Charter: We Still Dig Digeo

Charter Communications Inc. has been quick to shoot down speculation that it plans to phase out its support of Digeo Inc. 's "Moxi" line of set-tops and on-screen navigation systems, including an upcoming hi-def digital video recorder with a CableCARD slot.

Digeo has been without a viable cable set-top product since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ban on set-tops with integrated security went into effect last July. (See Countdown to 'Seven-Oh-Seven'.)

Following a significant layoff, leadership reshuffle, and complete reset on its product plans in January, Digeo has set its near-term focus on a new CableCARD-based, dual-tuner, hi-def, digital video recorder called the Moxi 3012 HD DVR. (See Moxi Maker Digeo Slashes Staff, Product Line and New Moxi Boxi.)

Moxi 3012 HD DVR

The 3012 HD DVR will be sold directly to cable operators. Charter and BendBroadband are the first to sign on. Digeo is also developing a retail strategy that will combine its boxes with in-house applications and some broadband-fed digital content services. (See Digeo Update and Charter Offers New Digeo STB.)

At the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) Expo in Denver in early September, Digeo CEO Greg Gudorf said the company was on track to begin distributing the 3012 model to operators later this year. (See Digeo Update.)

With the end of the year approaching quickly, and the potential for further delays increasing, observers are wondering if the product will ever reach its intended MSO destinations.

But a Charter spokeswoman says the MSO is in the "final stages" of testing the new Digeo box. However, Charter is not yet ready to say when and where the box will debut, other than to note that deployments will begin "in the near future."

"Our markets are anxious to do this," she says of the coming intro of the 3012.

Digeo has already made moves to ensure that its new box can tune to channels offered in an operator's "switched" programming tier. (See Digeo Gets SDV-Ready and Charter Charts First SDV Course .)

Charter is already the biggest supporter of Digeo's earlier generation box/software platform, which embeds the Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) conditional access system.

And a scuttling or phasing out of Digeo's relationship with Charter would seem an unlikely outcome, given that they share the same backer, Paul Allen.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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