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Motorola Debuts Dual-Format Set-Tops

Motorola has developed a new set-top box series for cable operators – dubbed the DCX – that supports MPEG-4 video and the MPEG-2 format.

The newer MPEG-4 compression standard is more efficient, requiring roughly half the bandwidth to deliver video of comparable quality.

Supporting both compression technologies will let cable companies “effectively manage the transition from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4,” Motorola senior vice president John Burke said, in announcing the set-top Thursday.

The DCX series has other “future proof” features, according to Motorola, including 1-Gigahertz tuners and a built-in cable modem with channel-bonding capabilities. Motorola said it will demonstrate the DCX next week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The DCX line is scheduled to be available in the third quarter. The models include: the DCX3400, a dual-tuner, HD DVR; the DCX3200, a single-tuner HD set-top; and the DCX100, a single-tuner standard-definition set-top.

Also at CES, Motorola will demonstrate a digital voice modem with an integrated cordless phone system, the SurfBoard SBV5422.

The unit’s cordless handsets, developed in conjunction with communications software firm Casabi, can display customized information -- such as weather forecasts or sports scores -- a visual voicemail list, a Yellow Pages-style directory and a centralized address book.

A third new gadget in Motorola’s lineup is a mobile TV player, which the company is pitching to broadcasters and wireless service providers. The Mobile TV DH01, which uses the Digital Video Broadcasting-Handheld (DVB-H) standard, has a 4.3-inch wide screen, enough memory to record 90 minutes of TV video and a memory buffer to allow a user to pause live TV for up to 5 minutes.