Digeo Revs Up for Retail

When Digeo Inc. enters the retail market for advanced digital set-tops later this year, it's going its own way, rather than the tru2way way.

Digeo, which is also working on a new lower-end box for cable MSO distribution, will soon go direct to consumers with a feature-filled, hi-def, multi-room DVR platform aimed at video enthusiasts.

The dual-tuner base hub, dubbed the Moxi HD DMR Multi-Room, will sell for about $1,000. Digeo has yet to disclose a price for the Moxi Mate, the boxes that will feed from the primary box.

But rather than supporting tru2way, the new brand for the OpenCable Platform that Comcast chief Brian Roberts played up during his keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Digeo is enabling two-way connectivity via the Internet and the main hub's high-speed IP connection. (See CES: Roberts Declares Open Season and Slideshow: On the Hunt for 'tru2way' at CES .)

The central hub/DVR will feature a 320-gigabyte hard drive. Digeo is also testing an external drive that could expand storage by another 2 terabytes.

In another move that doesn't reflect the cable sector's general technology choices, Digeo's retail boxes will not use Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) specifications to communicate between the media center and the other devices hanging off the home network.

Instead, Digeo is using the secure 1394/5C interface in conjunction with an Ultrawideband-over-coax system that, the company claims, can support throughputs of about 400 Mbit/s.

Digeo CEO Mike Fidler believes the retail products will resonate as consumers switch out older TVs with hi-def displays in anticipation of the February 2009 digital transition.

Digeo, which is backed by Paul Allen and has corporate connections to Charter Communications Inc. , is using a one-way CableCARD host so it can be sold nationally through retail. It will work on cable systems supported by the Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) or Scientific Atlanta conditional access systems.

The interactive IP connection, Fidler explains, will allow Digeo to retain its user interface and application suite. The company hopes those value-added features and capabilities will entice consumers to buy the Moxi boxes rather than lease HD-DVRs through their local cable operators.

"We can do two-way without losing that experience we provide," Fidler says.

But that doesn't necessarily mean that the boxes will forever be unable to access cable's two-way apps, including video on demand and channels that are delivered through switched digital video (SDV) architectures.

Last year, CableLabs made a few tweaks to tru2way/OpenCable that will allow TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) retail DVRs to toggle between "Cable Mode" and "TiVo Mode," thus preserving the company's native user interface and applications, and keeping conflicts with operator-supplied apps at a minimum.

A dongle called the "tuning resolver," meanwhile, will turn inherently one-way CableCARD-based TVs and set-tops into interactive cable devices. (See TiVo à la Mode , CableLabs Spec Brings SDV to the Masses, and 'Tuning Resolver' Faces IP Hurdles .)

"We're hopeful that [the tuning resolver] will come out quickly so those cable customers are not abandoned and disenfranchised," Fidler says. Motorola has already predicted that its version should come to market by mid-2008.

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Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 3:49:54 PM
re: Digeo Revs Up for Retail OrGǪmaybe revving down, now that word spreads that there are BIG changes over at Digeo. So, I'm sitting here at the SCTE ET show and a buddy tells me that Digeo has laid off 80 employees (half of the staff) and whacked two product lines . Oh, and CEO Mike Fidler has stepped down. other than that, it's business as usual ;)

Not exactly the song they were singing at CES. Gee, ya think Paul Allen would've brought the hammer down before the big showGǪ

Anyway, we'll have much more on this laterGǪ
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