Rogers Says It Will Offer Canada's Highest Capacity HD DVR

--BH Telecom Selects Espial MediaBase to Power its VOD Services

Canadian cable MSO, Rogers Communications, said Monday that it will offer a new line of Cisco HD DVR's (the Explorer 8642HD) that will include a model with the largest DVR hard drive (500GB) in Canada, allowing customers to record up to 62 hours of HD or up to 280 hours of SD content. "We understand that for our customers, entertainment is about the experience for the whole family and at the center of it is often the PVR," John Boynton, Rogers' EVP of marketing, said in a prepared statement "The new Rogers Cisco Explorer 8642HD PVR is designed with the whole family in mind so that they can each enjoy their own entertainment on their time. No longer will they have to deal with record-delete issues. They can watch what they want, when they want."

Features of the new Cisco Explorer 8642HD DVR, according to Rogers, include:

  • 160GB (CAN$499) and 320GB (CAN$549) models, in addition to the CAN$599 500GB model. (Note: The DVR's will be available only in Ontario. The 160GB model is slated to be available on a rental basis this summer, and both it and the 500GB model are available for purchase at Rogers Plus stores and Rogers authorized retailers and via The Shopping Channel online. The 320GB model will be available exclusively through Costco stores.)
  • Higher resolution graphics, including HiRes feature updates to the user interface screens, bringing them from 320x240 resolution to 640x480.
  • PVR Hashmarks, a feature that allows jumping forwards or backwards in 15, 30 or 60-minute increments during playback of recorded programs.
  • A Play Position Time Indicator, that appears as part of the playback progress bar to indicate numerically the current playback point.
  • Support for what Rogers terms "near-future" enhancements, including interactive TV and home networking services.
  • Dual-tuners and picture-in-picture functionality.
  • Support for MPEG-4, MoCA and DLNA.

In other news from Canada: Espial, the Canadian digital TV software company that in 2008 bought US IPTV and video-on-demand technology provider, Kasenna (note: the deal valued Kasenna, which had raised $90 million in funding since its launch in 2000, at around $6.5 million), announced last week that BH Telecom, the largest quad-play service provider in Bosnia and Herzegovina (claims 2 million subscribers), has successfully launched VOD services on its IPTV service using the Espial MediaBase platform. Espial acquired the MediaBase product line through the Kasenna purchase. According to the company, BH Telecom will use the platform to support network PVR and timeshift-TV services, in addition to VOD. The system integrator for the deployment was Espial regional partner, SmartCom.

According to Espial, MediaBase is intended to be deployed in a distributed architecture in order to leverage its "high-efficiency content delivery networking and cost-effective intelligent streaming." The platform uses commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) servers with HD and SD storage options. "For our IPTV service, we are pleased to have chosen Espial MediaBase," BH Telecom general manager, Nedzad Residbegovic, said in a prepared statement. "It meets our requirements for scalability, application performance and service continuity. The use of COTS servers is a great advantage: it allows us to take advantage of the continuous improvements in streaming and capture performance. We look forward to providing our subscribers with a superior on-demand video experience using Espial MediaBase."

North America