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Comcast Tests ‘Super DVR’ Recording 15 Shows at Once

Comcast has joined the super DVR race with a market-limited trial of a new feature for the X1 platform that enables customers to record as many as 15 shows at once.

Comcast, which has been touting the expanded digital video recorder in local TV ads and Internet promotions of X1, confirmed that it recently began to pilot the new option in its 14-state Northeast region, which includes systems serving parts of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Connecticut, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.

POWERED BY MoCA

As a new twist on its “AnyRoom DVR” service option, Comcast enables those test customers to record up to 15 shows at once (or record 12 shows at once, while watching three) by linking together the storage and tuning capabilities of three X1 HD-DVRs, and sharing recorded content between them via a home network that utilizes high-speed, IP-based Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) technology.

That setup is similar to the way Verizon Communications enables customers of its new Quantum TV platform to record up to 12 shows at once. Verizon gets there by pairing two Arris-made Verizon Media Servers that are each outfitted with six tuners and 1 terabyte of DVR storage.

The AnyRoom DVR option/upgrade that ties together three X1 HD-DVRs costs about $60 per month, according to Comcast.

Comcast has yet to extend similarly beefed-up recording capabilities to its Cloud DVR, which presently lets customers record up to five shows at once and provides 500 Gigabytes of video storage. That product, which also supports in-home streaming of live TV to mobile devices and the ability to sideload DVR-recorded programs to tablets, smartphones and PCs, has been launched in Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

CROWDED FIELD

Comcast has not announced when its new AnyRoom DVR option for X1 will be rolled out nationwide, but the initial trial puts the MSO in a solid competitive position.

While Verizon’s new Quantum TV set-up supports 12 tuners for DVR recording, Dish Network’s Hopper HDDVR with the Super Joey can record up to eight shows at once. DirecTV’s Genie whole-home DVR can currently record up to five shows at once.

Comcast’s new trial feature also puts it on par with Cablevision Systems, which recently completed an upgrade to its network-based DVR that lets customers record up to 15 concurrent shows.

Numbers 17% Share of the U.S. prepared to deliver 4K streaming-video services over broadband, placing the country at No. 13 in the overall global rankings.

SOURCE: Akamai State of the Internet Report for Q1 2014