Later this year, Time Warner Cable will introduce a new feature to their customers, called Look Back. Free of charge, it enables viewers to rewind or restart programs they are watching or have recorded. The service does come with some limitations, though; there is no apparent fast-forward function, which means that the viewer is still slaved to advertisments. Also, recorded programming gets hit with the Cinderella effect: if you don’t watch your shows by midnight, they’re lost forever.
I talked about this over on TV Jab. I don’t really mind the lack of fast-forward functionality, since this is designed more for the casual TV viewer versus the hardcore viewer who will more than likely have already purchased a DVR. My main beef is the short window that you have to watch. If the ad that normally would have been skipped on a DVR is going to be watched anyway, why can the viewer not have longer than less than 24 hours to watch?
Regardless, I’m fascinated by the ways that networks are trying to work around the DVR dilemma that are facing advertisers.
The Look Back feature rolls out to the South Carolina market in October, and spreads from there.