Pace Goes PVR-Crazy

Pace Micro Technology plc debuted three innovations in the personal-video-recorder field at the IBC 2004 confab in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The vendor introduced the world’s first mobile PVR, a multiroom PVR solution and Europe's first high-definition PVR.

Pace's “PVR2GO” allows users to download protected TV content onto a 40-gigabyte hard drive and view it on a hand-held screen anywhere they choose, with touch-screen controls including pause, fast-forward and rewind.

The vendor said its PVR2GO can also be used for audio (MP3 and Windows Media), images (JPEG) and games.

Pace also demonstrated its multiroom solution, in which a standard-definition or HD PVR functions as a mini-server in the home, using wireless, Ethernet or coaxial cable to stream recorded content from a subscriber's hard drive to non-PVR set-tops.

In order to address content security, Pace worked with a wide range of conditional-access vendors to enable pay TV content to be securely distributed from the PVR to other set-tops within the home with no loss in quality.

Finally, the company’s “TDX840” HD PVR uses MPEG-2 (Moving Picture Expert Group) decoding and features a minimum 160-GB hard drive. The unit will work with any European cable or satellite broadcaster looking to transmit HD services, as it can be configured for all major conditional-access and middleware systems.

Using the TDX840, European broadcasters will be able to deliver HD PVR services to allow; live recording, pause live TV, fast-forward, rewind and time-shift. Pace added that for the first time ever in Europe, HD content will be recorded and replayed in high-resolution HD quality, rather than the standard-definition quality currently available via VCR or DVD.

The TDX840 will launch in the second half of 2005.

In other Pace news, the company and Espial Group Inc. are targeting the hotel industry.

The two companies will combine Pace’s digital set-top technology and Espial’s set-top and Internet-protocol TV software to bring the hospitality industry a full-featured digital box.

The Pace “IP420,” embedded with Espial’s “Escape” browser, will provide guests with services such as pay-per-view, video-on-demand, interactive shopping and community or service information.