By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Cable TV set-top solutions manufacturer Digeo said it is preparing two Moxi digital set-top boxes for market including a version intended for retail distribution early in 2009.
Greg Gudorf, Digeo president, said the first device to reach the market will be distributed through cable operator Charter Communications later this month to be followed shortly by "a second MSO." The device will incorporate an HD DVR and the Moxi integrated user interface.
The second device, which will be distributed nationally through retail stores, is expected to ship in January. It will include a multistream CableCARD but will not have Tru2way capability, which isn't expected to be ready at roll out, Gudorf said. However, it will have Internet capability to enable gathering video-on-demand-like services from the Web.
It is also expected to offer a range of services and service provider partners to expand a viewer's options for acquiring video, photos, music and home-control automation.
In addition, Digeo is working on a Moxi PC product that will offer Moxi software to bring the Moxi media center experience to any Windows, XP, Vista or Media Center PC.
Meanwhile, Gudorf said, the company has also reached an agreement with Big Band Networks to include switched digital video support in its devices to remain compatible with the changing transmission systems of cable operators. Switched digital video will enable cable operators to fit many more channels of HDTV programming into the bandwidth of their cable lines.
In addition, Digeo received approval from CableLabs earlier in the year on its first digital-cable-ready product, and established a product development collaboration agreement with Monster Cable on a Digital Express Powered By Moxi product. Digeo supplies the power center with a user interface developed by Moxi, enabling users to aggregate photos, video and music files from across a DLNA network for playback on the product.
As Digeo's retail set-top products move closer to market, the company will be deploying a "Share mantra" in its messages to dealers and consumers, Gudorf said. The company will seek to inform consumers that its Moxi Digital set-top boxes will allow them to "discover, experience and share" photos, music and video files gathered from a wide range of platforms and services, including the Web, cable TV providers and networked PC hard drives, and present them all together in one easy to navigate user interface.
"It's all about bringing HD content together no matter where it is, on the home network, the Internet or the cable network," Gudorf said.
Gudorf said Digeo has improved its user interface to become one of the first true HD interfaces, offering 16:9 full screen graphics in HD-level resolution. This will help change the amount of information and the way it is presented on Moxi HD devices.
For music, Digeo has partnered with FineTune, Rhapsody and Sirius to present subscription-based music service options to its Moxi Media Center boxes. For photo presentation on TV screens, Digeo will offer its set-top users access to the Flickr software and service.
To offer the whole-house experience, Digeo has opted to move beyond offering universal plug-and-play support to include full DLNA support, Gudorf said. The forthcoming Moxi retail product will be able to take a look at all of the DLNA-connected content throughout the home, he added.
At launch the device will also include very basic home-control capabilities that will "tease what the full capabilities will be," he said.
"We will be able to control lighting in the room, A/V devices and integrated Web cams. This means when you start a movie, you can program the system to automatically dim the lights and the A/V equipment will automatically enter the cinema mode," said Gudorf.
Digeo is working with 4Home Media, ZWave and others to integrate home control in the Moxi interface.
For future products, which are expected sometime after July 2009, Digeo is working on adding Tru2way capability to deliver interactivity between the user and cable provider. This will enable such services as video on demand and pay-per-view ordering.
"We think Tru2way will have an interesting role within the future of the cable business and the consumer electronics retail business as it relates to cable," Gudorf said. "There is a lot of work ahead yet, however, on Tru2way — work from the CE manufacturers in actually implementing the Tru2way specification and work from the cable operators on getting their head-ends ready so they can consistently support Tru2way as it rolls out."
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