Quick Take: Moxi Mate

The Moxi Mate is an accessory for the Moxi DVR that allows users to stream live and recorded TV programming and other digital media into multiple rooms of the household.

The Moxi Mate is a multiroom extender that works exclusively with Moxi DVRs. It's currently available separately for $300, or in bundles with Moxi's DVR.

Connect one or more Moxi Mates to other TVs in the house--and provide them with an Ethernet connection--and you can access recorded programming and (after a February 2010 firmware upgrade) live TV from the main Moxi unit. But there are some important caveats. As Moxi's PR rep told us in an e-mail:

"Each live stream requires access to one of the Moxi HD DVR's tuners. For recorded TV, the number of streams is not technically limited but bandwidth constraints dictate that no more than three simultaneous streams are advisable (including both the master and the Mate--e.g. 2 Mates + 1 DVR or 3 Mates all getting a recorded stream)."

In other words, you could buy 15 Moxi Mates for your large mansion, but only 3 of them could access the main Moxi at any single given time. It also means that if a dual-tuner Moxi was recording two live streams and someone using a Moxi Mate wanted to change the channel, a conflict message would appear on the screen, allowing the user to end the recording and start channel surfing. Moxi suggests that users should make sure their home network has up to 20Mbps of free bandwidth for each Moxi Mate to stream HD video at optimal levels.

What it comes down to is a Moxi Mate is not as flexible as a full-on cable box or the sort of multiroom DVR system available on FIOS (which uses the home's existing cable wiring to stream recorded programs from the main DVR to auxiliary cable boxes throughout the home). But the Moxi Mate solution should allow you to, say, start watching a movie in the living room and finish in the bedroom. The advantage is that you're paying a one-time fee for the Moxi Mate, not the monthly charge you'd pay for an extra cable box. It's up to you to determine if that up-front cost of the Moxi Mate is ultimately a savings versus the monthly box rental from your cable company. (Note: We did not have a Moxi Mate on hand, so we couldn't do any hands-on testing.)

For more information, see the full CNET review of the Moxi HD DVR.

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