Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Verizon Hones Home Networking...One Step at a Time

Verizon announced yesterday that it is introducing the Home Media DVR (Light Reading - Broadband - Verizon Hones Home Networking - Telecom News Analysis) that allows users to listen to music and look at pictures while sitting on their couches.  It retrieves music and videos from networked PC and play them on connected devices.  The DVR allows multi-room capability, so shows recorded on it can be played on TV in the kid's room or master bedroom.  A later version of the software will allow videos stored on the PC to be played on the DVR. 

Finally some competition inside the home allowing networking of TV and other entertainment appliances.  Surprising that it comes from Verizon—competition works.  It is not surprising that they want to charge $20 per month for the DVR and an additional $4 per month for each additional set-top box networked to it.  I am unclear whether this is a charge for rent of an additional set-top box or just the ability to stream video from it.  What is noticeably missing is the ability to play videos recorded on the box on PC in the home.  My wife and I watch DVD from our notebook computers.  I assume that they will roll out this feature once switching to the IPTV platform with Microsoft's DRM software.

Comcast came out with a glib response stating, “It’s just something we choose not to do at this time.” Chose not to do or could not do?  I am curious how Comcast believes they are going to do this.  Verizon uses MOCA for networking their boxes over coax, but Comcast isn't using MOCA in its homes.  I have a dual tuner HD DVR from Motorola equipped with Ethernet, USB, and PC Card ports, but it cannot communicate with anything except the head-end.  I would like to use the Ethernet connection to connect the DVR to my home network, but it is inactive.  The only way that Comcast could offer this capability is to do it the same way that Verizon is doing it—with MOCA.  Hopefully Comcast chooses to do it soon with a better set of capabilities at a better price than Verizon.