I saw in the news today that Isuppli (a market research firm) estimates that global subscribers to digital video recording (DVR) services will rise dramtically between now and 2010. They projected the number of global subscribers to DVR services will at a CAGR of 45.3%, up from 12.9 million in 2005 to 83.4 million in 2010.

From EE Times:

The study also noted that DVR deployments are accelerating in Europe, where both satellite and new IPTV offerings are emerging. Meanwhile, in Japan, DVR has proven popular in DVD players/recorders, while networked DVRs are appearing elsewhere in Asia.

Total DVR equipment shipments will rise to 84 million units by 2010, while service revenue will reach $2 billion, iSuppli projects.

Should be an interesting couple of years.

As more computers (like the Windows Media Center), cable & sat set top boxes and consumer electronics include DVR capabilities as a feature, I can certainly see this as a reality. With more innovative distribution systems (like MovieBeam) and broadband subscription models evolve (such as CinemaNow), I can see more and more deals being made just as Netflix and TiVo announced a couple of years ago.

So, how long will it be until we see a Blockbuster or NetFlix-sponsored DVR? One where, as in the cable and satellite models, the box is free - you just pay for the servce.

Late last month, Reuters reported that TiVo was "considering giving away TiVo set-top boxes as part of plans to win subscribers." (They targeted a $16.95 monthly fee which included the service and the box for a one year contract.) I haven't seen anything come from the Netflix and TiVo deal, which would allow you to access Netflix's library of movies via broadband.

Personally, I would sign up for a movie service that provided an extension of the current DVD-rental-by-mail we enjoy at home. Blockbuster provides bonus coupons for a couple of movies a month, which we use. With kids in the house, we request several movies: figure 6 or 7 a month for our weekend evening movie nites. If we had the ability to access them over our DVR or Media Center, we'd avoid the wait, Blockbuster would avoid the inventory and postage fees.

But then there is a possible new impact, as John C. Dvorak of PC Magazine wrote about this month...

If they were serving the public interest, the telcos and cable companies would simply provide a very fast connection, and services would flow over those connections in ways determined by the user—everything IP-driven. But these companies would like to use gangland tactics to get into every part of your business. You buy the 1.5-Mbps link, it costs a fixed amount. You actually want to use it, it costs more. How about putting a server on it? Nope, you have to pay extra. Can you make a VoIP Skype call? No way, costs more. So you're not getting a real 1.5-Mbps line at all—you're getting scammed, in fact.

More on that later.