Arris Slashes Moxi Retail Prices

In its first official Moxi-related move since taking Digeo Inc. off Paul Allen's hands for $20 million, Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) is cutting the price on its dual-tuner retail HD-DVR and introducing a new three-tuner version. (See Arris Digs Digeo .)

Arris, as part of its fall "product update" on the retail Moxi product line, is chopping $300 from the two-tuner Moxi box, reducing the unit price to $499 in time for the 2009 holiday shopping season.

Arris is selling the new three-tuner version, which allows users to record three channels simultaneously while watching a fourth recorded program, for $799 per unit. That price also includes one "Moxi Mate" for multi-room viewing.

Arris is also introducing a larger multi-room bundle option on the three-tuner product, selling the main HD-DVR, plus two Moxi Mates devices, for $999. In yet another price-cutting move, Arris said it will knock $100 off the price of individual Moxi Mates, selling them for $299 each.

The smaller Moxi Mates are designed to access content from the primary box over the home network using 802.11n, Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) , Home Phoneline Networking Alliance (HomePNA) , HomePlug Powerline Alliance , or whatever other wired or wireless home networking tech customers choose to use. Digeo (before becoming part of Arris) launched the multi-room Moxi Mate option in August as part of its slate of summer product updates. An earlier set of releases enabled the retail Moxi HD-DVR to access "over-the-top" video from sources such as Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) and Hulu LLC . (See Digeo Flips Switch on SDV, Multi-Room and Digeo Goes Over the Top .)

In its fall round of product enhancements, Arris is enabling the Moxi Mates to access live television channels from the Moxi HD DVR (previously access was limited to shows recorded to the HD DVR's hard drive)… so long as there is a live tuner available on the primary box. Arris will enable all of these updates via an automated software download but hasn't said when it will deliver the upgrades to the deployed base.

Although Arris is cutting prices ahead of the holiday shopping season, it has done away with a payment plan option Digeo introduced in April that let consumers buy the HD-DVR over periods of either four or 20 months, Marc Beckwitt, VP of Arris's CPE video business, told reporters on Monday. (See Digeo Tweaks Buying Options .)

While the latest round of updates indicates that Arris intends to carry on with Digeo's retail strategy for the time being, there's still no word on how many of those boxes Digeo and Arris have been able to sell via retail channels over the last 11 months. (See Digeo HD-DVR Enters Retail Waters .)

The bulk of Digeo products shipped so far (about 300,000 units) are of the direct-to-MSO variety, and are in the hands of operators such as Charter Communications Inc. , BendBroadband , and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC).

Since buying Digeo, Arris has started work on a new class of Moxi-powered multimedia cable gateways that will be sold directly to operators and bundle in multiple Docsis tuners and QAM tuners, making the box capable of feeding in both IP- and RF-sourced video. (See Digeo Gives Arris Multimedia Gateway Potential .)

The company is also considering adding in technology that would enable video "place-shifting," and it's offered a few hints on whether any of that content would be sent off-net to another Internet-connected device or simply redistributed to PCs or handsets on the home network. (See Arris Crafting Its Own Video Sling.)

Nothing's been set in stone on those efforts, but the company notes that it is aiming to ensure that the Moxi interface/guide can be adapted to the PC and mobile worlds so the experience is similar to that found on the primary television. However, any place-shifting of content will involve only registered, "trusted clients" associated with the cable subscriber and deliver only content that's within the MSO's "walled garden."

So, bottom line, don't expect any of these Arris gateways to enable the place-shifting of live or recorded content unless the cable operator has secured the content rights to do so.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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