British company Pace has been demonstrating an advanced multiroom digital video recorder system. Its HCS or Home Content Sharing system uses centralised storage with multiple high-definition set-top boxes within the home. It is integrated with an interactive programme guide and connected platform software from Rovi, formerly known as Macrovison, which acquired Gemstar-TV Guide. Pace has experienced something of a turnaround in the last year, which has seen a fourfold increase in its share price.
The Pace system offers full dual tuner functions to each connected television in the home. It is built around a single NAS or Network Attached Storage device offering access to media from multiple set-top boxes connected over in home coaxial cable or data network.
The Rovi IPG provides an interactive graphical user interface with familiar features for digital video recording and managing media from connected televisions.
Pace says that users will be able to record up to six high definition programmes concurrently or distribute up to nine simultaneous high definition streams around the home. Users will also be able to bookmark playback to resume viewing in another room.
The solution will also allow users to access music, video, and photos from industry standards compliant devices over a home data network.
The Home Content Sharing system is initially aimed at cable operators that use the Rovi interactive programme guide and is available for immediate deployment.
A number of independent American cable operator trialling the system, including Mediacom, the eigth largest cable television company in the United States.
“The Pace solution is a true multiroom DVR versus other ‘multiview solutions,’ meaning that the subscriber gets the same complete dual-tuner DVR experience they are familiar with today in every room of the home, rather than a subset of features,” said JR Walden, who is responsible for technology at Mediacom.
The National Cable Television Cooperative has agreed to offer the system to its members, which number nearly 1,000 smaller operators, including 17 of the top 20 cable operators in the United States. Collectively they serve over 26 million cable customers.
The Pace system demonstrates three themes that informitv considers will be increasingly important in the connected home. Firstly, the centralisation of local storage in expandable network attached storage devices. Secondly, the distribution of programming within and around the home using internet protocols. Thirdly, the ability to access other media, including personal photos and videos, using the same systems.
Pace, an occasional client of informitv, has been demonstrating strong performance despite the current economic climate. Revenues in the first half of 2009 passed half a billion pounds, almost double those for the same period a year previously, partly lifted by the acquisition of the set-top box business of Philips.