I have watched the Digeo Moxi DVR evolution since it came into the world seven years ago. It was vapor we loved to love, but now, it might actually be living-room ready. UPDATED
Like TiVo and other DVR products, the dilemma for the Moxi box was whether to encode re-digitize analog video or to get in bed with satellite and cable providers. They chose the latter, but found that the relationship was a little like a twentysomething aspiring actress "dating" a bigtime Hollywood producer who happened to be married. Comcast, Echostar and others may have promised a lot of good things—and Digeo backer Paul Allen certainly had some reason for keeping the company afloat so long—but we, the eager consumers, got nothin'.
I had over time grown so jaded about Moxi that CES 2009 came and went without me writing up this important bit of news: That the Digeo Moxi HD DVR was going on sale, direct to consumers.
What's great about Moxi? Even at the beginning, the interface was ahead of TiVo and everyone else, replacing layers with directional paths, kinda like kinda like Sony's Xross Media Bar (XMB), seen on the PS3 and newer electronics. Other Moxi boxes were more ambitious: One prototype had a built-in DVD player for single-box awesomeness. Another prototype featured unprecedented home video networking, bringing alive the dream of the DVR hub-and-spoke model for the home. These were mostly too good to be true, but the promise of a bold new DVR experience remained, echoing.
The Moxi HD DVR requires CableCard installation, but nothing else from your cable company. The
$400 $800 box—priced just over TiVo HD XL in spite of a smaller drive—requires no monthly fees, can record 75 hours of HD content on its 500GB hard drive, has fluid navigation and a filter that automatically puts all HD content where you can find it easily.
Though most of the technical attributes line up with TiVo's—like the eSATA port for adding extra drives—there's no mention of the premium internet apps we have come to expect in everything devices like this one. Where is Amazon's VOD? Where's Netflix? Rhapsody? Napster? What they do offer now is Flickr for photos and Finetune for music, plus Digeo's own Moxi-branded delivery mechanism for "news, sports scores, entertainment and financial information, weather and more."
Am I sold? Far from it, but if the review unit arrives and works as billed, it'll be a huge-ass step in the right direction for this little company. And I welcome it. [Moxi at Amazon]
Update: A note attached to a press release sent to me today stated: "Moxi HD DVR's total cost compared to TiVo HD XL is $200 less." The price itself wasn't mentioned anywhere. In my haste, I interpreted that convoluted sentence to mean that the price was $200 less than the XL's $600. Some of you have pointed out that it's not. I appreciate you catching the mistake, and once again I feel like Digeo Moxi has suckered me with its too-good-to-be-true sweet talk. I still welcome the product, but for $800 it better be good at foot massages and baking cookies, too.
Here's the CES press release:
Digeo Introduces Moxi® High Definition Digital Video Recorder
Flagship Moxi® HD DVR Sets New Standard for Integrated Digital Cable and Internet Entertainment
LAS VEGAS, January 8, 2009 - CES 2009 - Digeo, Inc., a Paul Allen-backed leader and innovator in cable set-top boxes, today announced the consumer availability of the Moxi® High Definition Digital Video Recorder (HD DVR), a premium home entertainment product that makes it easy for consumers to discover, experience and share high definition media from their digital cable provider, PCs on the home network and the Internet. The Moxi HD DVR is the first Digeo DVR available directly to consumers and is designed to appeal to the most demanding entertainment enthusiasts.
The Moxi HD DVR offers consumers a distinct experience among digital video recorders, unifying high definition cable, PC and Internet content throughout the home. Moxi's Emmy® award-winning menu is ingeniously uncomplicated, making it effortless for users to find TV programs and movies as well as photos, music, games and other Internet services. The Moxi HD DVR also offers a native HD experience. The Moxi system was designed from the outset to take full advantage of widescreen HDTVs and its 500 gigabyte hard-drive can hold up to 75 hours of recordings at full 1080 resolution. Finally, the Moxi HD DVR is a savvy investment for at-home entertainment. There are no monthly fees and no embedded advertising as with typical DVRs, and new features and services are automatically upgraded over the network at no charge.
"With the Moxi HD DVR, we built upon our experience deploying nearly half a million DVRs throughout the U.S. to understand what consumers are going to need long-term, and then we created a premium DVR that delivers the ultimate HD experience," said Greg Gudorf, CEO, Digeo, Inc. "Simply put, Moxi blows away other DVRs."
Digeo also today announced that it has selected Amazon.com as the exclusive launch retailer for the Moxi HD DVR, which is available for purchase now from Amazon.com's Electronics Store at www.amazon.com/electronics. Amazon will work closely with Digeo to promote and merchandise a "best in class" online experience which underscores the Moxi HD DVR concept to consumers. (Please see related Digeo press release for more detail.)
Further underscoring the Moxi platform's momentum, Monster Cable Products Inc. yesterday announced plans to introduce two Monster iTV® PowerCenters™, developed in alliance with Digeo, in June 2009. The iTV PowerCenters' MyOS control system is powered by the Moxi platform, enabling users to access a host of digital media content such as pictures, movies, games and music, as well as operate network security cameras and Monster's IlluminEssence Advanced Lighting Control module. Moxi software works in conjunction with Monster MyOS to seamlessly integrate digital media and home automation within the TV experience, unlike other solutions which require a myriad of separate devices and control interfaces to accomplish this. (Please see related Monster press release for more detail.)
The Moxi HD DVR's many advanced features and consumer benefits include:
* Dual-tuner HD DVR - users can record two shows and watch a third pre-recorded show all in HD; users can play, pause and rewind live TV
* Emmy® award-winning single-screen interface enables users to find content quickly and avoid getting lost in a maze of navigation levels as with other DVRs
* Content and services are always presented in the same consistent format regardless of source
* 500 GB storage means 75 hours of 1080 HD recording or 300 hours of standard definition recording - and Moxi is expandable with up to two terabytes of external eSATA drive storage
* Brings web-based services such as Flickr, Finetune and more to the HDTV
* Access to a wide variety of Internet content including news, sports scores, entertainment and financial information, weather and more through MoxiNet and the Moxi SuperTicker™
* Remote web and mobile browser scheduling
* Connection to PCs through home network to play music and display photos
* Dolby Digital certified for high-fidelity surround sound
* CableCARD™-equipped Broadcom BCM7400-based set-top box with twice the processing power of competitors to render HD graphics
To celebrate Moxi HD DVR's unveiling, Digeo will be giving away three units during the International Consumer Electronics Show. Consumers can register for the drawing at moxi.com/CES.
To learn more about the Moxi HD DVR's features and pricing, please visit www.moxi.com
Digeo, Inc., a Paul Allen-backed company, provides premium home entertainment products including digital video recorders (DVR). The company's mission is to enable the best consumer experience in high-definition entertainment for the connected home. The company's flagship product - the Moxi® HD DVR with Emmy® award-winning menu and features - serves as the hub for whole-home distribution of digital entertainment. The Moxi platform empowers consumers to discover, experience and share high definition media, including TV, movies, music, games, photographs and video. The Moxi HD DVR is available directly to consumers at moxi.com or via Amazon at www.amazon.com/electronics. Moxi products are also available through cable providers, with nearly a half million units deployed to U.S. households to date. Digeo continues to innovate and provide Moxi solutions to the cable and IPTV industry, including the licensing of the Moxi platform and services to consumer electronics manufacturers and service providers. To learn more, please visit www.digeo.com.
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Digeo, Moxi, and their respective logos are the trademarks of Digeo, Inc. Use of the trademarks and service marks of the National Television Academy ("NTA"), including the mark EMMY®, requires the prior express written permission of National Television Academy. All other marks are the property of their respective owners. Recording capacity times can vary depending on content type and bit rates utilized by the provider. Stated recording capacities are calculated in typical usage scenarios. Certain future services may be offered at additional cost.