Motorola OKs Pair of Dual-Tuner Guides


Motorola Inc.’s Acadia Laboratories has validated a pair of guide products — Pioneer Digital Technologies Inc.’s Passport Echo software guide and Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc.’s A23 interactive program guide — so cable companies can deploy them on the vendor’s DCT 6412 dual-tuner DVR set-tops.

Until now, systems that deployed dual-tuner digital video recorders from Motorola were using single-tuner software and guides, effectively curbing the DCT 6412’s functionality to that of a single-tuner box.

Cox Communications Inc. has started downloading dual-tuner Passport Echo software that allows customers full dual-tuner functionality, including the ability to watch a recorded program while recording up to two live programs at the same time — or the ability to watch one program while recording another on a separate channel.

“We are the first interactive program guide vendor to have a have product available on that box and commercially deployed,” trumpeted Pioneer senior vice president Neil Jones. “And we’re the first to be able to deploy on both the Scientific-Atlanta and Motorola platforms on dual-tuner HD DVR boxes.”

That advantage will probably just be a moment in time. Gemstar-TV Guide also received certification last week, paving the way for customers — including Comcast Corp., Adelphia Communications Corp., Charter Communications Inc., Insight Communications Co., Mediacom Communications Corp. and Time Warner Cable — to roll out the guide on the DCT 6412. (Microsoft TV’s guide also has passed Acadia certification for the DCT 6412, but no MSO has deployed it yet.)

TV Guide Interactive senior vice president and general manager Todd Walker said the A23 guide gained Acadia approval two weeks ago.

The dual-tuner guide features multilevel search, a true favorites section and the ability to set recordings for reoccurring programming.

Pioneer has deployed Passport Echo on some 600,000 dual-tuner S-A DVR boxes, principally in Time Warner Cable systems. Pioneer also has agreements with Bright House Networks, Cox Communications, Blue Ridge Cable and Susquehanna Communications to deploy Passport Echo on dual-tuner DVRs.

Cox launched dual-tuner DVRs in S-A markets in January 2003, using the vendor’s SARA guide. It has deployed dual tuner DVRs in more than 10 S-A markets to date and has plans to roll them into Motorola markets throughout the third and fourth quarter, heading to 95% market deployment by year-end.