Technology

DVR Use: More TV, More Fun

7/08/2005 8:00 PM Eastern

Cable and satellite subscribers with digital video recorders tend to enjoy multichannel TV more than consumers without the devices, but many viewers remain unaware that satellite providers and local cable operators offer DVRs, according to a study released last week.

The Lieberman Research Worldwide study, commissioned by the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing, found that a combination of wider channel choice and DVRs made for a more enjoyable TV experience for viewers.

“When compared to non-DVR owners who are aware of DVRs, 56% of owners say they like having so many channels to choose from, versus 47% of non-owners; and 35% say the enjoyment they receive from TV is better than ever, versus 29% of non-owners,” CTAM said.

AWARENESS IS UP

CTAM officials said they did not ask survey respondents whether or not they are satisfied with their cable or satellite DVRs, or whether they use the DVRs to fast-forward through commercials.

Awareness of DVRs has increased, with 41% of respondents in the October 2004 survey saying that they were at least “somewhat” familiar with the technology, compared to 36% in 2003.

“Nonetheless, with the majority still saying they know little or nothing about DVRs, there remains much room for future growth from a better-educated populace,” Lieberman Research wrote in the study findings.

The study also found that digital-cable subscribers (48%) and satellite customers (49%) are more familiar with DVRs than analog-cable subscribers, of which 32% said they were familiar with DVRs.

There also hasn’t been an increased interest in DVRs from customers that don’t have the devices, the study found.

“Non-[DVR] owners show no higher proclivity toward purchasing DVRs than they did a year ago,” Lieberman wrote in the research report.

The study also found that cable and satellite customers are relying more on interactive program guides to find television programs. CTAM said 49% of survey respondents agreed strongly that their IPG makes it easy to find something to watch, while one-third agreed that IPGs make television more enjoyable, help them plan their viewing, and expand the variety of programs they watch.

FINDING DIGINETS

In some good news for programmers, 41% of digital-cable customers surveyed said they found new channels to watch while using their IPG, up from 27% in 2003.

The advantages offered by an IPG may even help drive sales of digital-cable programming packages, researchers said.

“There is a good story to tell about IPGs. Indeed, at this point, IPGs likely could be utilized as an inducement for analog customers to upgrade to digital,” Lieberman said.

Lieberman engaged the tracking study in October 2004, conducting 1,203 25-minute interviews with a national sample of adults living in cable or satellite households.

September