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Television recorders are going online. Online recording can be done through several ways. Cable and IPTV service provider can make central remote recorders available to their subscribers. The recorders are operated by the users but this far their use have been limited to dedicated set top boxes. Device manufacturers are starting to produce consumer devices and software that can be connected to Internet at consumers' homes. In the operator model, the recording is done near the core of the broadcast network while in the consumer model it is done at the edge of the network.
Both the core and edge models offer advantages compared to non-networked television and recording. Network PVRs offer ways to include new social features to television experience. However the models are very different when it comes to the control of the rights owners and service providers. One may expect different kind of innovation to happen in the two service types.
The core model can help to provide access to premium content while the edge model enables the full use of social networks. With the social enrichment of current TV offerings the edge model may prove to create disruption to the industry that is accustomed to control the consumption of content.
Herkko Hietanen is a Researcher at Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (www.hiit.fi), Research Fellow at Berkman Center for Internet and Society and Visiting Scientist, at Communication's futures program MIT (http://cfp.mit.edu/). Herkko is a lawyer by training and has a Phd. in economics. His previous work has examined the efficiency of Creative Commons licensing, fair use in copyright law and electronic voting. Herkko has also counceled several Finnish and international IT companies with his law firm Turre Legal (www.turre.com).