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Cable/Video

EchoStar DVR Goes Slim & Trim

4:00 PM -- EchoStar Europe, Charlie Ergen's across-the-pond tech unit, has launched what it thinks is the slimmest DVR on the planet… and probably the entire solar system.

That product, code-named "Mercury" (now the smallest planet in our solar system after Pluto got demoted to a rock that just happens to be orbiting our Sun), is 9 millimeters high and stays slim by eating smart, working out, and, oh yeah, leveraging a 32-Gbyte solid state memory chip to handle the typical DVR functions. The box (slate?) also houses the conditional access system and video inputs and outputs you might find in a more traditional DVR.

Slimline DVR

But it's still in the "concept" phase, and the company confirmed that there are no customers for it yet. EchoStar is targeting it to the European TV market, where livingroom space is generally at a premium, as opposed to many areas of the US. The initial version is designed for satellite TV reception but could be adapted for cable or IPTV.

And it follows along an emerging trend for "DVR-lite" products that don't require much home real estate. Advanced Digital Broadcast (ADB) and NDS Ltd. , for example, have developed set-top platforms that use removable flash memory cards in lieu of boxes with massive DVR storage. Storage in the Mercury box is fixed, but it's designed to support more when connected to an external hard drive via USB. (See Tru2way 'Phantom' Box Is a DVR Lightweight and Cable Catchup .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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