Comcast pushes play on AnyRoom DVR in Boston
Comcast has launched its AnyRoom DVR service throughout most of Massachusetts and parts of southern New Hampshire.
The upgrades also include the launch of a new A28 Motorola guide, which allows customers to remotely schedule their DVR recordings online.
"We know that Boston-area consumers depend on time-shifting technologies to watch their favorite TV shows on their schedules," said Steve Hackley, senior vice president of Comcast's greater Boston Region. "These new enhancements, like AnyRoom DVR, remote DVR scheduling and the enhanced on-screen guide, are just the latest innovations to our Xfinity platform designed to deliver customers expanded access to their favorite entertainment on their terms and the most choice and control available today."
With the rollout of AnyRoom DVR, Comcast is now going head-to-head with RCN's TiVo Premiere whole-home DVR service that was launched in the Beantown area  last month.
Comcast first launched AnyRoom DVR  on July 1 in Oregon and certain areas of Washington State. Since then, the nation's largest cable operator has been rolling it out in Motorola markets across the nation. Roughly 80 percent of Comcast's systems are Motorola, with the rest Cisco/Scientific Atlanta.
While Comcast has provided few details about the whole-home AnyRoom DVR service, Entropic has long been rumored to be the provider of the chips in the Motorola boxes, and MoCA is being used to connect the primary box with the secondary boxes.
AnyRoom DVR allows the primary HD DVR to control all of the DVR functions, including scheduling, deleting and recording settings, across up to three networked boxes in other rooms in a home. The networked set-top boxes can be used to view, sort, play, fast-forward, rewind, pause, skip ahead or skip back within DVR recordings and give subscribers the same control functionality no matter what TV they are viewing from.
The service also lets a viewer start a show in one room and then pick up where it was paused in another room.
With a 500 GB hard drive, Comcast said the primary DVR can store up to 50 hours of HD programming and 240 hours of SD programming. With AnyRoom DVR service, both the primary DVR and the networked boxes are HD-capable and function as a regular digital set-top box, including offering access to the interactive program guide and more than 17,000 on-demand movies and programs a month.
With the new guide, Comcast's On Demand Skip Ahead/Skip back feature lets customers jump ahead or back in five-minute increments during on-demand programming by using the "up" and "down" arrows on their remotes. Comcast also has the same functionally on its DVR service, as well.
The guide also provisions a new "Watch in HD" button that allows customers to switch to the HD version of the program they are watching, which cuts down on scroll times of going from an SD channel to the HD version.
From an engineering perspective, the "Watch HD" button is also easier on the network since subscribers jump right to the sister HD channel with one click instead of scrolling channel by channel.
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