2004 is shaping up to be a busy year for Mediacom [MCCC]. It’s testing DVRs and plans to roll out the service this Q. John Pascarelli, evp, ops, told Wed’s Smith Barney confab that the MSO will reserve most of its DVR deployments until the 2nd half of the year when Motorola’s [MOT] dual-tuner DVR set-top becomes available. The MSO’s also ready to launch an HD tier this Q that will feature "the types of services like HDNet, ESPN HD and Bravo HD." Other big plans for ’04: launching VoIP, rolling out SVOD (MCCC is in the midst of negotiations right now), and high-speed tiering. The MSO’s testing a HSD lite product (128 kbps/64) now for subs reluctant to leave dial- up, Pascarelli said. Similarly, the MSO will be announcing a 5 Mbps service for a targeted group high-end users. — Fulcrum’s Rich Greenfield sent out a research note Wed, highlighting that Cox [COX] has launched a higher speed data tier in at least 2 markets, San Diego and Fairfax, VA. The MSO revealed during its 3Q earnings call that it would begin offering such a product for around $70-80 (Cfax, 10/29). Sure enough, Fulcrum reports that the 4 mbps downstream/384K upstream service carries a $79.95/month price tag ($95/month if it’s the only service taken). Cox also is offering a lower speed 128kbps service in select markets, but isn’t heavily marketing it. "We’re using it primarily as a save tool," said COO Pat Esser, adding that the number of low-speed takers is minimal. CEO Jim Robbins called it a "safety net" for the very price conscious consumer.