News

Samsung Enters DVR Fray

8/26/2003 6:32 AM Eastern

Samsung Electronics America's first dip into digital video recorder devices
will see the light of DirecTV and retail distribution Sept. 14, but will not be
utilized in the vendor's upcoming DVR/home networking trial with Comcast
Corp.

Samsung's DVR product, unveiled Tuesday morning at a New York press
conference, records and stores up to 100 hours of programming, and incorporates
TiVo capabilities.

Samsung claimed it's the first DVR vendor to bring out a terminal with
100-hour capability.

Labeled SIR-S4120R, the digital set-top converter will be marketed to
consumers by DirecTV and TiVo, plus get space inside Best Buy and other consumer
electronic stores nationwide.

At this point, there are no plans for cable operator participation in the
SIR-S4120R rollout.

The effort is 'totally separate' from Comcast's trial, which will test
multi-set content distribution as well as PVRs, said Frank Romeo, director of
Samsung's digital set-top group.

That project, which was earlier announced to start this summer, will involve
50 homes outside Philadelphia and last from 3-6 months.

Romeo did not give a new start date. Samsung will provide a 'home gateway'
terminal for the trial, which Comcast will use in association with
home/media-networking software from Ucentric Systems.

Trial participants will be able to control DVR use from one TV set and send
the affected shows across multiple sets in the same home.

Other functionality, such as downloading music videos and digital photos to
the TV, may be attempted in the trial.

'We're not sure how the consumers will grasp this,' Romeo acknowledged. 'It
adds another level of complexity to home viewing, and that's what we have to
figure out.'

Samsung plans to showcase more home networking developments for cable
during another New York event, scheduled for Sept. 16 during Diversity Week.

As for TiVo's own effort to land cable operator carriage, 'progress is being
made,' according to Ed Lichty, the company's senior vice president of business
development. Operator discussions continue 'and we're feeling good on them,' he
said.

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