In an effort to give mid-sized and independent cable operators access tot he same advanced video services that larger cable MSOs deploy to their subscribers, EchoStar Technologies has launched three new HD set-top boxes to support the Aria Ďecosystemí of hosted TV services.

EchoStarís HC-620DRS, HC-410D and HX-410 set-top boxes were released at the Cable Show 2011. They all ship with on-board IP-based content management features and are optimised for Aria, an ecosystem of applications that are hosted at EchoStarís data centers, and which can be economically and directly deployed to the new STBs.

The scheme eliminates the need for interoperability testing for new apps and takes the cost out associated with building bespoke applications in-house. The growing list of cloud-based services on offer that includes remote DVR programming, interactivity and support for TV Everywhere multiscreen deployments.

"The attractive on-board functionalities and place-shifting features of EchoStarís new set-tops will make any service bundle more compelling," said Michael Hawkey, vice president of sales and marketing, EchoStar Technologies. "But when paired with EchoStarís new Aria hosted video services, small and mid-sized operators can pick the enhancements they need to create feature-rich bundles on par with those offered by larger telecommunications providers."

All three set-tops feature EchoStarís Graphical User Interface with operator-specific branding, along with universal content search capability and access to hosted VOD libraries. In addition, all three boxes support EchoStarís Universal RF remote control with IR learning, continually updated device code database and 2-way receiver communication.

The SlingLoaded HC-620DRS is an Internet-connected HD DVR set-top box that delivers a true TV Everywhere experience allowing subscribers to access their linear programming and recorded content both inside and outside the home on the connected device of their choice. It also supports over-the-top content streaming, TV apps, and remote DVR controls.

The HC-410D is a single-tuner HD set-top that contains EchoStarís award-winning DVR Conversion technology. The box can be converted to a DVR by connecting an off-the-shelf USB 2.0 external hard drive and receiving a remote authorization code from the operator.

The HX-410 is a full digital IP thin client that supports multimedia services over IP-based networks. When networked with an HC-620DRS in the home, the HX-410 provides Whole Home DVR functionality.

EchoStar says these features are merely a first functionality step. "The really great thing about these products is that all the amazing launch features are just the tip of the iceberg", said Mark Jackson, president of EchoStar Technologies. "Weíll be able to add new features that allow operators to stay one step ahead of the industry and one step ahead of their competition."