NDS has announced the deployment of a new version of its MediaHighway middleware that allows subscribers to upgrade standard HD boxes into digital video recorders. Subscribers to Canal+ and CanalSat in France can attach an external hard drive via the USB port on their existing HD set-top box to have a fully functional DVR facility.
In the UK market, Sky went straight to an HD DVR, however in continental European operators including Canal and Premiere – where NDS also supplies the middleware – launched without the DVR technology in order to speed up the time to market. As well as the upgrade the NDS technology also provides a useful long-term storage mechanism. The MediaHighway middleware automatically detects the presence of an external hard drive.
UPC, which uses the OpenTV middleware but relies on an Ethernet port rather than USB, has announced an HD PVR though it is yet to launch.
Canal launched its first HD box two years ago and has reached 250,000 deployments. A list of approved hard drives is available on the Canal+ website and a marketing campaign is underway.