DirecTV Initiates 150-Home Test Of 'Receiver-Less' Video Technology

DirecTV has started field testing a home video-gateway technology that promises to let customers watch TV and DVR recordings on TVs without an additional set-top -- although initially, the trial is being conducted using only the satellite operator's own equipment.

The satellite operator is testing the DirecTV Home Media Center, which includes the HR34 RVU-enabled server. RVU (pronounced "remote view") is a client/server-based technology that replicates a consistent "pixel accurate" user interface on compatible consumer electronics devices.

DirecTV's RVU trial currently involves approximately 150 testers. The operator said it will expand that number over the next couple of months.

The trials will be with DirecTV equipment initially, expanding to third-party clients at a later date. The testing is being conducted internally by DirecTV.

The RVU Alliance was founded by Broadcom, Cisco Systems, DirecTV, Samsung and Verizon Communications. The RVU spec uses UPnP and DLNA technologies to let a gateway device -- such as DirecTV's Home Media Center -- to deliver content to compliant client devices such as connected TVs, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes.

DirecTV said it plans to begin rolling out the RVU-enabled products to customers nationwide in October 2011.

"The DirecTV Home Media Center is going to simplify the way our customers watch television throughout their homes and give them access not only to their favorite content in HD and DVR functionality on each television, but to a consistent, feature-rich user interface, no matter what room they are in," DirecTV chief technology officer Romulo Pontual said in a statement.

Pontual added that DirecTV "made a commitment to RVU technology when we joined the RVU Alliance in 2009 and we are excited to see the fruits of the Alliance's labor becoming a reality with the launch of our DirecTV Home Media Center field trial."

According to DirecTV, the HR34 server and C30 Home Media Clients are expected to be certified for the RVU spec in June.