Look out, TiVo: There’s a not-so-new DVR platform vying for consumers’ attention. The Moxi interface has quietly been earning a name for itself, first by appearing in cable set-top boxes and now in its own standalone HD DVR. The Moxi HD DVR–formerly developed by Digeo, which is now owned by ARRIS–has been available in a two-tuner configuration for a little over a year; in late 2009, ARRIS introduced a three-tuner version, as well. Beyond the number of tuners, the two models are identical. The Moxi HD DVR features a 500GB hard drive, with the ability to add external storage. The box supports digital cable and CableCARD service and allows for access to a lot of Internet services, such as Netflix, Rhapsody, Hulu, and more. Unlike TiVo, Moxi does not charge a monthly service fee: You pay up front for the box ($499 for two tuners, $599 for three), and the service is free…the cost of your digital cable package notwithstanding.
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We have not performed a hands-on review of the Moxi HD DVR, but here is an overview of its features. This DVR does not include internal over-the-air tuners and is not compatible with satellite TV systems; it’s designed specifically for digital cable users. The back panel features an RF input and a CableCARD slot that supports a multi-stream CableCARD. Video outputs include HDMI, component video, S-video, and composite video; on the audio side, you get optical and coaxial digital, as well as stereo analog. The Moxi HD DVR supports 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p resolutions, as well as stereo PCM and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio output. The back panel features an IR output for integration into a control system.
The unit has front- and rear-panel USB ports to which you can attach an optional analog tuner (if your cable provider still offers some channels in analog form only), while a rear-panel eSATA port is available to add an external hard drive. The rear-panel Ethernet port allows for connection to your home network; the Moxi HD DVR does not have built-in wireless network connectivity. When added to your home network, this DVR supports media streaming from any DLNA-compliant server, as well as the ability to remotely schedule recordings from a Web browser or mobile device. The box directly supports access to Flickr, Rhapsody, and the Finetune music service; also, if you load the PlayOn DLNA server software onto your PC, the Moxi box can access Internet services like YouTube, Hulu, and Netflix video-on-demand, using the PC as a portal. Other features include MoxiNet for full-screen Web browsing and the Superticker widget that runs weather, sports, and news information along the bottom of the screen.
The Moxi box has a gloss-black finish and a clean, minimalist front panel with just a few LEDs, a reset button, a small navigation wheel, and a menu button. The remote is fairly run-of-the-mill, with no backlighting. In terms of DVR features, the box has an attractive HD interface that continues to display the live TV feed in a window at the top right while you navigate the guide. Like TiVo, the Moxi guide offers vertical lists that show you what’s coming up on any given channel. The owner’s manual says that the amount of buffer varies but is “never less than 30 minutes for SD and 10 minutes for HD.” You can set manual recordings or series recordings, with options to record first-run episodes only or to only record the show in a certain time slot (fans of The Daily Show will appreciate the usefulness of this feature).
ARRIS also sells a separate client, called Moxi Mate ($299), to which you can stream live or recorded content from your main Moxi HD DVR. The Moxi Mate also supports the Internet services and DLNA media streaming and uses the same interface. If this multiroom function sounds compelling, you can get a better deal up front by purchasing one of the Moxi bundle packages that includes the HD DVR and one or two Moxi Mates.
Read Page 2 for The High Points, Low Points and Conclusion