What's happening to DVR growth? It's been growing at a slow-ish 5% clip per year, hovering around the 30%-of-U.S.-households mark for some time, according to analysts.
Not bad. But not at the fast-paced, euphoric rate of consumer electronic products like mobile phones or DVD machines in past years.
Brad Adgate, senior vp and corporate research director for Horizon Media, notes more than a few research estimates have had to lowergrowth estimates of DVR technology and service.
Many projections had DVRs in 40% to 45% of U.S. TV households by now. "They probably thought it was going to be a quicker consumer commodity than it has been," Adgate says. Media researcher Shari Anne Brill, who recently departed ways with Carat USA, also questioned the slow growth pace of DVRs.
Twelve years ago, when the DVR was introduced, it was thought to be major game changer, with a big impact on time-shifting as well as the notorious element of fast-forwarding through commercials.
But it seems perhaps consumers have moved on - and marketers along with them. DVR technology has long been a key piece of digital set-top-box technology. But cable companies still charge $10 or more a month extra to get a DVR unit and service.
Digital cable is in about 60% of all cable TV homes. Some executives believe those homes are less likely to upgrade - at least with DVR service.
At the moment, there's free, ad-supported viewing of TV shows online, video on demand, and new TV sets with internet connections - all growing trends. Get the picture?
Why don't cable companies just give DVR service away for free? Perhaps there is no significant upside - unlike with voice, mobile, and broadband services.
Even iTunes is feeling the pinch. Rumors abound it wants to cut the price of a TV episode with no commercials from $1.99 to 99 cents.
There's too much competition for the original service that time-shifts TV programming from linear program schedules. Marketers can almost rejoice that their consumers' fast-forwarding days are numbered -- that is, until the next new technology rolls around.