Digeo Still Working To Deliver Moxi

According to TWICE, Digeo is working on two Moxi cable DVRs. The first will be distributed through Charter later this month, to also be followed by ‘a second MSO’. It’s only four months after they announced this the first time. Back in May at The Cable Show Digeo announced that Charter would carry the Moxi 3012 HD DVR by the end of 3Q08. So they have less than two weeks to meet that goal.

Of course, back in January Digeo’s then COO, now President, Greg Gudorf told me that their cable DVR would ship by the end of 1Q08. So we’ll see how this roll out goes.

The other Moxi DVR will be a CableCARD consumer product sold at retail and expected to ship in January. That will be a year after Digeo suddenly canceled all of their planned consumer products, just days after showing them at CES and talking up the launch plans.

Details on the consumer product are thin, I’m presuming they’ll have something to say about it at CES in January. Of course, they did last year too. Unsurprisingly it will be a CableCARD-enabled DVR, and it will not be tru2way-enabled. It sounds like they’re pitching all the same features they were on the canceled products – music and photo access, content partners, home control integration, etc. For music content Digeo has lined up FineTune, Rhapsody and Sirius and they have Flickr for photos.

The one new item that I found interesting is that they’re implementing DLNA support. I’d like to see more products supporting DLNA, standards are good and DLNA has growing support across a number of products such as the Xbox 360, PS3, HP Media Smart TVs, Blu-ray players, etc.

Digeo is also apparently still working on their Moxi TV for PC software, which I was told was in beta and close to release at CES 2008 in January. Though according to TWICE they have it running on XP, Vista, and Media Center versions of Windows now, and not just XP as at CES. No word on when it might be available to consumers.

Gudorf told TWICE that Digeo is working on future products for post-July 2009 which will support tru2way. Digeo signed the tru2way accord in June. But I’m not even going to devote any mental energy to that until Digeo manages to ship something to consumers.

Digeo started talking about launching new consumer products two years ago, in September 2006. (Which I picked up, amusingly enough, from an article in TWICE.) I talked to them at CES 2007 where they were showing mock ups and no real products with the promise of shipping later in the year.

They insisted they’d ship in time for the 2007 holidays up through September. (Oddly enough, another article from TWICE. Is covering Digeo a September tradition for them?) Then in November they admitted they weren’t going to ship in 2007.

Then I talked to them again at CES 2008, and they were showing off some of the same mock-ups they’d had at CES 2007, as well as some actual products. Just a week later they canceled the products and laid off nearly half of their staff. Digeo’s Gary Gudorf talked to me the next day to offer clarifications, including that their cable MSO product would ship by the end of 1Q08, which it didn’t.

We didn’t hear anything else until April when details on the cable product emerged. And then in May they exhibited at The Cable Show and issued a press release announcing Charter’s intention to carry it. In June Digeo signed the tru2way accord.

And now here we are in September again, two years after they first announced their intention to enter the consumer DVR market, and they’re promising a box ‘expected to ship in January’. You’ll pardon me if I don’t hold my breath. Assuming they do exhibit at CES in January, I’ll check out their offerings, again. As I said when I covered them this year, I think they have some good design points. But none of it matters until they manage to get a box on retail shelves.

I hear it’ll come bundled with Duke Nukem Forever.

Tipped off by EngadgetHD.

EDIT: This got some attention in AVS Forum, including from a Charter rep, who wasn’t encouraging:

Ironically yesterday I got whispers from a contact in St Louis who works with someone who’s got a beta 3012 (Don’t get hopes up, so far it seems only a few elite managers and tech ops people in St Louis have gotten to beta this unit)

Apparently it’s still got quite a few bugs, which I think is very odd, given really all they needed to do was improve on the existing hardware and leave the software alone.

At any rate I don’t expect to see them in 2 weeks, heck at the rate things are going, I’d consider us lucky if we see them before Q3 2009

I’d say I’m surprised or that this is unusual so close to a planned release – but frankly this is what I’ve come to expect from Digeo. They’ve had one product actually make it to market, the BMC9000 STB series from Motorola running the Moxi software. But that launched back in 2004 and has been out of production for a long time now. At its peak it only reached around 400,000 users, and the number of Moxi uses is believed to be much smaller now as units have been replaced with newer, non-Moxi DVR models. Unsurprisingly the main MSO to use Moxi was Charter, which, like Digeo, is controlled by Paul Allen. But even with it being ‘in the family’ Charter’s use of Moxi was minor.

Moxi’s history since they were acquired by Digeo has been one of failed execution. Early on Moxi was on their way to being a competitor in the consumer DVR space and they had some cutting edge plans, then Digeo acquired them and refocused them on cable MSOs instead of retail. Digeo acquired Moxi way back in 2002 – and in six years what have they done? One product which never achieved more than minor market penetration, and is now well out of date and discontinued. Aside from that they have a history of press releases and announced partnerships, awards won for products announced but never shipped, staff layoffs, and repeated product delays and cancellations. If they didn’t have Paul Allen backing them I don’t see how they’d still be in business. Digeo needs to ship a product, a good product, to significant numbers of users, if they want to earn consumer trust again.

About MegaZone

MegaZone is the Editor of Gizmo Lovers and the chief contributor. He's been online since 1989 and active in several generations of 'social media' - mailing lists, USENet groups, web forums, and since 2003, blogging.    MegaZone has a presence on several social platforms: Google+ / Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / LiveJournal / Web.    You can also follow Gizmo Lovers on other sites: Blog / Google+ / Facebook / Twitter.
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  • http://www.eyrie-productions.com/ Gryphon

    I hear it’ll come bundled with Duke Nukem Forever.

    I heard that was being ported to the onboard computer in the Moller Skycar. Hey, maybe that’s what this Moxi thing is supposed to be.

  • http://www.gizmolovers.com/ MegaZone

    I think invoking the Moller Skycar in a discussion of vaporware is a Godwin equivalent. ;-)

  • http://mickeleh.blogspot.com Michael Markman

    Your skepticism about Moxi is well earned. But I have one small issue to raise.

    This is in the we’ll-never-know department: but is it fair to compare the original Moxi plans to Digeo? The old Moxi company never got beyond plans, early prototypes, unfinished software and a spectacular announcement at CES.

    We have no way of knowing how well the original Moxi Digital would have executed their plans. You have to wonder, though, if they had the ability and resources to deliver. Why did they put themselves up for sale immediately after their debut at CES?

    BTW, I’d put the Moxi product count at three, not one. 1) The original Moto single-room DVR, 2) A multi-room DVR with built in DVD drive, and a low-cost extension unit for a second room 3) a version of the product that was compatible with Scientific-Atlanta (now Cisco) cable systems.

    (I’m a former employee of Digeo.)

  • http://www.gizmolovers.com/ MegaZone

    All three of those were variations on the BMC9000 though, right? The 9012 and 9022 with MoxiMate. And the SciAtl was, as I understand it, a minor variation that spoke to their head end. It’s like the TiVo Series2, there were at least three different major hardware platforms – 1xx, 2xx, and 5xx – but they’re all TiVo Series2 and considered one product on the consumer level. To be kind you could say they’ve had one family of products instead of one product.

    It is true that Moxi as a standalone company will always be a ‘what if?’ situation. I’m sure they thought Paul Allen’s backing through Digeo would help them by providing the funding to get to market without as much risk. But I think they made a mistake abandoning the consumer market and focusing solely on cable MSOs. TiVO’s presence in retail has helped build their brand and it is that brand that gives them leverage to make the deals they have with cable MSOs as well as international partners like Seven is Australia. Moxi is a complete unknown to consumers, even many A/V geeks are unfamiliar with them.