Viasat Selects Pace's TDS855NV Hybrid HD PVR

--Box Features Middleware, CA, PVR and Progressive Download Technology from NDS

UK-based set-top box manufacturer, Pace, contacted [itvt] Tuesday to let us know that its long-term customer, Scandinavian/Baltic free and pay-TV operator, Viasat Broadcasting, has selected its TDS855NV hybrid HD PVR. According to the company, the box's hybrid functionality will provide end-users with access to a broader range of programming and services, allowing them to receive content in a variety of different ways and giving them increased control over their TV experience.

Pace provided Viasat with its first HD PVR back in January 2008. According to the company, the new TDS855NV, which replaces the existing TDS850NV 250GB HD PVR, features dual DVB-S2 tuners and a 320GB hard drive, allowing storage of up to an additional 40 hours of content, yet has a smaller and more compact design. The box supports both MPEG-2 and H.264 content, the company says, and allows users to record up to 80 hours of HD or 160 hours of SD content. It comes equipped with an Ethernet connector which Pace says allows IP content to be delivered over low-bandwidth connections using NDS's Progressive Delivery (PDL) technology. NDS bills its PDL technology as delivering uninterrupted viewing by removing the buffering problems associated with slow broadband download speeds. According to Pace, this feature will not only support Viasat's ongoing roll-out of its ViasatOnDemand HD service, but will also allow end-users to watch a much wider selection of movies and TV series on-demand and catch-up content through their broadband Internet connection. The company says it uses the available bandwidth to deliver content to the PVR's hard drive and, once enough content is cached, lets the viewer start playback without interruption, with any remaining content being delivered in the background. "The deployment of this hybrid HD PVR is a great way for us to overcome the limitations associated with the unidirectional nature of satellite delivery," Martin Lewerth, CTO of Viasat's parent company, Modern Times Group, said in a prepared statement. "The IP-based functionality in this PVR delivers content over an 'always-on' connection, which means we can offer not only the highest levels of HD functionality to our viewers, but also a content management experience that is entirely owned by them. In today's market, this level of control is becoming a pre-requisite and we are taking action to meet this need with a robust, proven technology solution from a long-standing partner at the forefront of hybrid design and technology. We believe that this Pace box will significantly raise the standard for control over the whole TV experience and for HDTV functionality everywhere."

According to Pace, in addition to NDS's PDL technology, the new box incorporates that company's VideoGuard conditional access technology, its MediaHighway middleware, its XTV PVR technology, and an NDS-built custom EPG. It has an external power supply to reduce its size and what Pace terms a "distinctive" look that has been created by its Pace Industrial Design team.

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