Digeo Gets SDV-Ready

Digeo Inc. is making steps to ensure that a forthcoming hi-def digital video recorder (DVR) outfitted with a CableCARD slot will be able to handle services delivered via switched digital video (SDV), a technique that some cable operators are using to free up bandwidth for expanded HD programming tiers and "niche" programming.

On Tuesday, Digeo said that a new box, dubbed the Moxi Cable HD DVR 3012, has completed interoperability testing with SDV pioneer BigBand Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: BBND). (See Digeo Preps for SDV.)

Digeo has yet to announce similar integrations with other SDV suppliers such as Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), and Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT). (See Who Makes What: Switched Digital Video .) But adding any of those to the list may not matter much to Digeo… at least yet, when one considers the near-term deployment plans for the HD DVR 3012, which was introduced at The Cable Show in May. (See New Moxi Boxi.)

Moxi Guide

That's because Charter Communications Inc. , Digeo's corporate cousin, is the first MSO (and only, so far) to commit to deploy the new Moxi box and its on-board interactive program guide (IPG). (See Charter Offers New Digeo STB.) Additionally, Charter, which plans to deploy the HD DVR 3012 sometime in the third quarter, has launched switched digital video in just one market, Los Angeles, and has already selected BigBand as its SDV partner in that particular cable system. (See Charter Charts First SDV Course .)

Charter has not identified any other SDV launch sites, but in August the MSO noted that it will use both switching and analog reclamation to clear out channel space for more HDTV programming as well as Docsis 3.0-based cable modem services. (See Charter Sets Course for Docsis 3.0, All-Digital.)

Getting ready for SDV and Charter is a necessary step for Digeo, which has been without a viable cable set-top box since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ban on integrated security set tops went into effect last July.

And much is riding on the success of Digeo's new CableCARD-enabled, dual-tuner HD DVR. The Paul Allen-backed company unveiled that box about five months after Digeo cut about half its staff and whacked two media center products originally tagged for retail distribution: the Moxi Home Cinema Edition DMR (digital media recorder) and the Moxi Multi-Room HD DMR. (See Digeo Revs Up for Retail and Moxi Maker Digeo Slashes Staff, Product Line .)

In addition to the HD-DVR set for direct distribution through cable operators, Digeo is also working on a "next-generation consumer DMR" for retail, but has yet to release much detail about what features will grace that product.

BigBand, meanwhile, says it has integrated its SDV platform with five IPGs. In addition to Digeo's Moxi guide, BigBand has completed interops with IPGs from Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. (Nasdaq: GMST) (TV Guide Interactive and the Aptiv Digital guide), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) (Navigator), and Cisco (the SARA guide). Late last month, BigBand said its SDV platform is deployed or is in the process of being deployed in cable systems passing north of 14 million homes. (See BigBand Beats the Street.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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