The US satellite pay TV operator DirecTV is to launch a multi-room DVR (mDVR) service. The service will operate over coaxial cable, with Multimedia Coax Alliance (MoCA) chips from Entropic, embedded in DirecTV's STBs. These new STBs are expected to be available to subscribers in Q1 2010. DirecTV will also use the RVU Alliance's Remote User Interface (RUI) technology to maintain a consistent user interface and branding across all devices connected to the DVR.
The number of TV sets in the US per household is growing, from 2.4 TV sets per household in 2008 to 2.6 by 2013. In the same period, DVR home penetration is expected to rise to 50%. Pay TV operators are looking to capitalize on this growth by servicing TVs with paid for content further into the home without incurring additional STB costs for greater number of household sets. Potentially, mDVR will not only allow access to these TVs but also provide churn reducing DVR functionality to all TVs in the home. DirecTV currently has 18.8m subscribers but satellite operations are under increasing pressure from IPTV operations such as AT&T and Verizon, both of which have launched mDVR services in the home. The key feature of DirecTV's mDVR service is the RVU technology with its RUI feature that allows interaction of thin clients (CE devices) with the RVU server (mDVR), which is responsible for all UI functionality. The RUI technology eliminates the need for additional software for graphics, events, buffers, and complex messaging allowing the consumer benefit from having one and the same user interface on any CE device in the home. For MoCA, which has been mainly used by Verizon's FiOS so far, this deal adds support from a major satellite TV operator increasing the number of MoCA-enabled devices in the market, currently estimated to be around 30m. It will also strengthen its competitiveness against soon coming G.hn (power lines, phone lines and coax cables), a standard backed by The Consumer Electronics Powerline Communication Alliance (CEPCA), Home Phoneline Networking Alliance (HomePNA) and Universal Powerline Association (UPA) and standardised under the ITU-T.