Hate your cable box? Maybe you need Moxi

Digeo stopped by the CNET offices to give a demo of the upcoming Moxi HD DVR, and we were mostly impressed with what we saw.

Digeo's upcoming DVRs have a pretty slick interface.
Digeo's upcoming DVRs have a pretty slick interface. Digeo

Digeo dropped by the CNET offices this morning to give us a demo of their upcoming HD DVR, Moxi. We first saw Moxi many a CES ago and were definitely impressed, but since then only certain areas have had access to the hardware through their cable company. Now Digeo is looking to bring Moxi directly to consumers, in two flavors: the Moxi Multi-Room HD DMR and the Moxi Home Cinema Edition HD DMR.

The Moxi Multi-Room HD DMR is for cable subscribers that want to ditch their current cable boxes and use the Moxi with a CableCard. So what does Moxi deliver that your cable company's box doesn't? Here's a quick rundown of the features:

  • Large internal hard drive
  • Ability to add additional space via an eSATA port
  • Built-in DVD player, can rip CDs to the hard drive
  • Can stream any programming (including DVDs) to a smaller second-room unit called Moxi Mate, which is included in the package
  • Can stream music, movies and photos from a networked PC

The Moxi Home Cinema Edition HD DMR is geared more towards those that get their programming high-def via over-the-air ATSC broadcasts. It has basically the same feature set as the Multi-Room HD DMR, with a couple important differences: it has both digital and analog tuners, and it lacks the multiroom functionality.

All these features are great, but perhaps the most impressive aspect was the Moxi's interface. The onscreen menus are all in slick high-def graphics and in the upper right hand corner there was a window that was always showing what was playing while we browsed. The interface as a whole navigates very much like Sony's Cross Media Bar menu system--you browse the different functions by scrolling on the horizontal axis and then the options within a function are available on the vertical axis. The best thing we noticed about it was response speed--it was extremely fast and you could scroll through your thousand-plus lineup of digital cable channels in just a few seconds.

Digeo says these boxes will be coming this fall but haven't announced pricing yet, although with all the functionality packed into this box, we're guessing it won't be cheap. It's also worth noting that buying a CableCard DVR from anyone but your cable company is going to remain a risky venture if we see more cable companies moving to switched digital video, because you'll miss out on the extra channels they should be able to provide. And remember all the standard CableCard caveats still apply--you won't be able to take advantage of any video-on-demand or pay-per-view services.

We're already on the list to get a review sample when it comes out, so stay tuned for our hands-on review.

 

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