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Motorola Bows Touchscreen Cable

Motorola’s Broadband Communications unit will show at CES a handheld touchscreen device that wirelessly links command controls of its new digital set-top boxes with television sets and allows viewers to browse interactive TV programming without cluttering up the TV screen.

The EVr-8401, which made its debut at the recent Western Cable Show, is called an “Enhanced TV Viewer” that was designed to connect to either a Motorola DCT5000 family advanced interactive digital set-top terminal’s cable modem or to a stand-alone cable modem to provide an “always-on,” high-speed connection.

When used with a data cable service, the EVr-8401 provides a second screen for accessing Internet content relating to the TV programming viewers are watching, Motorola said. This allows individual viewers to scan Interactive programming data, leaving the TV screen uncluttered for others in the room to enjoy the main video program.

Because the view is lightweight and portable, users can pass the unit around the room or in other rooms to point out data and graphics relevant to others.

Key uses cited by Motorola include, Internet access, e-mail, chat and instant messaging applications, remote touch-screen keyboard typing, or on-screen handwriting recognition. The device will also play MP3 audio files from the Web and tune in channels via the remote-control using Motorola DCT2000 and DCT5000 family set-top boxes and other consumer electronics products.

Motorola’s DCT5000, DCT5100 and DCT5200 digital set-top TV cable boxes offer an interactive, DOCSIS-enabled broadband connection using a built-in cable modem, expanded memory and high-speed processor. Each of these advanced-interactive set-tops also offers an integrated high-definition decoder as a standard feature to allow cable operators an economical means of addressing the growing HD market, Motorola said.

The boxes include electronic program guides (EPGs), pay-per-view (PPV) options, and video-on-demand (VOD) capability, in addition to future IP and video-based interactivity, including PVR, streaming media, high-speed Web browsing, IP and video telephony, file-transfer capability, session-oriented gaming, and advanced middleware suites.

The system uses the Windows CE NET platform, and Microsoft said it planned to exhibit the EVr-8401 at booth 1041 at CES.