Product Spotlight: Pace Puma 1

Oct 14, 2002  •  Post A Comment

What it is: Pace Puma 1, a twin decoder/tuner from Pace that can receive and decode two different channels and programs at the same time.
What it does: The Puma box is a set-top box that allows users to watch different channels at the same time on different TVs with the signals originating from a single Puma box, rather than two separate set-tops. “We have a lot of requests from end users to watch two channels at the same time. You send one output to one set and one to another,” said Jean Grindel, Pace sales and marketing manager for Europe, the Mideast and Africa. “Most people in Europe have two TVs and one set-top box. [What if] my kids want to have a look at [a certain] channel and I want to see this soccer game? This is only possible with two set-top boxes or one Puma.” The initial product marketing has begun in Europe with satellite providers, since the continent is host to a large amount of satellite business. Many Europeans often want dedicated international channels in different languages and the only way to get those channels is via satellite, he said. “Because there is more programming, there is more need for multiple TVs to watch multiple channels,” he said.
How it works: The box contains two chips and each chip decodes a separate channel and sends the output to the TVs. The first generation of the Puma is Puma 1, a decoder to allow viewers to watch separate channels on separate TVs. The second-generation product is the Puma 3, which will contain a hard disk embedded in the box. The inclusion of the hard disk will enable one TV to be tuned to a certain channel, while the second set is tuned to another one and that program is recorded into the hard disk on the Gateway, like a personal video recorder, Mr. Grindel said. The company plans to launch Puma 1 at the end of September and Puma 3 at the end of December. Mr. Grindel said the company hopes to introduce the same product for a digital terrestrial audience, i.e. broadcast, at the end of the year.
Cost: The product will be available on a retail basis for about 550 euros. Pace plans to introduce the device in France, Italy and Spain through traditional retailers. The broadcast version will be introduced in the United Kingdom.