Comcast to test whole-home DVR:

“Comcast will shake up the digital video recorder business today by unveiling a system to go on field trial in Philadelphia midyear that records TV shows and uses cable lines to distribute them through the home.

Samsung will make decoders with built-in DVRs — which record TV shows to a hard drive, making them far easier to use than VCRs. Set-top units for other TVs will access that hard drive. Ucentric Systems will provide the software to sort through TV schedules and help users select shows to record.

What makes the Comcast system different from DVRs such as those from TiVo and ReplayTV is its ability to piggyback on the cable system to create a home network. That eliminates the need for extra connections or equipment.” CED Broadband Direct News

This seems to be an effort to introduce DVRs to the masses, remedying their renowned inability to program their VCRs’ clocks and, in the process, restoring control to the media giants who are threatened by the viewercentric TiVo attitude. Although a spokesperson touts the notion that the Comcast system is as “full-featured” as existing DVRs, I’ve heard rumors that this and other systems planned by cable giants do not allow you to fast forward through commercials and may limit which programming you can record at all. Anyone with more information on this? (TiVo, it should be noted, has just introduced a home networking upgrade that works via ethernet or WiFi, as current users are well aware.)