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Monday, April 26, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
Kirkland's Digeo to announce deal with Comcast
By Kim Peterson
The deal is the first partnership between the companies and is a significant coup for Digeo, which has been trying to persuade cable companies to offer customers its high-end media-center software and the Motorola cable box that goes with it.
Comcast has agreed to deploy 40,000 media centers in a few markets in the second half of the year. The company hasn't announced the markets.
Digeo is also expected to announce that the third-largest cable provider, Charter Communications, will convert a trial of the media centers tomorrow into a full-fledged commercial launch. The launch will take place in Rochester, Minn., where the trials occurred.
Charter is planning to expand the launch nationwide this year, Digeo executives said, and has bought 100,000 media-center devices.
Adelphia Communications, the fifth-largest cable company, is running a field trial of the media centers in the Los Angeles region. If the trial is successful, the company said it would deploy 25,000 of the devices this year.
The media centers run Digeo's Moxi service on two boxes specifically made by Motorola for the Digeo service. Both include a built-in cable modem, an internal hard drive and a dual-tuner personal video recorder, which can record a television program while the user is watching another.
One of the devices is designed for use by a single television, and the other works with two televisions and includes a built-in DVD player.
Both devices are included in Digeo's cable partnerships. Chief Executive Jim Billmaier said that although the box designed for a single television is more popular, the two-TV system is catching up.
Most users who have tried out the single-television box upgrade to the dual-television unit a few months later, he said.
Digeo has now partnered with three of the top five cable companies in the country. The deals reflect a growing momentum for the company, which was founded by Paul Allen in 1999. Billmaier said cable companies tend to share information, and the success of Charter's Digeo trial has not gone unnoticed by the industry.
It also took time for Motorola to ramp up its production and have enough cable boxes on hand for cable companies, Billmaier said.
Kim Peterson: 206-464-2360 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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