More Details On Upcoming Moxi DVRs

Dave Zatz —  July 3, 2007 — 20 Comments

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Between my various work-related missions in NYC the last two weeks, I managed to sneak away to Digeo‘s suite for a briefing on their two upcoming Moxi stand-alone DVRs.

Moxi Home Cinema HD DMR

Digeo had a working prototype of the Moxi Home Cinema unit on display. This is their higher-end (read: more expensive) model that I expressed doubts about, in terms functionality and market position, after talking to CEO Mike Fidler back in January. I’m still not clear on who will buy this device and why. Moxi Home Cinema features ATSC and NTSC tuners for over-the-air and clear QAM tuning, plus an integrated 5.1 audio amp. And no CableCARD support. It sounds like they’re pushing this upmarket, but aren’t those folks interested in receiving digital cable too?

Moxi Multi-Room HD DMR

On the other hand… The Moxi Multi-Room HD DMR has got me totally psyched. It’s a CableCARD unit (one M-Card for dual tuning) that will come bundled with a “Moxi Mate” extender for multi-room viewing. Real-time streaming (including HD!) will utilize the 1394 spec over existing coax, rather than Ethernet or WiFi.

The Moxi Experience

Both units feature an integrated DVD/CD drive. Regular readers know I shy away from additional boxes, so this appeals to me (though maybe Blu-ray or HD-DVD drives are needed these days). The Moxi units will rip your CDs to the hard drive, plus pull album info and art from the net (Ethernet, no WiFi). Additionally, networked units will also playback MP3s and display digital images from a PC. One feature that looked pretty cool is a ticker, like those on ESPN or CNN, that runs across the bottom of the screen displaying current info such as news and weather. Storage can be expanded by adding an eSATA drive.

Digeo wasn’t ready to discuss retail partners, hard drive size, pricing, or specific launch timing. However, I get the sense that the units won’t come cheap (more than TiVo Series3?) and that they’re tracking for a fall release.

Below are some Moxi interface pictures and descriptions…

 

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Moxi provides several filters for both live and recorded content, in this case HD.

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Moxi Home Cinema amp settings.

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Moxi’s live search finds embedded words/letters.

moxi-jukebox.jpg
Rip your CDs to the hard drive for later playback.

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A variety of casual games are included.

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Free space indicator!

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Photo viewer.

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Guide with PIP – which can be paused.

20 responses to More Details On Upcoming Moxi DVRs

  1. Michael Portuesi July 3, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    Their UI looks fresher than TiVo’s, but maybe that’s because I’ve stared at the TiVo UI for so long.

    Series 3 is a hard sell at its price tag. Other than the extender features, what major benefit do these Moxis offer that TiVo doesn’t, to justify their higher price?

    Don’t get me wrong – I’d like to see some competition in the non-cable-company DMR space. Right now, that market is occupied only by TiVo and MCE. That’s not much of a choice. If you’re thinking set-top box, that leaves only TiVo.

  2. I definitely find Moxi’s interface and Verizon’s FiOS TV refresh to be richer in appearance and in many areas more powerful than TiVo. However, it’s hard to get a good sense of how usable these platforms are until one lives with them.

    The multi-room viewing is very compelling, but if we start with the idea that an $800 (MSRP) TiVo Series3 is too expensive, anything greater than that will obviously be a problem. Unless they throw in lifetime service.

    An interesting feature I forgot to mention: You can pause a recording (or a DVD) in the living room and resume playback on the extender in the bedroom. Clever.

  3. “An interesting feature I forgot to mention: You can pause a recording (or a DVD) in the living room and resume playback on the extender in the bedroom. Clever.”

    Dave,
    This does sound cool, especially the DVD function.. But I believe Tivo does have a form of this currently available.

    Say if you are watching a recored show in one room and decide you want to watch it in another.. Tivo gives you the option to start the transferee of the show from where you left off in the other room..

    Just felt I should chime in with that..

  4. Ah, good to know. When I had two and three Series 2 units in the house, either I never stumbled upon that feature or maybe I forgot about it. For the last 11 months, I’ve had a Series 3 in the living room and a S2 in the bedroom… with no MRV options at all.

  5. Could not agree more on the interface. I’ve been waiting for something classier/sharper than TiVo’s UI on a retail DVR for a long time.

  6. Personally I would love to see somebody play in the cablecard space other than the usual suspects (MOT/SA) who don’t seem to be interested in retail so far.

    Vista with cable card so far seems to be a bust from the reviews I’ve seen, even if I was willing to pay their ridiculous prices.

    And I’m sure the Tivo Series 3 is very nice (still waiting for a price cut), but I’d love to see some competition. If Tivo won’t offer MRV options for their cable card platforms, maybe Moxi will… and I’ll have to take my money elsewhere.

    I know Tivo is working on offering two-way functions with the current MS cards, but if they can’t resolve that they (or Moxi) really should start talking to somebody like AT&T. It may not be possible to do true IPTV over the top of a multicast-unfriendly network today, but VOD is certainly possible. If the cable company won’t let me use their VOD then why can’t I just get it from somebody else?

  7. Yeah, Mari – when’s Moto returning to retail? ;) And where’s that Cisco/Linksys/KiSS/ScientificAtlanta Super DVR I’ve heard whispers of since CES?

    I was just reviewing my notes and forgot to mention that Moxi web scheduling is described as real-time in that it will notify you of a potential conflict. Probably not a feature that would see regular use, but it makes sense to offer it. (I think I was told at some point that TiVo might see something like this.)

    Glenn, is Amazon Unbox on TiVo close to what you have in mind? It’s not perfect in that content is SD, on-set ordering is not (yet) offered, and viewing can’t begin until the download completes… BUT it seems like a great step in the right direction. (And the 99 cent rentals are nice.) What’s missing for you?

  8. Again, no satellite love – I guess So Cal has DirecTV and the rest of the country cable. Where’s that Gefen DVR anyways? They issue press releases and talk a good game, but I haven’t seen any product yet.

  9. Yeah, it’ll be great if it EVER gets released. I remember seeing the first edition of the moxi box when all kinds of awards on ZDTV (the precursor to TechTV, which is the precursor to G4…sort of) coming up on five years ago. It totally kicked ass and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one. They claimed it would be available in retail stores by the end of the year, so I waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. I’m still waiting. They’ve done a few small “test” deployments with a few cable companies as far as I can tell, and that’s it. It’s frustrating beyond all reason.

  10. Grover, I feel pretty confident it’s coming this year. I got hands on with the Home Cinema model and I believe the Multi-Room has been submitted for CableLabs certification.

  11. Isn’t the MRV absense on TiVo Series 3 more an industry issue rather than a lack of capability of the unit?

    How do we know that Moxi won’t also fall prey to the same digital rights issues that cripple TiVo and killed off ReplayTV?

  12. Dave–yeah, the Unbox stuff would be fine if there were enough content. But there aren’t many movies available for rental, and those that are available are VERY old. I’m not gonna buy an Unbox movie. I can live with the $2.99 price for some TV shows. I still delete them once I’ve watched them of course, and the choice isn’t that bad. But movie rentals aren’t there yet.

  13. Moxi has a very intuitive interface, using the cable one, my 4 year old can recognize his favorite channels by icon – and hopefully the home one will be a network device and not like the current one which has it’s own cable modem.

    The Tivo SIII has a faster interface, but it was not in my opinion as user friendly. Given Moxi already has the groundwork from the past boxes to offer them with intergrated DVD, External USB hard drive expansion and now 5.1 Home theater… I see this sucker taking off. –

    The next gen m-cards should soon support “open cable” applications – which in theory should allow Tivo and Moxi access to VOD. Furthermore if this is a “network appliance”

    Though when they first started advertising to MSOs they mentioned doing a CD (maybe DVD) burner as well???? Add that into the package and you could get away with a $1000 price tag!

    I would also think Digeo would go the extra mile and even offer some sort of set top internet browsing (The Moxi interface at last check is basically a specialized Linix platform)

  14. I have been using my HD Moxi for about 3 years now through Charter cable and its really nice. The UI was rather non responsive though up until the last update that went out about a month ago.

  15. Been using Moxi for the past 2 years and the UI is usable but INCREDIBLY slow. It is honestly almost unusable. 5-10 second lags when bringing up new menus. It is nowhere near as user friendly as the tivo. As it is I only use moxi for HD content and continue to use my Series 2 tivo for all SD content even though it doesn’t look as nice over S-Video.

  16. GameJerk, Have you received the 4.1 software update yet? I hear that speeds things up. When I played with the Home Cinema unit I didn’t notice any lag, though that particular model is probably a higher-end computing platform than the cable box you have.

  17. Hello;
    Was just browsing looking for some info on this unit. Is it not out yet?? It is being sold used on E-bay, Please clarify for me as I don’t know much about it.
    Thanks for your help.
    PS. Great site!!! 8-)

    Eugene

  18. The retail Moxi units are not available yet. So what you’re probably seeing on ebay is a cable box from Charter, TWC, or someone running Moxi software – which won’t work for you unless you’re in that service area.

  19. Oh I c;
    Here is the link for the item I was looking at, There are a few more on Ebay. Let me know if that is what you are talking about. Thanks 8-)

  20. Nope, these sellers are probably full of crap: “Works with many cable and satellite providers.” The Motorola box they list most likely works on very few cable networks and zero satellite networks. Agnostic retail versions are due this fall, and that’s what you want to wait for.

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