authentication, that can hold up to 50 movies. A viewer can upload video onto his or her TV, although the disk must remain inserted in the drive.

But if Peled, the chairman and CEO of conditional access firm NDS, is keen on the smart USB, he's passionate about the personal video recorder (PVR).

"I think it's a game-changing technology," he said. "If I just describe it to you, you'll just see it as a VCR. But it's one-button operation, much simpler than a VCR. And people who own PVRs love them."

With NDS holding more than 40% of the global market, his excitement is understandable.

But he's brought figures that suggest consumers are crazy about the device, too. PVR owners watch more TV, enjoy it more and - guess what - they even have better sex. Or at least, about three-quarters claim it has improved their relationship with their partner, according to an NDS-commissioned survey.

More than 70% of PVR owners in the US, Italy, the UK and Australia said they could not live without their DVR. Only the mobile phone was a more popular device.

It's been eight years since the launch of its first PVR, but it's become a great business for the News Corp-invested, UK-headquartered firm. It has sold 14.5 million worldwide, including just under 6 million in the last year.

NDS sees Asia as promising market because of the low broadband take-up and the generally greater acceptance of new technology.

But Peled has to convince pay TV execs that his product won't mean the end of the TV commercial. He thinks the PVR era will mean better-targeted and better value ads. "Targeting, accountability and measuring are going to be a lot more important for TV."

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