Pace serves up multi-room DVR for cable operators
While some cable operators have lagged behind their telco counterparts when it comes to whole-home DVR deployments, Pace has a new multi-room DVR platform that jumps ahead of the competition.
Pace announced today that Buckeye Cablevision, Mediacom, Sunflower Broadband and some as-yet-unnamed cable operators are almost finished trialing its Home Content Sharing platform.
Pace’s whole-home DVR offering, which is commercially available, uses a single network attached storage, or NAS, device on the central DVR for storage for the “thin-client” set-top boxes located in other rooms of a home. The recorded content is shared by the NAS with the other boxes via coaxial cable, Ethernet or MoCA 1.1.
Full trick-play functionality is available on all of the connected TV sets thanks to Rovi’s IPG, which, for example, lets a viewer bookmark a recording in one room and resume watching it in another.
“The Pace solution is a true multi-room DVR versus other ‘multi-view solutions,’ meaning that the subscriber gets the same complete dual-tuner DVR experience they are familiar with today in every room of the home, rather than a subset of features,” said J.R. Walden, senior vice president of technology at Mediacom.
The Pace platform allows each TV to record up to two HD recordings simultaneously, while also displaying a third HD show, for a total of nine HD streams over the NAS on three TVs, which Tim O’Loughlin, Pace Americas’ vice president of sales and marketing, said was an industry first.
Currently, the NAS has 500 gigabytes of memory on the hard drive, but it could go up to a terabyte if needed.
“So far, 500 gigs has worked very well and seems to be the sweet spot,” O’Loughlin said.
O’Loughlin said another strength of the platform was that it functions the same way as most current DVR environments, so it’s easy to use. Pace has added the TV Guide program guide and its own system of folders to help viewers keep track of their recorded content. In the first quarter of next year, a software update will show the specific content that is recorded on each set-top box with labels such as “bedroom,” “living room” or “kitchen.”
O’Loughlin said the Home Content Sharing platform was shown “behind closed doors” earlier this year at The Cable Show in Washington, D.C., and the field trials have been underway for the past two months.