Canadian IPTV Startup Launches Cloud PVR

Toronto-based VMedia will allow subscribers to record and retrieve TV shows for viewing without expensive hardware.

TORONTO – Canadian IPTV service VMedia on Wednesday unveiled a network PVR it claims is a game changer for the country's TV viewing experience.

The Toronto-based company's VCloudTV PVR will enable subscribers to record and store TV content in the clouds for viewing within seven days, and without the need for bulky boxes and wires.

"With this feature, we will be able to save the $1.5 billion in PVRs needed to go into half of Canadian homes," VMedia director George Burger explained Wednesday as his net PVR was rolled out in Toronto.

VMedia's main competitors, Rogers Communications and Bell Canada, offer costly PVRs to win over new TV subscribers.

Initially, the VCloud TV platform will offer customers access to 16 conventional TV channels available in Canada, including NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox and PBS, without the need for a physical PVR in the home.

VMedia will next negotiate rights from cable channel providers to allow time-shift viewing of those niche services.

Burger sees VCloud TV as disruptive, but not in terms of copyright violations as with the U.S.-based Aereo case as VMedia negotiated with content providers for the rights to programming available on its net PVR.

If anything, he sees the VCloud TV platform following Cablevision’s remote-storage DVR service in that it conforms to the copyright of program producers.

"This will end up saving the industry, rather than doing damage to it," Burger added.

VMedia's net PVR is the latest edge the Canadian startup is banking on as it competes in Ontario against bigger industry rivals.

The IPTV service earlier introduced largely unbundled channel packages for TV subscribers as Canada drives toward a pick-and-pay regime nationwide.

VMedia currently has around 7,000 subscribers in Ontario, and targets a mostly male market aged 18 to 36 years.

Burger predicted his startup could break even within one year if it surpasses 15,000 customers.