Moxi Tip #1: What The Heck Is Moxi?

(4 minute read)

OK, so I’m providing Moxi information. I’m going to add some Moxi Tips. I’ll be comparing Moxi to some comparable products. So you ask, “What the heck is Moxi?” Read on to find out…

“Moxi” is a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) from Digeo ( similar in concept to ReplayTV and TiVo, but it goes way beyond them in many ways. Moxi has all the “typical” DVR functions: pausing and rewinding live TV, recording shows, an interactive channel guide to find shows, Parental Controls, and a host of other functions. Its interface is very slick, very fast, and quite intuitive.

But what sets Moxi apart? Well, the “big feature” is true HDTV recording. Yes, that’s right, HDTV. If you have an HDTV and your Cable provider provides HDTV channels and a Moxi box, you can display and record them in all their stunning brilliance! A comparable HDTiVo box costs upwards of $1000.00, while Moxi only costs $10.00 or so extra per month on your cable bill.

But you don’t have an HDTV? I don’t either, nor do I subscribe to the HD channels, but Moxi still provides excellent “standard definition” functionality. And for you “connection freaks” Moxi provides just about any connection you could need to properly hook things up including Composite, RCA, Component, DVI, as well as analog and digital (coax and TOSLink) audio connections.

Another welcome feature is its “dual tuners”. Anyone coming from the standalone ReplayTV or TiVo world will love this one. You can record a show and be watching another show live. You can record two shows at once and be watching something you previously recorded at the same time. It significantly reduces scheduling conflicts and makes the whole viewing experience easier.

And because Moxi is integrated with a Digital Cable box, there is no messing with unreliable “IR Blasters” for connectivity, and channel changes are fast. Because of its integration, it also provides seamless selection and viewing of Pay-per-view shows. A new model is even in the works that will let you “network” a second “thin client” box to remotely watch and control all DVR functions from another room in the house.

Moxi also has the capability of displaying an “information ticker” at the bottom of the screen to help you keep current with things like news, weather, sports scores, stock prices, etc. It also has the capability of providing interactive Games like Video Poker, Solitaire, and a number of others. Finally, it has the capability of managing Video On Demand channels.

OK, that sounds great, but what are the negatives?

First off, it’s not available everywhere. Moxi is being deployed by a number of Cable providers around the United States, and is still in a “Pilot” status in many markets. I’ll be providing more details on how to see if it is available in another tip.

Next, as I mentioned above, unlike RelayTV and TiVo, Moxi is not a “standalone” DVR, but is integrated with a digital cable box. While this has its technical advantages, this means that it is not available for retail purchase, but is being sold as an “add-on” service by the Cable company. The up-side of this is that instead of paying an large up-front equipment cost and subscription fee, you just pay a small “extra” charge on your cable bill. Obviously, this eliminates the Satellite and OTA markets, but for those with cable in serviced areas, this is a God send.

Notice that in some of the above function descriptions, I said that Moxi “has the capability.” To make the Moxi box more desirable to Cable companies, Digeo provides the flexibility for Cable companies to customize many of the functions and determine which functions they will offer to the customer. The consequence of this is that all features may not be available in all markets. For example, you may have Games enabled but not Video On Demand. For the average viewer, this is not a big deal, but for those who “keep up” with the technology, the absence of certain features (or at least the knowledge of the absense) can be frustrating.

Finally, another negative is that it does not provide any facility to “offload” the digital recordings like the later ReplayTV and “hacked” TiVo boxes do. I have been using ReplayTV to record shows and occasionally transfer them to my PC for “archival” to DVD. (See my “ReplayTV to DVD HOWTO” article on this site for more details.) This feature is not available, and my guess is that it never will be. You can certainly capture from the video and audio outputs, but you will not be capturing the true digital recording. Though I am still keeping one of my ReplayTV boxes around for that purpose, but it’s really turning out to be a lesser-used feature.

To say I am impressed is an understatement. I’ve been a huge ReplayTV proponent for many years, and still am, but Moxi has managed to replace our ReplayTV box as our main DVR. And that wasn’t an easy task because we simply love ReplayTV.

Well, hopefully, you now have at least a small understanding of what is Moxi. In my next tip, I’ll provide some additional information and links for you to get the facts, so stay tuned!

Oh, and if there is any question, no, I am not affiliated with Moxi other than just being a very satisfied user.