Paul Allen's Digeo is doubling down on its retail strategy -- to vie with TiVo for high-end home-entertainment buffs -- by adding new Internet and home-networking features to the Moxi HD DVR.
Digeo, which has had limited success winning business with cable operators, shifted its strategy last year to the $799 retail product.
"This product was born in HD... unlike the offerings of our competitors," Digeo CEO Greg Gudorf said on a conference call with reporters.
He estimated the addressable market for Moxi HD DVR is between 12 million and 15 million cable households, "and we believe it's a market that deserves the best DVR technology."
Digeo has defended the $799 price point by noting the product -- unlike TiVo DVRs -- carries no monthly fees.
Now the company is packing in multimedia and Internet-access features, in the hopes to further justify the relatively high price tag.
These include PlayOn, digital media server software installed on a PC, which allows Moxi users to browse and watch Internet videos from Hulu, YouTube, Netflix, CNN, ESPN and other services (pictured, left).
The software, licensed from MediaMall Technologies, carries a $39.99 suggested retail price but is available to Moxi customers for no extra charge.
"We're still working on our Internet-video plans, but this is our first step to bringing Internet services to the Moxi HD DVR," Gudorf said.
Also new is an enhanced version of MoxiNet, a Web browser that now allows users to add bookmarks to their favorite sites -- a feature added based on customer feedback, Gudorf said.
"Whether a site looks good on the TV is up to the user, not Digeo," he said.
Other enhancements: the ability to access Rhapsody's streaming digital music service, as well as a free 30-day trial of the service; eControls, a home-automation feature that allows users to control Z-Wave-supported products; a mosaic view for the Flickr online photo service; and certification for the DLNA standard for home networking.
However, the Moxi HD DVR still lacks some key features, including multiroom playback capability. It also does not have complete support for switched digital video; Gudorf estimated support for SDV would be available this summer.
The product is available only through Amazon.com, though Digeo is "exploring" adding other dealers and forms of distribution in the mix. "We want to make sure we make the transition properly" from a company focused on selling DVRs to cable operators to one with a retail-oriented play, Gudorf said.
Digeo does still have cable operator customers, Gudorf added, although the version of the DVR has fewer features and a less robust user interface. The company began shipping the MC3 DVR in October 2008 to Charter Communications (in which Allen also has a financial interest) and Oregon's BendBroadband.
The Kirkland, Wash.-based company a year ago cut its staff in half, laying off 80 employees, to focus on developing the retail HD DVR.