Comcast and Panasonic announced the pending launch of the AnyPlay portable digital video recorder (DVR). The AnyPlay allows Comcast subscribers to take their recorded video content with them on a portable media player. The AnyPlay also acts as a HD set top box when connected to the subscriber’s television. In addition to watching recorded content, subscribers can play DVDs and CDs on the device. The device features an 8.5-inch folding display, stereo sound, and a 60 GB hard drive for video storage. Actual launch of the product isn’t scheduled until early 2009. When launched, AnyPlay will join Comcast’s competitor Dish Networks, who offers a similar product today, PocketDISH.
This Comcast announcement illustrates the continuing push for competitive advantage among triple play competitors. AnyPlay is the first commercial introduction of the cable industry’s new “tru2way” standard (formerly known as Open Cable Platform). Tru2way is a middleware platform that the cable industry hopes will lead to the development of numerous consumer electronic devices that interface directly with cable triple play networks. The end game here is differentiation, and cable hopes that tru2way and products like AnyPlay will help set them apart from their DBS and TelcoTV competitors.