DIRECTV, the world’s largest pay TV service, has recently started field trial testing for its highly anticipated DIRECTV® Home Media Center that will ultimately provide customers with a “receiver-less” solution for many TVs in their homes. The launch of field trial testing for DIRECTV’s model HR34 RVU-enabled server, the heart of the DIRECTV Home Media Center, marks a major milestone both for the RVU technology and the new DIRECTV platform, which the company plans to begin rolling out nationwide to customers in October 2011.
Receivers for the new server will include new TVs from Samsung like the D6000 and other settop media boxes like Blu-ray players. The technology uses existing UPnP and DLNA protocols to stream the incoming TV signals from the master server box through your home network. Given that home electronics are increasingly becoming more akin to smartphones, it makes more and more sense for the tuner to become an app instead of a piece of hardware. Previous experiments in this vein include the AT&T addon for the Xbox 360 and, of course, CableCARD. If there’s one thing cable providers would love to do, it is get out of the hardware business, and this looks like a first step in getting there.