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CES 2009: Cisco Gears Up For Whole-Home DVR Trials

Las Vegas—Cisco Systems expects several cable providers to initiate field trials in the second quarter of its next-generation set-top, the Explorer 8600, the company’s first to provide high-definition multiroom DVR features.

Multiroom DVR allows subscribers to access recordings on a master DVR from any other set-top in the home. The Explorer 8600 series, available with up to 500 Gigabytes of disk storage, supports the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) 1.1 specification to distribute high-def video over existing in-home coaxial cable.

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Cable operators have been eager to introduce multiroom DVR, as both AT&T and Verizon offer it as options for their video services.

“That’s clearly a key item for us and our cable customers,” Dave Clark, director of product strategy and management for Cisco Systems’ Service Provider Video Technology Group said.

Clark declined to identify which MSOs are working on the multiroom DVR trials. He said customer deployments are planned for the third quarter of 2009.

Adding multiroom DVR will enable other media-sharing capabilities, Clark noted. The 8600 supports the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) and Digital Transmission Copy Protection (DTCP) over IP standards for content-sharing.

The Explorer 8600, available with a black-matte finish, also will include a USB 2.0 port—the first Cisco/SA box to do so—as well as an Ethernet port, DOCSIS 2.0, tru2way support, 1-GHz tuners, and MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 decoders. The set-top’s processor, Cisco’s sixth-generation chip set, is more powerful than previous versions, providing 1000 million instructions per second (MIPS).