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Pace Picks Up Multiroom DVR Customers

Set-top box manufacturer Pace has several takers for its new multiroom DVR solution, which the vendor touts as able to deliver up to nine HD streams at a time within a household.

Pace’s Home Content Sharing system, on display last week at the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo ’09, is built around a single, network-attached storage device. The DC900x, about the size of Pace’s HD set-top boxes, is integrated with Rovi’s Connected Platform software and the i-Guide interactive program guide. The i-Guide IPG is developed by the joint venture of Rovi and Comcast.

“It’s full-functional, dual-tuner, multiroom DVR in every set-top in the home,” Pace Americas vice president of sales and marketing Tim O’Loughlin said. “Everything you can do on the DVR in the living room, you can do anywhere else in the home.”

Mediacom Communications, Buckeye CableSystem and Sunflower Broadband are among the operators nearing completion of field trials of the multiroom DVR solution. In addition, the National Cable Television Cooperative has agreed to offer the Pace Home Content Sharing solution to its members.

“The Pace solution is a true multiroom DVR versus other 'multiview solutions,’ meaning that the subscriber gets the same complete dual-tuner DVR experience they are familiar with today in every room of the home, rather than a subset of features,” Mediacom senior vice president of technology J.R. Walden said in a statement.

HCS delivers video using the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) 1.1 standard. O’Loughlin said Pace’s existing non-DVR HD set-tops will be capable of supporting HCS with the addition of an external MoCA dongle. Pace expects to ship its first MoCA-enabled HD set-tops at the end of the first quarter 2010.

Currently, the HCS works with i-Guide release A25, although O’Loughlin said it will also work with the more recent A28 version.

Pace’s HCS system, in addition to distributing up to nine simultaneous HD streams throughout the home, allows subscribers to concurrently record six HD programs while maintaining full trick-mode capability, according to the company. It also provides advanced DVR features including a folder system, a bulk-delete tool and the ability to bookmark playback to resume in another room.

Buckeye CableSystem chief technology officer Joe Jensen has been testing the system in his home, “and I am confident this will be well received by our customers,” he said. “Pace’s architecture provides a [network-attached storage] platform that can improve the viewing experience in today’s environment and potentially evolve into a gateway device to offer next generation services to our customers.”

Sunflower chief operating officer Patrick Knorr commented: “After evaluating numerous options for multiroom DVR, it became clear that the Pace solution was clearly ahead of other offerings with respect to functionality and deployment flexibility. This solution is simply more powerful than what cable’s competitors can offer.”