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Motorola Unveils HD-DVR Set-Top

Motorola Inc.'s Broadband Communications Sector announced its long-awaited integrated HDTV/digital video recorder set-top last week, part of its new, multiple-product DCT6000 series.

Motorola also announced the extension of a multiyear deal with top U.S. MSO Comcast Corp. to supply new advanced set-tops in the DCT6000 series, as well as lower end set-tops, including the DCT1800 product line.

Motorola had the lion's share of AT&T Broadband's business and nearly all of those properties have Motorola headends. Motorola's market share within Comcast is more than 80 percent.

The DCT6200 HD box contains an 800-MIPS internal processor, a 150% increase over the DCT5100's processor. The DCT6200 includes an "entertainment package" that enables a direct digital connection to consumer audio and video devices via DVI and 1394-DTV interfaces.

The 6200 contains analog and digital outputs and an MPEG encoder that can hook up to a IEEE-1394 hard disk drive.

The DCT6208 offers the same features as the DCT6200, plus an 80-gigabit hard drive for DVR capabilities.

Comcast said it plans to deploy both those boxes once they hit the market.

Vice president of marketing and systems engineering Mark DePetro said the DCT6000 boxes will be tested this summer and available for rollout this fall.

Along with Comcast, Cable One Inc. and Insight Communications Co. have expressed interest in a Motorola DVR box.

DePetro said most operators are zeroing in on an 80-gigabite hard drive, but there is some interest in 120-gig drives.

Comcast vice president of digital television Mark Hess said in a prepared statement: "We are excited about Motorola's new DCT6000 family. It offers a powerful, robust platform that will support our ongoing strategy to offer advanced digital services to our customers."

Steve Burke, Comcast's president, mentioned last week during an earnings call that as of April 1, Comcast was paying $140 for its lower end digital set-tops, compared to $230 a year ago. Those set-tops, in the DCT1800 class, have enough firepower to handle video-on-demand and electronic-program guides.

Comcast executives said they expect strong demand for both low-end and high-end boxes as they roll out VOD on former AT&T Broadband markets, and HDTV across its entire footprint.

Both set-tops have DOCSIS-compatible cable modems, a smart card reader, Ethernet and universal serial bus interfaces, video outputs, optical and coaxial digital audio outputs and baseband and RF audio-video inputs/outputs.