The box won't be widely available until the end of the year, but the news that Comcast is preparing to offer a state-of-the-art entertainment system through a set-top box should grab the attention of satellite TV providers DirecTV and Dish Network, as well as San Jose's TiVo.
Comcast is expected to announce today that it will test the Moxi Media Center, offering TV viewers enough features to make DirecTV's TiVo box and Dish Network's own DVR look primitive.
The box itself doesn't look much different from cable boxes in use now. But it's what's crammed inside that matters: a TiVo-like digital video recorder that stores programming on a hard drive instead of tape, a dual tuner that allows users to watch one program while recording another and networking capabilities that will bring digital photos, music and video clips from the home computer to the TV screen.
The media center includes a new user interface that puts all programming -- video-on-demand movies, pay-per-view events and recorded programs -- on one on-screen list, doing away with the grid-like programming guide that's awkward to navigate.
Some models will come programmed to display shows that are broadcast in high definition. And future boxes could have built-in DVD players, as well.
"This puts it all in one box," Digeo Chief Executive Jim Billmaier said.
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