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Video-on-demand (VOD) is

a [cable] service [that] allows a customer, using an on-screen menu and the remote control, to view at any time programming selected by the cable company. Pursuant to licenses negotiated with the programming owners, the cable company receives programming for VOD exhibition at its head-end, where the content is stored on computers. The cable company delivers the VOD content on extra channel frequencies that are not being used for linear programming. . . . VOD also requires a 'reverse' channel for each customer, so that the customer can communicate with the cable company to select the desired programming and control the playback (i.e. rewind, fast-forward, and pause). These playback control functions are known as "trick modes."[1]


Unlike with a VCR or a set-top DVR, a customer who uses a VOD service need not previously have recorded the program in question, and he may be able to view programs either never aired at all or would not haven been available as part of the subscriber's cable package.


  1. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. v. Cablevision Sys. Corp., 478 F.Supp.2d 607, 611 (S.D.N.Y. 2007) (full-text).

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