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Companies Join To Support Personal Video Recording for STBs

(September 21, 2001)
Metro Link announced today that it will provide integrated support for the newly introduced Harmony reference design into their Metro Media PVR architecture. Metro Link will be working with both Stream Machine and Sigma Designs to support mutual customers developing Advanced Set-Top Boxes and PVR products using the Harmony reference design. Metro Media support for the Harmony Reference Design will allow customers to retain a proprietary branded look and feel for their PVR products in an open hardware and software environment without sacrificing functionality or performance.

Advanced Set-Top Boxes, alternately known as "convergence" products because they bring together video, voice, and data features in one package, offer consumers full control over their viewing experience by providing pause, instant record and other time-shifting features during live broadcasts, as well as offering the ability to record one or more programs at specified times in the future. The Harmony reference design adds this functionality by providing a high-quality viewing experience on low cost x86 platforms running LINUX. It is able to do this by leveraging the power of Stream Machine's SM2288 MPEG audio/video codec and the flexibility of Sigma Designs' EM8475 DVD/MPEG-4 decoder.

This hardware will be optimized by Metro Link, who will provide dedicated support and integration for the Harmony reference design within their Metro-Media PVR architecture. This modular architecture conveniently provides an easily customizable user interface which is integrated with a full media infrastructure layer. Metro Link will be working with both Stream Machine and Sigma Designs to support mutual customers developing set-top boxes and PVR devices using the Harmony reference design.

"The complete solution offered by the Harmony reference design is a key piece in promoting full-scale PVR deployment in set top boxes," said Greg Lafferty, Vice-President of Sales for Metro Link. "Our Metro Media Toolkit for the Harmony Reference Design offers an integrated turn-key PVR solution which provides customers with a powerful, flexible way to offer a branded look and feel. We look forward to working with the customers of Stream Machine and Sigma Designs to bring a new class of product into the mainstream."

"Metro Link's support of the Harmony Reference Design will ensure dedicated customer support, integration and rapid deployment of our hardware in advanced set top boxes," said Ken Lowe, Vice-President of Business Development for Sigma Designs. "Adding PVR functionality to the set-top box offers service providers the opportunity to roll out potential revenue-generating services such as personal video recording and video on demand, and our solution is timed perfectly for the needs of this market."

"The Harmony solution is ideal for OEMs who wish to capitalize on the convergence wave by building custom-branded products on top of an open x86 hardware and LINUX software environment," stated Brian Heuckroth, Vice-President of Marketing for Stream Machine. "We are convinced that there is world-wide demand for this technology, and that our combination of chips, system design, and middleware will enable OEMs to offer the most cost-effective, branded solution with the highest-quality video available."

Metro Link's Metro-Media PVR Tool Kit
Metro-Media with PVR is a modular and flexible software toolkit that can be custom-built to individual specifications. The toolkit allows you to build full-featured PVR solutions quickly without worrying about the hardware details during application development. The Metro-Media PVR Tool Kit includes the Metro-Media Device Connection (MMDC) server, and a variety of hardware support. A typical PVR application will include modules supporting: Audio/video capture/compression and decompression; TV tuning (DVB,NTSC,ATSC); TV picture control; User input device; and Disk Storage; Electronic Program Guides; and PVR Engine.

The MMDC server acts as a communications hub. It routes commands between the various plug-in modules and provides a unified interface through which other system components communicate with hardware drivers and with each other. The PVR engine coordinates activity of the various hardware modules in order to host PVR functionality, such as: Time-Shifting, Program Recording, and Disk Space Management. There is also an EPG Manager, which provides integrated support for TV listing information, and a complete TV Tool Kit designed to simplify development of user interfaces optimized for TV output. The optional Universal Plug 'n Play module allows remote devices to control the PVR and access the Electronic Program Guide data using standard UPnP services.

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Related Keywords:DTV Professional, Digital Media Net, Metro Link, Harmony reference design, Metro Media PVR architecture, Stream Machine, Sigma Designs, Advanced Set-Top Boxes, PVR products

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