Moxi is looking to break into the cable mainstream, and part of its effort is a little box that looks a whole lot like the Mac Mini.
At this week's cable industry trade show, Moxi showed off a new set-top box that will run Moxi's software and be built by Samsung. Moxi also showed off a second, smaller box that can either serve as a basic set-top box or work in conjunction with a bigger box in another room to offer features such as digital video recording.
While the box resembles Apple's small new desktop, it is, in effect, a very different Mini. It lacks an optical drive for playing DVDs (something Moxi does offer in its full-size set-tops) and, of course, it's not a computer. What it is: a low-cost box designed to offer an entry point into Moxi's services or serve as a device for a second TV in a home that already has a more capable Moxi set-top box.
The Mini and the bigger Samsung box are just the latest in a series of attempts by Moxi to reach the masses (Moxi merged with Digeo back in 2002). The company offers an environment for cable set-tops that offers features like games, photo viewing, program guides and digital video recording. The company is also looking, along with others, at ways of helping its cable company customers crack into the telephone market. So far, the company's technology is in about 100,000 homes through deals with companies such as Comcast and Charter, as well as less well-known names such as BendBroadband, NewWave Communications and Sunflower Broadband.
While the Mac Mini can still be somewhat hard to find, it's impossible to get one's hands on the Moxi Mini just yet. It isn't slated to arrive until 2006.