CenturyLink patents new power outage backup mechanism for DVRs

System would rely on ONTs to save scheduled TV programs
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CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) has filed a patent to develop a system and method that will enable digital video recorders (DVRs) to record video content if a power loss occurs by using an optical network terminal (ONT) that terminates services at the home as the backup mechanism.

U.S. patent 8,351,759, "Power outage DVR backup system," was awarded on Jan. 8, 2013. The inventors named on the patent are Jamie Howarter and Doug Ceballos.

To ensure customers can retrieve their recordings when the power comes back on the ONT, a key piece of equipment in Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) and FTTN (Fiber to the Node) architecture, will be used to backup and store scheduled television programs if a power outage affects the DVR.

According to the patent filing, the ONT will have a method to determine "whether the digital video recorder is scheduled to record a program during a time coinciding with the power outage."

If a power outage occurs at the time the DVR is scheduled to record a program, the method will save the data on the ONT and store the "video data corresponding to the program on a data storage unit associated with the optical network terminal during the time of the power outage." When the power comes back on, the video stored on the ONT is then transferred to the DVR.  

CenturyLink has been rolling out its Prism IPTV service in select markets, a service that includes whole home DVR. Sticking to its traditional telco guys, CenturyLink, much like Qwest, which it purchased in 2011, uses a hybrid copper/FTTN last-mile architecture leveraging a mix of ADSL2+ and VDSL2 depending on loop lengths.

Although CenturyLink has been more conservative than its larger RBOC counterparts in delivering video services, it has been making progress with its Prism IPTV service every quarter.

In Q3 2012, the telco reported that it added over 10,000 Prism IPTV subscribers and 44,000 new DSL customers, ending the quarter with over 104,000 and 5.8 million subscribers, respectively. Like its fellow RBOC brothers AT&T (NYSE: T) and TDS Telecom (NYSE: TDS), CenturyLink reported that over 90 percent of its IPTV customers bundled TV service with broadband.

For more:
- see the patent filing

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