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Video services

Multi-Room VOD

4:45 PM -- Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), and many other cable operators, still haven't launched a multi-room digital video recorder (DVR) product, allowing Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) to continue to steal all that thunder. But the nation's largest cable MSO is at least adding a few software smarts that enable customers to initiate a video-on-demand (VOD) stream on one set-top in the house and restart or finish it on another.

Comcast calls this set-top de-islanding capability "AnyRoom On Demand." Earlier this week, the MSO said it launched the feature in the New Jersey area. (See Comcast Expands 'AnyRoom'.) I can also confirm that it's up and running in the MSO's Denver market. Both systems use the Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) digital platform. Comcast is also working on a version of AnyRoom that will run on Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)-based digital cable environments.

A Comcast spokeswoman said the MSO is in the process of rolling out the capability across the board, but couldn't offer a completion date or divulge any other markets that have already introduced AnyRoom.

As for the feature itself, the customer's "Saved Programs" list can be shared with all digital boxes within a household that are registered to the same account. AnyRoom also authorizes customers to watch the same VOD program from two or more different digital boxes simultaneously. The feature is limited to on-demand programs that are greater than 19 minutes in length.

Here in Denver, AnyRoom appeared to be working fine on our Motorola-made boxes, as well as the Pace Micro Technology "Vegas" SD-DVR we have in service.

And Comcast seems to be pretty much in love with the "Any" product brand. As you might recall, "AnyPlay" is the name of a portable DVR Comcast and Panasonic Corp. (NYSE: PC) introduced in January at the Consumer Electronics Show. (See Comcast, Panasonic Unveil Portable DVR .)

I just thought I'd mention that.

― Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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