Set-Top Vendors Show and Tell

Digital video recorders gave cable’s set-top vendors plenty to talk about at last week’s National Show here.

Scientific-Atlanta Inc. unveiled its multiroom digital video recorder box, Motorola Inc. showcased its new DCT 6412 dual-tuner DVR set-top, Pace Micro Technology sported a TV Guide integration deal that paved its path toward Motorola systems, Digeo boasted a set-top deal with Charter Communications Inc. for S-A-encrypted systems and Microsoft Corp. executives discussed new versions of the TV Foundation Edition guide, which works in Motorola’s DCT 6412.

S-A’s Explorer 8300 MR-DVR allows three other Explorer set-tops to access the hard drive of the main box. The 8300 has a built-in Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification modem, a 256-QAM quadrature amplitude modulator and triple DES (data encryption standard) encryption.

The box is also HDTV-capable.

S-A said Time Warner Cable is field-testing the 8300. “The early response has been tremendous,” said corporate senior vice president and president of subscriber networks Michael Harney.

Motorola executives were showing off their DCT 6412 dual-tuner DVR. Although there are no announced orders, Motorola Broadband Communications Sector president Dan Moloney said the company has the capacity to build 1 million dual-tuner DVRs this year.

“We’ll see a gradual rampup, then the hockey-stick takeoff,” he said. Every major MSO has the DCT 6412 in lab trials, he added.

One of the guides running on the DCT 6412 is Microsoft’s TV Foundation Edition 1.7. The product was demonstrated in both the Motorola and Microsoft booths.

Microsoft executives also unveiled a deeper partnership with Motorola to bring its software to all manner of the vendor’s devices, including mobile phones.

“We think our software is the best out there,” said Moshe Lichtman, corporate vice president at Microsoft TV.

Pace said it has completed integration of TV Guide Interactive with its Pace DC755 HD set-top, paving the way for its deployment as a second source supplier in Motorola systems.

Comcast has a standing order to deploy 750,000 Pace set-tops, and the TV Guide integration deal will allow Comcast and other MSOs to deploy Pace boxes on Motorola platforms.

“Our Motorola-based set-top solution is firmly established with our successful TV Guide integration,” said Pace Americas president Mike Pulli.

And Digeo announced its availability of its Moxi Media Center on the S-A platform, and a deal for 70,000 PowerKey units from Charter Communications Inc.

The S-A deal now means Digeo’s Moxi platform is available on both major cable set-top platforms. Digeo has deals with Charter, Comcast and Adelphia for Motorola-based set-tops.

Digeo said the universal platform will make it easier for application developers and MSOs to roll out new services across both platforms.