Ceton previews multi-room DVR and Echo extender (hands-on)

The company that has almost single handedly spurred the golden age of CableCARD has found a new way to deliver its technology to consumers with a 6 tuner multi-room DVR with a 2TB hard drive, codenamed Q, and its companion extender, codenamed Echo. No word on the price of either but both are expected to ship in 2012.

While the Q and Echo might look like Microsoft Media Center, they aren't. Based on the Windows 7 Embedded platform, the Q picks up where Microsoft left off but still leverages the great DVR functionality and free guide data. In addition to being used as an extender for the Q, the Echo is also a fully compliant Extender for Windows Media Center. The Echo will support both ethernet and MoCA for communication to the source and has HDMI-CEC for control as well as an included remote. When used with the Q, it will extend the entire Q experience, including streaming sources and enhanced search that facilitates content discovery. Speaking of the Q, that slot up front is a Blu-ray drive and in addition to being able to play Blu-ray Discs, the plan is to integrate as many streaming sources as possible (no partners to announce yet, though). The Q will also work with other Extenders for Windows Media Center, like the Xbox 360, but while the custom themes are there, the other streaming options aren't. Ceton has even developed a Windows 8 Metro and Windows Phone 7 app to extend the Q experience to the handhelds -- iOS apps are on the road map. These apps are primarily designed to be companions to the Q's search and discovery features, but will provide access to content via WiFi.