Oregon Also Receiving New 6 Tuner Moxi DVR

Dave Zatz —  May 12, 2011

It turns out Shaw Cable (Canada) won’t be the only provider rolling out a 6 tuner Arris Moxi DVR and extenders… As BendBroadband, a smaller cable operator, also intends the leverage Arris’ hub and spoke DVR model in Oregon. Whereas Shaw is going with “Gateway” and “Portal” units, Bend has christened their implementation as the “Alpha Media Gateway” and corresponding “Media Players.”

The announcement was actually made back in February, but most of us (other than Multichannel) missed it. Deployment was expected late April, but BendBroadband’s web site currently indicates both a mid-May or mid-June launch. My money’s on June and pricing runs $17/month for the Gateway, with each extender running $6/mo and an additional $4/mo household DVR fee. Not too shabby.

But still no word that Moxi will return to retail here in the US with this beefy CableCARD-equipped whole-home DVR solution.

(Thanks, Nate!)

5 responses to Oregon Also Receiving New 6 Tuner Moxi DVR

  1. Now I’m really curious to see how TiVo’s (strongly) rumored 4-tuner box shapes up.

    Based on what I’ve seen I believe this Arris box is a 6-tuner digital cable only box – no analog cable, no ATSC. It is CableCARD and CableCARD only, and would require a six-stream Tuning Adapter for MSOs using TAs.

    I strongly suspect TiVo’s 4-tuner model will be analog & digital cable, and ATSC – what we have today with 4-tuners. Which would require a TA of at least 4-streams for digital cable with MSOs who use them.

    The advantage for the ARRIS box is lower cost – one, maybe two, QAM-only tuner blocks (I’m not sure if there are 6-stream digital tuners, I know there are 3-stream digital tuners). No need for ATSC, no need for analog tuner blocks, video encoders, the associated RAM, etc. It is a fairly simple box.

    The disadvantage is the limitation to digital-only cable services. Admittedly this is decreasingly a disadvantage as more MSOs go all digital, or at least mostly digital. Even in my area, where Charter is still hybrid, I have SPs on only one analog channel (TruTV) and wouldn’t really miss those much (they’re at the bottom of my SP list and are ‘guilty pleasure’ shows like Most Shocking and Most Daring, the only one I might miss is Forensic Files, but that’s so rarely a new episode these days anyway). Most of the channels that are still analog with no digital version are the (much) lesser used channels. Charter is aggressive about SDV in my area and has used it to offer digital versions of most of their content, and a growing number in HD.

    Last I knew there were two basic choices for tuner blocks – three tuner digital-only or two-tuner digital/analog. Moxi used three-tuner digital-only in their last retail box, and I believe that’s what’s in the Cisco TiVo (CisVo? Tisco? TiVco?) for Virgin Media. Which TiVo has used the two-tuner chips for their units.

    So six digital or four analog/digital makes some sense – two of each chip. TiVo could do a six-tuner analog/digital with three chips, but then you need the associated encoder hardware, RAM, etc which multiplies the costs.

    I still think TiVo’s approach is better overall, especially for a retail market, it gives them a wider audience and the average consumer doesn’t know if they have 100% digital or hybrid ‘digital’ cable. The TiVo ‘just works’ no matter what you feed it (barring satellite of course). While a retail Moxi unit risks issues with consumers discovering their ‘digital cable’ doesn’t work on some channels because they’re actually analog. I don’t think we’re at the tipping point for the market yet where a retail box can safely ignore the analog channels.

    But for an MSO box, it makes more sense as both sides know exactly what they’re doing and understand the technology.

    I wonder if TiVo would develop a reference platform that could go either way. A 4-tuner hybrid box for retail & MSOs who need that, or a 6-tuner digital-only box for MSOs who don’t need analog. It could be as ‘simple’ as different tuner chips in each box, and not populating the encoders and associated RAM on the digital-only boxes.

    I think that would be a pretty slick way to cover their bases.

  2. In theory, the FCC has ordered industry to get all Tuning Adapters to match up to the M-Card’s capabilities. Meaning the currently dual tuning Cisco TA would increase support to 6 streams… as the Motorola one has.

    Regarding TiVo, who knows what their retail intentions are anymore. The market is pretty much owned by the MSO and satellite providers, who make better customers. Thinking I’ll kill my S3 on MSD at this point since true streaming will Premiere-to-Premiere only. So may go two FiOS DVRs, running 1.9 when it hits, and the Lifetimed Premiere in my basement lab/office.

  3. I’ve been holding off on a Premiere too – my 1TB S3 is working for me. I still have my old Pioneer S2 in the bedroom, I only recently replaced the old 19″ SD TV with my fiancée’s HD set when she moved in. If they release a retail 4-tuner box with a TiVoTwin streaming client I may replace both of my current units with that combo, and maybe another TiVoTwin for my front room where I don’t currently have a TV – but my fiancée would like one since that’s now her ‘office’ for grad school.

  4. I work for a local cable company here in NW Ohio and we’ll be testing the Arris (Moxi) whole home solution soon. Should be pretty interesting. I love working with their cable modems.

  5. I used to dream of the day I could get a turnkey hex-tuner DVR off the shelf…until Cablevision won the RS-DVR lawsuit. It’s rolling out in New York as we speak. How many years of RS-DVR subscription would pay for one Moxi-6? There is no contest: in the mainstream, the DVR’s days are numbered.