Moxi HD DVR Adds Features

Digeo makes the Moxie HD DVR that lets users of cable TV services record and play back TV shows. Unlike TiVo, there’s no monthly subscription fee. However, the device costs about $200 more than a TiVo, so it will take about two years to recover the difference in cost. Digeo announced a range of new services today that could tip the scales in the Moxi’s favor.

Perhaps the most intriguing new feature is a promotion that provides a free copy of PlayOn media server software, which is a $40 value. If you already have a Moxi or buy a new one, you have until May 15 to take advantage of the offer. PlayOn provides easy access to Internet video programming from YouTube, Hulu, CBS, Netflix, CNN, ESPN, and other sites so that you can watch them on your HDTV.

In addition, the Moxi is a DLNA-compatible media device, so you can access music and video stored on computers on your home network. It also supports Rhapsody ($13 a month) and Finetune (free) online music services. You can also bookmark your favorite Web sites at www.moxi.com, and then access them quickly on your HDTV using the TV’s remote. The Moxi even supports most Z-wave home automation devices so that you can control your home’s lighting and other features through your TV.

The Moxi has dual tuners, so you can watch one show live while another is recording, or record two shows at once while watching a saved program. It comes with 500 GB of storage — good for about 75 hours of HD programming — to which you can easily add up to 2 TB using a USB external hard drive.

Priced at $799, the Moxi is priced below the cost of most home theater PCs, and probably costs about what it would take to roll your own DVR based on Windows Media Center. My only disappointment is that it only works with cable services — not satellite and not over the air broadcasts — but it should suit the needs of the majority of the market. Products like this will continue to expose viewers to the advantages of watching video over the Internet.