Cablevision and, potentially, the rest of the U.S. cable industry was handed a major victory Monday by the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to consider a broadcast industry appeal of a Second Circuit court ruling that affirmed the legality of Cablevision’s proposed network digital video recording (DVR) system. Unlike set-top DVRs that require installation in cable subscriber homes, Cablevision’s network DVR system enables subscribers to record, store, and retrieve programs remotely through the cable operator’s servers. Arguing that Cablevision’s network DVR system constitutes a video-on-demand service that requires a licensing agreement, major broadcast networks and film studios that include CBS, News Corp., and the Walt Disney Company filed suit on grounds that the remote DVR service infringes media copyrights. Although the broadcasters convinced a federal district court to block Cablevision’s service, the Second Circuit sided with Cablevision last year, concluding that the remote DVR system is essentially no different from a VCR and thus “would not directly infringe plaintiffs’ exclusive right to reproduce and publicly perform their copyrighted works.” Following on earlier recommendations of the U.S. Solicitor General, the Supreme Court this week declined the broadcasters’ appeal without comment. With the last legal impediment to Cablevision’s service now removed, experts anticipate that Comcast, Time Warner Cable and other major cable industry players will follow suit with remote DVR offerings of their own. Commenting on the impact of the court’s action, a Standard & Poors analyst termed the decision as “clearly an important chapter in the history of digital television.”