Friday, August 29, 2008

It all started with a remote

My DVR at home in Maine was one of my friends. She knew when my favorite shows where on, she recorded them for me, she saved them for me, and she alerted me when a show was starting. Ultimately, she just never let me down. But, like my human friends, she had to stay at home in Maine. Once I moved to Florida however, I decided digital cable and a DVR were not in my budget. Therefore, I dusted off the 'ol VCR and have been manually programming my shows. Just for the record- I am surviving. Anyway, I've seen many a commercial related to the Bright House Networks digital cable service. Not only can you start a show over if you've missed part of it, you can partake in polls by voting via your own remote! How cool and interactive is that? I had been watching Bay News 9 one night, and some poll related to a political question came up on the screen. The instructions were to press *A* for option A and press *B* for option B, and the results would be displayed on screen later on in the broadcast. I thought that was the coolest thing (don't forget I'm from Maine and though it's a pretty neat state, and usually a test market for this sort of cool technology...I had never seen/heard of this.) Sure enough, later in the broadcast, X amount of people had voted via their remote and there were the results on screen.

I realize this technology, per se, is not new. For years we have been able to order a pay-per-view movie via remote. But, I think Bright house has taken this a step further. No longer does the remote control just your DVR box, it is connected to a larger network and therefore able to communicate with other users with polls.

Another point I learned upon reading this article, customers are not able to pay their cable (phone and internet-should they have that package) by, you guess it- their remote. Gone are the days when one has to wait for a paper bill to arrive, only to write a check and mail back a check. Of course, that option is still available, but for some, this new interactive connection is the newest and in my opinion more convenient way to pay a bill.

If we've come this far already with a DVR, and think about it, it was only a few years ago the TiVo was introduced. Imagine what another five or ten years will bring to the ever changing interactive DVR. Hopefully soon, a DVR will be in my future, and you can bet your bottom dollar I will be participating in polls and bill paying!


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