Digeo Makes Guide Pitch

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Five years ago, Digeo Inc. set out to build an advanced set-top box that would include a hard drive to store television programs, a DVD player and home-networking capabilities, to allow consumers to share video between TV sets in the home.

The Kirkland, Wash.-based company, owned by Microsoft Corp. co-founder and Charter Communications Inc. chairman Paul Allen, was successful in building that Moxi Media Center device, but less successful in selling the advanced set-top box to cable operators.

While Digeo has deployed more than 327,000 boxes across Charter, Comcast Corp. and Adelphia Communications Corp. systems, the deployment trails the millions and millions of boxes Motorola Inc. and Scientific Atlanta have in the field.

Given that, Digeo used the National Show in Atlanta two weeks ago to pitch its Moxi guide, separate from the Moxi Media Center, for operators to use on both low-end and high-end set-top boxes.

“The user interface is the heart and soul of the consumer experience,” said Mike Fidler, CEO of Digeo, who believes the Moxi guide stacks up well against others in the market.

Unlike guides that are heavily text-based, the Moxi guide is more graphically rich, with network logos and pictures, Fidler said. Channels on the guide scroll from the top to the bottom of the screen. Users see the colored logo of the channel, such as the NBC Peacock, as opposed to the letters N-B-C, plus the name of the program currently running. When the viewer stops on a channel, more information about the program and ensuing programs is displayed.

The Open Cable Application Platform software cable companies plan to rollout in the next few years will allow operators to run the Moxi guide off of either Motorola or SA boxes.

“OCAP also provides a vehicle to extend into the retail marketplace,” Fidler said. Digeo is also in discussions with television-set manufacturers about using the Moxi guide in future cable-ready sets. Consumers could buy those TVs and receive authorization from their cable company to receive service through Open Cable software commands sent by the provider.

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