Five-question pop quiz aimed at the cable subscriber: Do you have or plan to buy an HDTV set? Are you a digital cable subscriber? Does your cable company run on Motorola technology?  Has the operator implemented digital simulcast? And, finally, would you like a DVR? If you answered no, yes, yes, yes, yes, then you may have been a victim of technology overkill-or possibly underkill. Here’s the explanation: Motorola’s DCT 6412 (analog and digital) and DCT 3412 (all-digital) DVRs were designed to handle both SD and HD signals, but you just said (in perhaps a rare moment of honesty and against your wishes to the contrary) “no” to HD. And the DCT 700, of course, is no DVR, which you said you’d rather like to have. Market solution Whatever the exact size of this market, relief is on the way. And it doesn’t involve a class-action lawsuit. Both Motorola and Pace plan to showcase all-digital SD DVRs at next month’s NCTA National Show in Atlanta. Pace appears to be first out of the gate. It engineered a MediaCipher-licensed box, the TDC575D Vegas DVR, to exploit this market niche and protect MSOs against subscriber churn and/or defection. “It helps (the MSOs) battle the satellite folks who are giving away DVRs,” said Bruce Gurek, VP product development and marketing for Pace Americas. Gurek said the dual-tuner MPEG-2 DVR comes with an 80 Gig hard drive, several memory configurations, a 300 MIPs processor, integrated DOCSIS 1.1 connectivity, DSG and legacy signaling protocols, and a software platform that supports OCAP, TV Guide and major VOD clients. He said the $100 delta between the Vegas and currently available HD DVRs for this market is another feature that has caught the attention of MSOs. “We’ve been in trials, and we’re projecting volume for May,” said Gurek. Motorola’s forthcoming DCT 3080 will be the company’s fourth DVR product, said spokesman Paul Alfieri. Apart from the 6412 and 3412, Motorola also has the QIP 6416, a QAM/IP hybrid box with embedded, whole-home media networking designed for deployment in Verizon networks. Know thy sub Today’s issue of sister-pub CableFAX Daily reported that Cox Communications CEO Pat Esser predicts that in four years, 65 percent of Cox digital subs (which he thinks will amount to 75 percent of total subs) will be taking an HD package. He also expects that 70 percent of all digital subs will have a DVR. To make this SD-DVR play work, MSOs will have to make pretty good guesses on who falls into that (potentially five percentage point) subset of digital subs who want DVRs but are unlikely to go down the HD road. Jonathan Tombes

The Daily



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