Cable's portable DVR

Comcast and Panasonic will launch a co-branded portable digital video player that can show videos like Apple's iPod and record shows from any US cable operator’s system. The AnyPlay device is the first of a range of new electronic devices based on technology developed jointly by the cable industry and consumer electronics makers intended to increase interoperability among cable operators – and increase their threat to satellite TV rivals.

AnyPlay can record up to 60 hours of video and plays DVDs and CDs. It also features an 8.5-inch display screen. The device was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Comcast Chief Executive said ahead of the show that the industry had been working on the technology standard for several years and now plans to roll it out across the United States this year. “We knew we needed an open, national and interoperable structure between cable companies,” said Roberts, who is also chair of industry technology trade body Cable Labs.”We also knew there would be more competition and we had to change,” said Roberts. “The era of closed cable is over and the era of open cable is here.”

Electronics devices compatible with the technology, called Tru2way and previously OpenCable Platform, are expected to be available at retail outlets later this year and will be able to work without a cable operator-supplied set-top box.

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