An online forum thread on the Broadband Reports site confirms that Motorola DCX set-tops are now officially live in the field. I’ve heard rumblings about deployments since CES in January, but this is the first proof I’ve seen of the MPEG-4 set-tops making their way into consumer homes.
Two users report having the DCX boxes, one in Arlington Texas via Time Warner Cable, and one in the suburbs of Chicago via Comcast. The Texas user (who appears to be associated with Motorola, although I don’t know in what capacity) has a version with a 320GB hard drive, while the user outside of Chicago has a version with a 250GB hard drive.
There are several items worth noting about the DCX set-tops. First is their support for both MPEG-2 and MPEG-4. Until recently, cablecos have only had MPEG-2 set-tops in the field, despite increasing market demand for MPEG-4 encoders. MPEG-4 allows operators to save bandwidth, which in turn means more HD and more VOD content. Second, these set-tops have a DOCSIS modem built in, which has intriguing implications for broadband data delivery. Third, the DCX product line includes 1GHz tuners, which support the upgrades some operators have made to 1Ghz networks, and the resulting bandwidth savings that come with them.