While the Personal Video Recorder (aka Digital Video Recorder or DVR) is a welcome addition to any home theatre, one of the most sought after PVR features is the ability to playback from a single digital video recorder (DVR) to multiple TVs.
PVR's with the ability to serve up multiple recordings to multiple televisions are typically called multi-room PVRs and until this month were generally only available in Canada from a few IPTV television providers such as Telus or MTS.
That changed this month when Eastlink Cable become the first major cable company in Canada to offer a multi-room PVR to customers in Halifax.
Using Motorola's Follow Me TV technology Eastlink Digital Cable customers in Halifax can now rent the Motorola DCX 3400m DVR which as the home's primary PVR and server to up to three networked Motorola DCX 700m HD-ready receivers.
Once the devices are networked in the home using MOCA (Multimedia over Coax Alliance) technology, Eastlink subscribers can view recordings on up to three different televisions.
While users can have four receivers in their system, due to bandwidth constraints, only three recorded programs can be viewed simultaneously and at least one must be in standard definition. If three recordings are played back at once, then one of the recordings must be viewed on the TV connected to the primary receiver.
The networked boxes can also be hooked up to standard definition (SD) television as High Definition (HD) recordings are automatically down converted to SD if viewed on a non HD TV set.
Unfortunately for heavy television watchers, recording time on the new devices is limited to 40 hours of HD programming and only one PVR can be part of the Multi-Room network. Additional storage is not available.
The cost of the service is $5 per month, plus $5.95 for each additional DVR receiver. A four television setup then would cost $22.85 per month.
Eastlink's multi-room PVR is now available in Halifax. The company says the service will be rolled out in other EastLink markets across the country in the coming months.
"Multi-room DVR is the next generation of video entertainment service and the most frequently requested enhancement by our customers. It has changed the way consumers watch television," said Deborah Shaffner, EastLink President and COO.
Discuss the new multi-room PVR in Digital Home's Eastlink Cable discussion forum .