You probably are not the only one. However, it depends on the market. I am very happy with their reliablility and image quality in central Indiana. Their billing issues have been another matter.
Tivo user since May 2000
Some neighbors had FiOS and we could not see any difference except Verizon sold their FiOS to Frontier and Frontier is raising their rates by 40%.
Neighbors all switching back to Comcast now.
New Technical Support and Equipment Protection Offering Helps Meet Consumers' Evolving Technology Support Needs; Is Next Step in Company's Ongoing Focus on Enhancing the Customer Experience.
Philadelphia, PA - March 9, 2011
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) today announced the launch of a new 24x7 technical support and equipment protection program for the growing number of home electronics devices - like laptops, home networking equipment, gaming consoles, Wi-Fi enabled smart phones and tablets - people are connecting to Comcast's services. Called Xfinity Signature Support, this service offers customers a single source for troubleshooting and support for their computers, home networks and many other devices and is another step in the company's focus on delivering an end-to-end exceptional customer experience backed by the Comcast Customer Guarantee. The new offering enables customers to select an enhanced level of technical support with monthly subscription plans and one-time support options and is offered in addition to the 24x7 support Comcast already provides for its video, high-speed Internet and phone services.
We want our customers to have a great experience with Comcast, and we've been making significant investments to enhance our products while improving the service and support we deliver, said Mitch Bowling, Senior Vice President and General Manager of New Businesses for Comcast Cable. Given the incredible growth and complexity of personal electronics devices, our customers have told us they would like additional choices for technical assistance beyond the support we already provide for their video, Internet and voice services. As we continue to invest in the overall Comcast experience, Xfinity Signature Support lets us provide an end-to-end technical support solution for customers.
According to a 2010 survey by Parks Associates*, more than 50 percent of Americans with Internet service look to their broadband provider as their first or second choice in solving their home computer-related technical issues. Additionally, 75 percent of those surveyed prefer to receive all of their technical support services from a single vendor.
With Xfinity Signature Support, Comcast customers will have access to knowledgeable and experienced IT specialists who can provide supplementary technical support online, over the phone or in the home. Assistance is available either as part of a monthly subscription plan or on a stand-alone basis for one-time fixes, such as virus removal or connecting printers or game consoles to wireless networks. Xfinity Signature Support also offers extended equipment plans covering computers and flat-panel TVs.
Comcast is initially launching Xfinity Signature Support in the Twin Cities, Atlanta and Chattanooga markets, with plans to make it available in the remainder of the company's markets in 2011. For more information, please visit www.xfinity.com/signaturesupport.
Xfinity Signature Support complements the company's overall efforts to deliver an exceptional customer experience every day, which includes offering the Comcast Customer Guarantee, the company's promise to hold its products, services and people to the highest standard. The Customer Guarantee is backed by significant service enhancements focused on ensuring every customer interaction is handled right the first time and giving customers more choice and control as well as making it easier for them to do business with Comcast.
By Mike Robuck
CedMagazine.com - March 25, 2011
Today, Comcast announced a new update to the Apple iOS Xfinity TV app that delivers more functionality and personalization by helping subscribers sort through the various content choices.
Comcast first released the iPad app, which functions as a TV remote control, as well as streams on-demand content, in November . Since then, it has added an app for Android devices, which was updated last month.
According to a blog this morning by Piers Lingle, chief product officer for Comcast Interactive Media, the free update lets subscribers customize their TV listings by setting up favorite channels by tapping on a "heart" icon, which is the same format as customers using their remote controls for Comcast's digital TV service.
Subscribers can also choose to only display their favorite channels when they're looking for something to watch.
"A neat aspect of this feature is that the favorites you set up on the Xfinity TV app will also be selected as your favorites on our online entertainment website, XfinityTV.com, and it works the other way around, too," Lingle wrote.
The update, which Lingle said was based on users' feedback, also features a new channel keypad and the ability to jump ahead to specific dates in TV listings. Customers with iPhones can also flip through previous channels, which was a feature that used to be only available on iPads.
Lingle also wrote that Comcast was working on more free "Play Now" movies and shows that should be available in the coming weeks. The Play Now content will include current season and catch-up content.
Comcast's Web services platform allows the cable operator to be more nimble on its feet when it comes to developing new apps, as opposed to the long cycle of development that is needed for set-top boxes.
The latest version of Comcast's Xfinity TV app is available for downloading from Apple's iTunes store. Comcast has previously said it will offer live TV on the iPad before the end of the year.
by Robert Archer April 20, 2011 06:55 AM
If someone were to take a poll of the most disliked industries, the broadcast cable market would be fighting tooth-and-nail with the airline industry and lawyers for the top spot.
To some it may be uncharacteristic, but the large cable service provider Comcast is offering subscribers a free upgrade to its newly introduced 3D channel. Quietly back in February the cable company introduced this service to a limited number of markets, and for the moment the company says its 3D programming primarily consists of ESPN 3D content and various other broadcasts events.
What is surprising about the upgrade is that the company isn't publicizing its free 3D service offer. Comcasts does have a web page set up to help answer consumer questions about the service and it advises consumers interested in the service to call the company at 1-800-COMCAST (266-2278) to upgrade into the service or to learn more about the technology and its requirements.
Consumers that do upgrade will be charged with a one-time $1.99 service fee and it will take several minutes for the company's customer service representatives to upgrade your service during the phone call.
Here are the markets and channels that Comcast is offering its 3D serivce:
Eastern U.S. (Washington D.C., Pa., N.J., and Va.): channel 980
Northern U.S. (Mass., Maine, Ill., Mich., Conn., and N.H.): channel 334
Northern U.S. (Ind., except Kokomo ): channel 1603
Southern U.S. (Ga,. Fla., Texas and Ala.): channel 790
Western U.S. (Calif., Wash., Ore., Colo., N.M., and Ariz.): channel 898
MSO Has Deployed 18 Million of Low-Cost Adapters to Date
By Todd Spangler -- Multichannel News, 4/22/2011 2:22:01 PM
Comcast is looking to extend its digital transport adapters -- low-cost devices for converting digital TV for viewing on older analog televisions -- in at least two new directions: The MSO plans to roll out an HD version of the DTAs and is even testing a way to deliver program-guide info to them.
The nation's biggest cable operator has distributed more than 18 million DTAs to customers to date as part of a $1 billion multiyear project to eliminate analog cable channels, a conversion that was about 75% complete at the end of 2010.
The DTA initiative, which has the internal code name "Project Cavalry," lets Comcast eliminate 35 to 50 analog channels in its expanded basic lineups. That reclaims as much as 300 MHz or more of spectrum, which the operator is using to provide more video-on-demand, more HD channels and faster Internet speeds. In fact, Comcast's marketing program for customers about the project is called "World of More."
"All of this means we're delivering better products to our customers, more high-def and foreign language programming, up to 25,000 on-demand choices, better guides, improved DVR functionality, more interactivity, as well as higher speeds for our high-speed Internet customers," Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said on the operator's February earnings call.
Comcast is now looking to use the DTA as a relatively inexpensive way to deliver HD programming to customers who don't want a DVR or other advanced features.
The HD models will be "universal" DTAs, meaning they will work with Motorola and Cisco Systems conditional access systems, Comcast senior director of corporate communications Jenni Moyer said. The HD uDTAs would include radio-frequency remotes (which don't require line-of-sight as infrared remotes do) and would have an HDMI output.
Comcast hasn't disclosed when it plans to begin deploying the HD uDTAs, nor has it identified the supplier, Moyer said. But she noted that the Federal Communications Commission last October revised its CableCard rules to allow operators to deploy one-way HD DTA devices that have integrated security functions.
Among other operators, Cable One has deployed HD DTAs manufactured by Digital Multimedia Technology that use integrated security from Nagravision in Dyersburg, Tenn., Light Reading has reported.
On another track, Comcast is testing out an electronic guide, code-named "Atom," which would provide access to program listing info comparable to what is available through conventional digital set-top boxes, Moyer said. The guide info would be delivered in the same way the DTAs' firmware is updated. Currently, the SD adapters -- sourced from Cisco Systems, Motorola, Pace and Technicolor -- provide only channel name and number.
Comcast won't disclose exactly what it pays for the DTAs, but the SD versions are under $50 apiece, less than half the cost of conventional digital set-tops. They're also smaller, measuring roughly 3 by 5 inches or less.
Meanwhile, while Comcast has suggested its iPad app could be used to change channels on a DTA by "force tuning" them, currently that functionality is not supported because the DTAs don't have an out-of-band tuner, Moyer said.
In comments filed with the FCC last year on the CableCard issue, Comcast said making the Xfinity TV app able to change channels on the DTAs would "require significant new standardization and development work. But even assuming that the Xfinity remote control application could be developed for the DTA, that would not make the DTA an interactive device."
Comcast to add 450 jobs at Minnetonka service center
Article by: DEE DePASS,
Updated: April 28, 2011 - 1:15 AM
Twin Cities-based call center aims to improve customer service by linking customers with expert advice.
Telecom giant Comcast Corp. will open a call center in Minnetonka this summer with 450 new hires bent on improving customer service, company officials said late Wednesday.
Hiring will begin immediately, raising Comcast's Minnesota employment from 1,900 to 2,350. The new workers will handle calls from Western cities such as the Twin Cities, Houston, Denver, Sacramento, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Portland and Seattle.
The new call center, with one of the largest job gains the metro area has seen from one employer in years, may help soften the blows dealt to Minnesota this week. Medtronic Inc. said Wednesday that it will cut 268 local jobs. Lawson Software Inc. announced Monday it would sell itself in a $2 billion deal that casts doubt on the future employment of its 700 St. Paul workers.
State officials cheered Comcast's decision. Steve Hine, director of Minnesota's Labor Market Information Office, said it "is good news that [a call center] is being located domestically." In the past, many employers elected to move call centers off shore. So this "bodes well for Minnesota," he said.
Comcast's expansion is designed to speed customer service in the wake of beefed up competition from Qwest, USI Wireless of Minnetonka, Clearwire Corp. and other high-speed internet or telecom providers anxious for market share. Superior customer service can boost customer loyalty, industry analysts noted.
Comcast's new call center will be at 9705 Data Park Drive in Minnetonka. The three-story building currently houses 100 Comcast workers, some of whom will move to St. Paul, spokeswoman Mary Beth Schubert said.
Renovations will be made to outfit the building with state-of-the-art equipment that can quickly route customers to agents trained to troubleshoot specific problems. The move marks a change from prior customer service efforts that used "generalists" to handle problems, Schubert said.
The new call center's emphasis on service follows last month's launch of two new services for Comcast customers in the Twin Cities, Atlanta and Chattanooga. The first is a monthly service plan that helps consumers connect and use multiple computers, cameras, smartphones and other electronic gadgets. The other is an extended equipment protection plan for computers and flat-panel TVs.
Comcast declined to disclose wages, but said the 450 jobs offer a base salary and commission and "incrementally increase employee salary and benefits" for its Twin Cities unit by $30 million a year.
Schubert said that Minnesota was selected for the center over other states because it has a relatively low unemployment rate that speaks to worker loyalty, a well-educated population and a wealth of workers who are skilled in technology.
TiVo to add Comcast video-on-demand support
by Joshua Goldman
May 9, 2011 9:57 AM PDT
One of the major hang-ups for people switching from a cable provider's DVR to TiVo is that the retail TiVo doesn't offer the cable provider's video-on-demand (VOD) channels. So, while you can get plenty of options from TiVo's built-in video service providers--Netflix, Blockbuster, Amazon, and (soon) Hulu Plus--you can't order, say, a prize fight or even the bevy of "free" VOD options available on most cable systems, thanks to the technical restrictions of TiVo's CableCard technology.
Well it looks like that sticking point may soon be unstuck as Comcast and TiVo have partnered up to offer access to cable TV, broadband content, and Comcast's Xfinity On Demand library through TiVo Premiere boxes. Here's how it works: get a TiVo Premiere at retail and Comcast will install it with its cable service at no additional charge for its customers. These customers will then have access to Comcast's Xfinity VOD content as well as their regular programming and Internet services that are available on retail TiVo Premiere units. (This is similar to the deal TiVo announced with Cox last year.)
No tuning adapter or any other special equipment is required; all you'll have is a CableCard installed in the Premiere. Again, these are just regular Premiere boxes, so if you already have one, you should be good to go, too. Of course, you will have to have Comcast as your provider and be in one of the large, select markets with the service. The first is the San Francisco Bay Area with a plan for additional markets to follow.
No dates were announced for the roll out.
So, tell us Comcast customers: does this deal make you want to get a TiVo (which requires an up-front cost and additional monthly service charge)? Or are you sticking with your stock DVR?
by Michael Grotticelli May 10th, 2011
Earlier this year, CableLabs, the nonprofit R&D consortium for cable TV operators, published a new specification for formatting, or panelizing, 3-D content into a frame-compatible format for use by cable TV systems in the United States. The spec, which is now being used across the industry, is designed to serve as a guide for producers, programmers and aggregators of stereoscopic 3-D programming so their programs are delivered properly and the end result is a pleasing viewing experience for the consumer. This specification, called Content Encoding Profiles 3.0 Specification (OC-SP-CEP3.0-I01-100827), can be found on the CableLabs website under OpenCable specifications.
This spec release marks a great step in the commercialization of 3-D TV because it is the first public specification that fully describes the coding and signaling for these top-and-bottom and side-by-side 3-D video formats, said Tony Werner, CTO of Comcast.
Ensuring that content from all programming sources and cable systems is prepared in a uniform way will ensure interoperability with set-top boxes and 3-D TVs in the home.
A key part of this specification includes the definitions for signaling 3-D content over existing digital video infrastructure that uses either MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 coding, said Jim Occhiuto, vice president of technology and engineering at Showtime Networks. This signaling is critical for the receiver/decoder to enable automatic format detection and simplified user experiences when going between 2-D and 3-D programs.
The CableLabs 3-D content specification was developed with support from cable operators, programmers and equipment vendors and is freely available. It replaces the previous VOD-Content Encoding Profile 2.0 specification that has been widely adopted within the industry.
The specification represents the first step in a continuing process to define 3-D formats for cable TV that works with existing equipment and infrastructure. Work continues at CableLabs on the development of standards for the delivery of future 3-D delivery systems that will expand the resolution and the quality as new equipment becomes available.
May 19, 2011 | Jeff Baumgartner
Comcast Interactive Capital , Motorola Mobility Ventures and Spark Capital Partners LLC are seeding a startup that's developing a next-gen edge device that could play an important role in cable's migration to an all-IP access network infrastructure, Light Reading Cable has learned.
Industry sources say that the startup, Billerica, Mass.-based Benu Networks LLC , is developing a product for the Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)-led Converged Multiservice Access Platform (CMAP) initiative, which is directing vendors to make next-gen, super-dense edge convergence platforms that combine edge QAM and cable modem termination system (CMTS) functions under one roof. Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) has launched a similar project called the Converged Edge Services Access Router (CESAR).
Full article at:
May 19, 2011 | Carol Wilson
NEW YORK -- Packet-Optical Transport Evolution -- The optical networking industry needs to make a decisive choice now between 400-gigabit and 1-terabit options for the next generation of gear, says a top Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) executive, who is opting for 1Tbit/s.
Shamim Akhtar, senior director of network architecture and technology at Comcast, made his first appearance at Light Reading's Packet-Optical Transport Expo Tuesday, and used his keynote platform to urge the industry not to replicate the lengthy 40G-versus-100G squabbles of the past, which can slow the pace at which new technology gets to market at prices that carriers and vendors can accept.
"Let's not repeat the 100G versus 40G debate -- let's stick with one, and my answer is 1-Terabit," said Akhtar, who throughout his speech stressed the similarities between Comcast's optical needs and challenges and those of its telco competitors.
Comcast is actively engaged with AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Facebook and others in a "100 G and Beyond" user group, Akhtar said. The group's initial goal is to get some unity on a 100Gbit/s client-side interface, and after that, they might tackle the 400G/1-Tbit question.
Comcast announced earlier this year that it has begun deploying 100G technology.
"We didn't do Sonet, so OTN is not relevant to use," Akhtar said. "But we have a lot of similar problems to be solved. Instead of fix it twice, we can fix it once."
Comcast deployed a 40G national backbone in 2005 and according to Akhtar put the industry's first 100G production traffic on its backbone in March of 2008. Like AT&T and Verizon, Comcast is now looking for connectionless, directionless and contentionless ROADMs, as well "dense, less power-hungry equipment," Akhtar says. (See Verizon Readies 100G Launch in US.)
The Comcast exec did draw some key distinctions between his operations and those of large telcos, namely a smaller networking organization. But most of the requirements he laid out would sound very familiar to anyone in optical networking. They included better quality of experience for content delivery, an order of magnitude reduction in cost for delivering the coming exaflood of traffic, network restoration at the service level (and not the pipe level) and tighter integration at the logical level of packet and optical devices.
Akhtar also made a plea to eliminate the "alphabet soup" of standards development, saying that while standards groups evolved for a reason, the industry might be better served if there was one standards organization focused on carrier needs rather than the multiple groups -- the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) , International Telecommunication Union, Standardization Sector (ITU-T) , Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) -- that operate today.
By Richard Lawler posted May 20th 2011 4:31PM
It's been about six months since we heard Comcast was running tests of a brand new set-top box platform but now thanks to one of our tipsters we're able to see it in action and find out what's on the way. From the remote to the box to the menus it's all new, and appears to be a major step forward for the company and already includes familiar apps like Facebook and Pandora. The look of the new guide mirrors what we'd seen in the manual received by the FCC in December and demonstrated on Samsung HDTVs at CES earlier this year, intended for 16x9 displays and moving the main navigation elements to the top. The redesigned remote has a few new buttons and while it hasn't gone the QWERTY route, the software and hardware are designed around T9-style access for searching and messaging, with a button and microphone icon suggesting voice control is a possibility as well. The DVR itself is the Pace box we'd seen previously, although there was differing information on the number of tuners and hard drive space available, suggesting these details may still be up in the air.
Comcast Xfinity Spectrum DVR hands-on
"Major step for Comcast/Xfinity. The old guide was obviously very dated, and Spectrum offers an updated, modern and user friendly guide. There is a full TV guide that lets you search for programs/times/actors/genres/you name it, and there is a mini guide that keeps half the screen as the current program you are watching. Channel logos are more prevalent throughout the guide with detailed information about each show as it's highlighted. Every option is available from here as far as recording options, upcoming shows of the same title, similar/suggested shows, etc. A cool feature is a last 9 channels watched list that allows switching between multiple channels a breeze. Imagine 9 different football games on and being able to go to each game very quickly, as the boxes are labeled with what program is on that channel. A much more connected feel with plenty of visuals, data, and options as compared to the old guide."
"I haven't delved into the DVR much, but I did test it out. The installer said it is a 4 tuner DVR allowing me to record 3 programs while I watched a 4th. However, the user guide said I could only record 2 and watch a 3rd. Didn't test this out, but either is enough for me. It appeared to be the standard DVR functions that you would expect. I asked the installer the size of the hard drive, and he said 1 terabyte with around 160 hours of HD recording. Again, the book said 500 GB, so not sure what is correct here."
"The apps section is pretty cool. As of now, weather, traffic, Facebook, Randora, and Twitter are the apps available. Traffic and weather data sync automatically, but you have to go to spectrum.comcast.net to sync Pandora, Facebook, and Twitter."
"The weather app is great. It offers real time forecasts, 5 day forecasts, and a nice radar map showing any rain on the way. You can choose multiple locations to view weather all over the country. The traffic app is also handy. Not so much for me living in North Augusta, but I changed the location to Atlanta and saw multiple traffic warnings and accident indicators. This is all done over a road map overlay with a key showing what the traffic incidents are. Accidents, congestion, road work, delays are all indicated on the map. You can also set up a destination route if you were going out of town. Set starting and finishing points, and the app tells you of any road warnings for that route. Pretty cool stuff."
"The Facebook and Twitter apps are what you would expect. Your feeds are displayed on the screen, so you can check your profile and any updates your friends have made. It's very similar to a mobile app and doesn't offer too many editing options. I don't see myself using these much, as my mobile apps (iPhone) for these clients are much faster and easier to get to. The Pandora app is something I see people using a lot. Very similar to the computer and mobile apps with the same thumbs up/down ratings we are used to. The user created channels automatically show up on the right, as well as a mix option that randomly selects channels. I was told by the developer there is no cap on usage for this pandora app. Album art and song data are displayed on the screen as well."
"The remote has some very intriguing pieces to it. It's a new Xfinity labeled remote that uses an IR blaster. According to the developer, the remote can be updated wirelessly when new updates are available. The standard circle of buttons with the OK button in the middle dominate the remote, with an Xfinity button above to take you to the guide, dvr, on demand, settings, and apps. What's also neat, and very useful, is the numbered buttons double as T9 text input. For instance, if you want to watch Tosh.0, type 867 and immediatly Tosh.0 appears, along with a list of any other programs, actors, channels, genres, teams, etc that match that T9 combination. I used this multiple times to search for programming for my DVR. You don't have to go to a special location for this. Just type it in as you were dialing in a new channel. Can't remember where HBO is? Type 426 and channel 426 will show up first on the list, but HBO will be second. Very handy tool and kudos to Comcast for thinking of this."
"Now, look at the picture of the remote closely. There is a curious microphone icon at the top of the remote. On the side of the remote, there is a button that is not labeled, nor mentioned in the user guide. I called the special Spectrum phone number, and the specialist had no idea what they were for. On the back of the remote, there is a small speaker above the battery compartment. The only thing I could think of was some sort of voice guided control for the guide using the side button, similar to a walkie talkie. Either that or they are listening in on me (scary thought).
The developer warned me about some kinks that are being worked out, and I have already experienced some. The apps section worked perfect through the first part of yesterday, but stopped working last night (which is why there are no pics of the apps). Tried to reset the box, but it didn't help. Also, I paired the controller with my pioneer receiver, but it only works for 5 minutes or so, then quits working. Apparently, this is a known issue and they are working on it."
Full article with pictures:
Comcast Press Release
Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts to Unveil Next Generation Television Experience and New Generation Television Experience and New Broadband Speeds
Comcast Taps Industry Leaders Facebook, Intel Corporation, Pace plc and thePlatform
New Xfinity TV Experience Delivers Advanced Search, Personalization and Interactivity
PHILADELPHIA, PA and CHICAGO, IL - June 14, 2011
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) today announced that it is working with leading technology and content providers to deliver the company's next-generation Xfinity® TV experience. This new experience transforms the way consumers watch television with a new guide and user interface that makes the TV screen more interactive, personal and social. Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts will demonstrate this new service and new speeds at the 2011 NCTA show in Chicago on Thursday, June 16 during the General Session that begins at 9 am CT.
Now available in a market trial in Augusta, GA, Xfinity TV brings an entirely new user experience to television that makes it easier to search and select from tens of thousands of choices. Through this experience, customers enjoy:
* Fast, intuitive search that lets users find what they want to watch in seconds from thousands of choices on TV, On Demand, on their DVR, or from a selection of additional content.
* A more personalized TV experience called MyTV® where users can see and access all of their recordings, favorites and recommendations in one place that reflects their interests, favorite series, sports teams, movies and music.
* Interactive apps that are easy to access and enhanced for TV, like traffic and weather, and social apps like Facebook® that let users share and discover what to watch with their friends.
We've made great progress on providing better tools - first on the web, then on tablets and mobile devices - to make it easier to find what you want to watch, when you want it from thousands of choices. We're excited to bring those advanced capabilities to the TV set to enable a richer, more personalized experience, said Sam Schwartz, President of Comcast Converged Products. This is a new platform for continuous innovation and new product development. We are just beginning to scratch the surface of what's possible and we look forward to working with industry leaders like these as we continue to evolve what it means to watch TV.
Xfinity TV integrates technology, content and applications from industry leaders including:
* Integrating with Facebook to bring social apps to TV, making it easy for people to share their TV experience with friends, wherever they may be.
* Intel Corporation provided the Intel® Architecture-based CE SoC for the new set-top boxes, delivering the CPU and graphics performance required for the service's advanced user interface, fast responsive performance and new interactive applications.
* Pace plc, a leader in digital TV technology, developed the powerful hybrid set-top box with tru2way and IP capability that enables the new television experience.
* thePlatform®, a leading video publishing company wholly owned by Comcast, is bringing its cloud-based video publishing system, mpx, as the content management infrastructure for the service.
This is the first of a series of products made possible by Xcalibur, an advanced application and video platform that uses cloud computing services in the Comcast network to bring new, more innovative television services to consumers, faster.
Mr. Roberts' demonstration will be live streamed on June 16 beginning at 9 am CT/10 am ET at
Video replays will be available on both sites following the June 16th presentation. Demos of this next generation Xfinity TV experience will also be available in the Comcast Cable booth (Booth #1201) at The Cable Show 2011 at McCormick Place in Chicago on June 16th.
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) (www.comcast.com) is one of the nation's leading providers of entertainment, information and communications products and services. Comcast is principally involved in the operation of cable systems through Comcast Cable and in the development, production and distribution of entertainment, news, sports and other content for global audiences through NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is one of the nation's largest video, high-speed Internet and phone providers to residential and business customers. Comcast is the majority owner and manager of NBCUniversal, which owns and operates entertainment and news cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, local television station groups, television production operations, a major motion picture company and theme parks.
Facebook® is a registered trademark of Facebook Inc.
Details emerge on Comcast's Xcalibur;
Roberts demo to follow
By Mike Robuck
CedMagazine.com - June 14, 2011
Comcast's Xcalibur, or Xfinity TV service, was one of the worst kept secrets of the cable industry ever since the rumors first surfaced a few years ago, but now Comcast is not only providing details on the cloud-based video system, but it also has a demonstration slated for Thursday with Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts.
Xcalibur's goal has been to bring Internet-like features to TV screens, which not only means a better service for customers, but also a much shorter innovation cycle for the cable operator . Through a new guide and user interface, Xcalibur also enables better navigation and search capabilities on live TV and video-on-demand.
"We've made great progress on providing better tools - first on the Web, then on tablets and mobile devices - to make it easier to find what you want to watch, when you want it, from thousands of choices. We're excited to bring those advanced capabilities to the TV set to enable a richer, more personalized experience," said Sam Schwartz, president of Comcast Converged Products. "This is a new platform for continuous innovation and new product development. We are just beginning to scratch the surface of what's possible, and we look forward to working with industry leaders like these as we continue to evolve what it means to watch TV."
Schwartz led the core team that developed Xcalibur, which is currently undergoing a trial in Augusta, Ga.
Comcast-owned thePlatform is providing the behind-the-scenes heavy lifting for Xcalibur with its mpx platform. With mpx, thePlatform is providing central video logistics for Comcast's Xcalibur service.
Over the past few years, thePlatform has built its reputation on delivering broadband video to cable operators and other service providers, but the company's CEO, Ian Blaine, said one of the main reasons Comcast bought thePlatform was to enable a cloud-based service.
ThePlatform has plenty of experience serving up broadband-based services, but taking its technology to a TV screen was a new challenge.
"It's a lot more complex in the cable environment than the broadband environment," Blaine said in an interview with CED. "There are layers like local and national windows and working with the traditional billing system. For us, the takeaway in the trial is that we can make cloud-based services meld with the legacy infrastructure."
Blaine said serving up millions of media transactions and media titles over broadband via TV Everywhere services provided a solid base for working with Schwartz and the rest of Comcast's Xcalibur team.
ThePlatform upped its game for Xcalibur by increasing the metadata for searches, as well as enlarging its entitlements and device management capabilities. While thePlatform worked hand in hand with Comcast on Xcalibur, the solution is available to other service providers through a strategic alliance with Alcatel-Lucent.
"It's a good one, but we had to keep it under wraps," Blaine said of Xcalibur. "It's nice to be able to announce it today."
In addition to thePlatform, Comcast also teamed up with Intel, which provided the Intel Architecture-based CE SoC for the new set-top boxes, delivering the CPU and graphics performance required for the service's advanced user interface, fast responsive performance and new interactive applications.
Pace developed the hybrid set-top box with tru2way and IP capability that enables the new television experience, while Facebook worked with Comcast on social apps for Xcalibur.
Roberts' demonstration of Xcalibur is slated for 9 a.m. during The Cable Show's general session.
'Comcast Taps Facebook for Enhanced TV Experience'
The Hollywood Reporter
11:37 AM 6/14/2011
by Georg Szalai
"This new experience transforms the way consumers watch television with a new guide and user interface that makes the TV screen more interactive, personal and social," the cable giant said.
NEW YORK - Comcast Corp. is working with Facebook, Intel and other technology firms to create what it calls a next-generation TV experience, which will make the TV screen more interactive by adding Internet features and apps.
"This new experience transforms the way consumers watch television with a new guide and user interface that makes the TV screen more interactive, personal and social," the cable giant said.
Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts will demonstrate the new service, which is being tested in Augusta, Ga., at the Cable Show in Chicago on Thursday.
The company said the new service includes "fast, intuitive search that lets users find what they want to watch in seconds from thousands of choices on TV, on demand, on their DVR or from a selection of additional content," as well as a personalized TV experience called MyTV that allows users to access all of their recordings, favorite shows, films and sports teams and recommendations in one place.
Interactive traffic and weather apps and an integration with Facebook that brings social apps to the TV set are part of the mix to "let users share and discover what to watch with their friends," Comcast said. For example, users are able to "like" a show via the TV screen, which will then also appear on their Facebook wall.
We've made great progress on providing better tools - first on the Web, then on tablets and mobile devices - to make it easier to find what you want to watch, when you want it from thousands of choices," said Sam Schwartz, president of Comcast Converged Products. "We're excited to bring those advanced capabilities to the TV set to enable a richer, more personalized experience."
The Comcast announcement comes a day after the company unveiled a strategic partnership with Skype that will enable Comcast customers to communicate with family and friends through HD video calling on their TV set.
Comcast plugs in to Facebook, Intel to make TV more interactive
June 14, 2011 | Tom Cheredar
The television is getting more interactive, at least for Comcast subscribers.
The cable company on Tuesday announced partnerships with Facebook, Intel and others to bring social media integration and application support to its content service, Xfinity TV.
This new experience transforms the way consumers watch television with a new guide and user interface that makes the TV screen more interactive, personal and social, Comcast stated in an official release.
Comcast's current user interface is in dire need of an upgrade and pales in comparison to competitors, such as AT&T's Uverse cable service.
Also in need of an update is the current crop of underpowered set-top boxes the company provides to its subscribers to access content, which are mostly manufactured by Motorola. Per the partnership announcement, Comcast will use an Intel-based set-top box, manufactured by Pace, to power both the new apps and the added integration with Facebook's network.
The company did not mention anything about remote controls, which are known for having a plethora of useless and unnecessary buttons.
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts will give a live demo of the new service at the cable industry trade event The Cable Show Thursday, which will be available via live stream at 10 a.m. EST (7 a.m. PST) on Comcast's website.
It is unknown at this time if the new service, which is already being tested in Augusta, Georgia, will integrate with Comcast's recently announced plans to add Skype integration to its HDTV service, which the company announced Monday.
MSO Offers 800 SD and 520 HD Titles in Xfinity Markets
By Todd Spangler -- Multichannel News, 6/15/2011 12:39:57 PM
Comcast is significantly boosting video-on-demand content from Starz Entertainment for its Starz, Encore and MoviePlex premium subscribers, now offering 800 total standard-definition titles and 520 HD titles overall.
The expanded VOD lineup brings Starz's TV on-demand offering in parity with what is available to Comcast subs through XfinityTV.com and the Xfinity App on the iPad, iPhone and iTouch. Comcast began rolling out the additional on-demand movies and originals in select Xfinity markets the last week of May and is continuing to be rolled out on a market-by-market basis.
In total, the Starz standard-definition on-demand offerings available on Xfinity TV will increase from approximately 325 to 800, while the HD VOD content rises from 80 to 520.
Previously, Comcast offered 325 SD titles (100 from Starz, 150 from Encore and 75 from MoviePlex) and 80 HD (50 from Starz, 16 from Encore and 12 from MoviePlex). Now, Starz subscribers in Xfinity TV markets will have access to 800 SD titles (300 from Starz, 300 from Encore and 200 from MoviePlex) and 520 HD (270 from Starz, 180 from Encore and 70 from MoviePlex).
As part of the expanded VOD lineup, SAP will be enabled for Spanish-language households who are Starz customers.
The additional content is almost entirely movies from all of Starz's suppliers, including Sony Pictures Entertainment and Disney
Some of the representative titles in the newly expanded VOD lineup in Comcast Xfinity markets include: on Starz, My Best Friend's Wedding, Groundhog Day, Mortal Kombat and Legends of the Fall; on Encore, Solitary Man, The Education of Charlie Banks and Night of the Living Dead; and on MoviePlex, Rabbit-Proof Fence, The Quest, In The Mouth of Madness and National Lampoon Presents Dorm Daze.
Cable Show 2011: Comcast Pumps Up VOD Offerings for Starz Subscribers
Comcast revealed at Cable Show 2011 in Chicago that it is expanding its VOD offerings from Starz for subscribers to Starz, Encore and MoviePlex premium packages, raising the count to about 800 standard-def titles and 520 HD titles, Multichannel News reported.
The expanded VOD lineup brings Starz's TV on-demand offering in parity with what is available to Comcast subs through XfinityTV.com and the Xfinity App on the iPad, iPhone and iTouch, the story reports. Comcast began rolling out the additional on-demand movies and originals in select Xfinity markets the last week of May and is continuing to be rolled out on a market-by-market basis.
Also at the conference this week, analysts painted a rosy picture for the future of cable, with its market position to be driven by innovative products such as online content authentication--along with pricing models that take into consideration the economic difficulties faced by customers.
Multichannel News reported in a separate story: Most of the analysts on Tuesday's Cable Show panel discussion Profits, Platforms and Projections: Investment Analysts on the State of the Cable Economy' agreed that cable has weathered a slew of competitive storms--first from satellite, then from telcos--and so far has been able to hold off threats from the top services. But cable must continue to innovate to keep a step ahead of that competition, Collins Stewart media analyst Tom Eagan said.
Skype Video-Calling Will Require Comcast Customers to Think Different About TV
By Erika Morphy
06/15/11 11:30 AM PT
Comcast has a lot of customers, but are they interested in dedicating any of their TV time to video conference calls? The cable giant is partnering with Skype to find out. "TV viewers reportedly bought Snuggie -- a blanket with sleeves -- to the tune of 25 million units, more than 23 million Comcast subscribers," noted tech analyst Azita Arvani. It is doubtful people encased in their Snuggies are inclined to video conference.
A new partnership between Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSK) and Skype will let Comcast subscribers place video calls through their television sets.
The new service will require some setup -- customers will need to install Comcast-provided equipment including an adapter box, video camera, and special remote with a QWERTY keyboard that connects to the service. Using this remote, customers will be able to access Skype's instant messaging feature as well.
As a bonus, the new service will integrate with Comcast's Xfinity mobile app, allowing users to switch from Skype functionality to Xfinity.
Trials for the service are planned for the coming months, and further details about how it will work will be revealed by year end.
Comcast and Skype did not respond to the E-Commerce Times' requests to comment for this story.
The Next Step
Consumer video calling certainly has strong potential, as illustrated by Skype's popularity. However, how to meld it with cable television services and the big screen is still unclear. Some vendors have already taken a stab at it -- e.g., Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO), with its Umi product -- but so far their efforts have fallen flat.
Presumably Comcast and Skype will address some of the weaknesses in the Cisco offering by setting a lower price point and generating greater awareness of the offering.
"Skype has always had a consumer focus, resulting in both brand recognition and a sizeable user base, and Comcast's consumer audience is a perfect fit," M5 Networks Senior Vice President of Product Marketing Jeff Valentine told the E-Commerce Times. "If Comcast were to offer hardware and installation assistance, this could make the offering very attractive for consumers."
Challenges in Store
Even the combined might of Comcast and Skype might not overcome the challenges in this particular business case, Azita Arvani of the Arvani Group told the E-Commerce Times.
For starters, it is questionable whether people lounging around watching TV would be that interested in video calling, she said, at least in the numbers necessary to call the service a success.
"There may be some folks that would find this service useful -- especially for holidays and special occasions," Arvani speculated.
The question is whether enough people view their television as an interactive device, as opposed to the lounge magnet that it is now.
"TV viewers reportedly bought Snuggie -- a blanket with sleeves -- to the tune of 25 million units, more than 23 million Comcast subscribers," noted Arvani.
It is doubtful people encased in their Snuggies are inclined to video conference, she said.
Also, there are other ways of conducting video calls that are easier than the setup Comcast and Skype have in mind, Arvani pointed out, with numerous applications available for smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops.
Even if the companies keep the cost of their offering low, it will still have to cover the required hardware and services, she said, which means it will be out of reach for many consumers.
"Overall, it is an interesting experiment," concluded Arvani, "but I won't hold my breath for a runaway hit."
The TV God
In response to the critics and skeptics, M5's Valentine pointed to television's universality as a possible tipping factor.
"Skype on a TV is valuable for the same reasons universal remote controls are valuable: less clicks matter," he said.
Also, people might be more inclined to use a service via a medium with which they're more comfortable. Despite the plethora of smartphones and other connected devices, TV is still a mainstay entertainment source, noted Valentine, citing Nielsen's report that overall TV viewership is up 22 percent over last year.
June 16, 2011 | Jeff Baumgartner
CHICAGO -- The Cable Show -- The Cable Show was indeed the coming-out party for Xcalibur, the code-name for Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s next-gen video platform that combines TV and Web content.
As expected, Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts did the big reveal here this morning, demonstrating a new cloud-based guide and content navigation platform that is powering a Pace plc -made "Spectrum" DVR it's been testing in Augusta, Ga. (See Comcast IDs Xfinity TV Partners , Xcalibur's Coming-Out Party? , and Comcast Confirms Xcalibur Partners.)
The next-gen service, which Comcast calls Xfinity TV, combines the MSO's traditional QAM-based video service with content, apps and widgets brought in from the Web, including Facebook and Pandora Media Inc. . The guide itself leverages Comcast's managed broadband network, sourcing apps and data from its Denver-area facility. It's expected to give Comcast a new level of uniformity to its TV service and let it deploy more personalized and capable navigation systems that are common on tablets, smartphones and new connected TVs. Comcast will also wield it to help it fend off traditional telco and satellite TV foes and new over-the-top threats.
It also lets Comcast break away from the old set-top world, which has been hindered by excruciating, time-consuming regression testing and limited set-top processing resources. The new network-focused model means the interface and the apps that run on it "can be innovated and changed on the fly and in the cloud and changes all over the country instantaneously," Roberts said.
Full article at:
|TiVo updates iPad app, bows new boxes for ops
By CED staff
CedMagazine.com - June 15, 2011
TiVo has enhanced its TiVo App for iPad and has rolled out two new boxes for cable operators.
The TiVo App for iPad, launched earlier this year, enables users to search, browse, explore and share their favorite video content without interrupting what's on the TV. Once found, the user "flicks" the selected content from the iPad to their TV screen.
The new version of TiVo's companion iPad application automatically adds the cable operator's VOD library into the search and browse features within the app, allowing viewers to quickly find a TV program or movie and enjoy it on TV . The app also automatically detects and integrates the operator's branding, linear programming and VOD catalog when connected to a TiVo box provided by the operator.
"Operators are constantly looking for new ways to connect with their subscribers," said David Sandford, vice president and general manager of TiVo's service provider business. "The enhancements we have made to our iPad App help cable operators bring TiVo's innovative user interface directly into the hands of their subscribers, thereby offering consumers the ultimate remote control and viewing on-demand experience. We have only just begun to refine our offering to the operator community and look forward to bringing additional elements to the TiVo iPad App."
On the set-top box front, TiVo announced its TiVo Premiere Q, the company's first-ever quad-tuner gateway STB, and its TiVo Preview, the company's first non-DVR HD set-top.
TiVo Premiere Q serves as an advanced video gateway, while TiVo Preview provides the full TiVo user experience for non-DVR households and functions as a thin-client complement to those using a TiVo DVR. Both STBs support the full integration of operator services such as VOD, PPV, Caller ID on TV and linear programming, plus access to broadband applications and services.
TiVo Premiere Q supports four simultaneous recordings and the ability to view streaming broadband content, while at the same time supporting up to three HD streams over a MoCA or Ethernet home network. It is also the only STB of its kind that integrates a bridge between the MoCA and Ethernet networks to simplify and reduce the cost of installation, allowing the Premiere Q to easily connect to existing home networks.
TiVo Preview provides the same HD user experience as the TiVo Premiere and Premiere Q, and it fully integrates an operator's linear and VOD content with broadband content and application choices. Similar to Premiere Q, Preview includes integrated MoCA and Ethernet for home networking and multi-room applications.
RCN and Suddenlink will be the first cable operators to deploy the new boxes.
"As the first cable operator to deploy TiVo Premiere last year, rolling out a whole-home solution from TiVo is the logical next step for our company," said Jim Holanda, CEO of RCN."
TiVo Unveils Full Family of Set Top Boxes for Comprehensive Whole Home Solution
Introduces Company's First Quad-Tuner DVR Gateway and First Non-DVR HD Set-Top Box; RCN and Suddenlink First Cable Operators Planning to Offer New Products
CHICAGO, IL, Jun 13, 2011 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ: TIVO), a creator and leader in advanced television services and digital video recorders (DVRs), today announced the next generation of its whole home solution with the addition of robust HD video streaming and two new set-tops to its service provider product family. TiVo Premiere Q, the company's first-ever quad-tuner gateway set-top box, and TiVo Preview, its first non-DVR HD set-top box, will join TiVo's existing advanced television solutions offered to cable operators.
Consistent with TiVo's mission to bring the TiVo experience to every screen in the house, these new products enable TiVo's operator partners to provide a superior advanced television experience to non-DVR households, single DVR households, as well as multi-room DVR households. With its four tuners and support for broad range of video on demand content over IP, the TiVo Premiere Q serves as an advanced video gateway, while TiVo Preview provides the full TiVo user experience for non-DVR households and also functions as a thin client complement to those using a TiVo DVR, creating a fantastic multi-room viewing experience. Both set-top boxes support the full integration of operator services such as Video on Demand, PPV, CallerID on the TV and linear programming, plus access to broadband applications and services.
"TiVo's solution for cable has stood apart in delivering the only offering that fully integrates the operator's linear and VOD content with broadband content and application choices," said David Sandford, TiVo's Vice President and General Manager of TiVo's service provider business. "With the introduction of the TiVo Premiere Q and TiVo Preview, TiVo is extending its advanced user experience and leading multi-room capabilities to provide cable operators a cost effective and highly differentiated solution for every type of household and every television in the house."
Beyond its quad tuners and industry leading DVR features, TiVo Premiere Q brings a number of benefits to operators deploying whole home solutions. TiVo Premiere Q is unique in that it supports 4 simultaneous recordings and the ability to view streaming broadband content, while at the same time supporting up to 3 HD streams over a MoCA or Ethernet home network. It is also the only STB of its kind that integrates a bridge between the MoCA and Ethernet networks to simplify and reduce the cost of installation, allowing the Premiere Q to easily connect to existing home networks.
TiVo Preview completes the whole home solution for operators that can now deploy the TiVo user experience in every room of the home. It provides the same HD user experience as the TiVo Premiere and Premiere Q and fully integrates an operator's linear and VOD content with broadband content and application choices, and immediate streaming access to DVR content from a TiVo Premiere or Premiere Q. Similar to Premiere Q, Preview includes integrated MoCA and Ethernet for home networking and multi-room applications.
"As the first cable operator to deploy TiVo Premiere last year, rolling out a whole home solution from TiVo is the logical next step for our company," said Jim Holanda, CEO of RCN. "We look forward to offering our customers the TiVo user experience, with access to their recordings, RCN VOD and broadband content options on every television screen in the home."
These products will initially be available through select cable operators. RCN will be the first domestic cable operator to offer subscribers the Premiere Q and Preview, in addition to its current TiVo Premiere offering. Suddenlink expects to extend its current TiVo offering through these and other TiVo products. Operators who embrace any of TiVo's three products will now be able to realize expanded whole-home capabilities and the same user experience on every TV. TiVo plans to make both new products available to its cable operator partners later this year.
TiVo unveiled both products during the 2011 NCTA Cable Show in Chicago. For more information visit the TiVo booth #ES-1 located in the main exhibit hall.
About TiVo Inc. Founded in 1997, TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ: TIVO) developed the first commercially available digital video recorder (DVR). TiVo offers the TiVo service and TiVo DVRs directly to consumers online at www.tivo.com and through third-party retailers. TiVo also distributes its technology and services through solutions tailored for cable, satellite and broadcasting companies. Since its founding, TiVo has evolved into the ultimate single solution media center by combining its patented DVR technologies and universal cable box capabilities with the ability to aggregate, search, and deliver millions of pieces of broadband, cable, and broadcast content directly to the television. An economical, one-stop-shop for in-home entertainment, TiVo's intuitive functionality and ease of use puts viewers in control by enabling them to effortlessly navigate the best digital entertainment content available through one box, with one remote, and one user interface, delivering the most dynamic user experience on the market today. TiVo also continues to weave itself into the fabric of the media industry by providing interactive advertising solutions and audience research and measurement ratings services to the television industry www.tivo.com
TiVo and the TiVo Logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of TiVo Inc. or its subsidiaries worldwide. Copyright 2011 TiVo Inc. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements relate to, among other things, the future availability of TiVo Premiere Q and TiVo Preview set-top boxes, including expected functionality, features and capabilities. Forward-looking statements generally can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as, "believe," "expect," "may," "will," "intend," "estimate," "continue," or similar expressions or the negative of those terms or expressions. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to vary materially from those expressed in or indicated by the forward-looking statements. Factors that may cause actual results to differ materially include delays in development, competitive service offerings and lack of market acceptance, as well as the other potential factors described under "Risk Factors" in the Company's public reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended January 31, 2011, subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, and Current Reports on Form 8-K. The Company cautions you not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which reflect an analysis only and speak only as of the date hereof. TiVo disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements.
Comcast will definitely support the new TiVo boxes and system.
Whether they supply them directly is another matter.
'Better Living Through Modern, Expensive, Electronic Devices'
TiVo could require the customer to use an Ethernet Network
TiVo Quad-Tuner Premiere Q May Become Available For Retail Purchase
Author : James Johnson
Posted: June 24, 2011
The TiVo Premiere Q DVR, a quad-tuner based product was originally rumored only for cable companies with no plans for a retail release, however new information obtained by Zatz Not Funny via a June 7th FCC filing has us believing that the tuners may find their way to certain retail locations.
According to the filing the company would like to release the Premiere Elite DVR with quad-tuners to retail locations. The filing asks that the FCC waive the “digital cable reception only” requirement and allow for an analog tuner which would increase the cost of each unit by $80 to $100.
We don’t know when the TiVo tuner would be released or at what cost, however if approved it will likely show up at speciality outlets such as Best Buy Magnolia stores.
[via Zatz Not Funny]
TiVo Premiere Q Headed To Retail As Premier Elite
Zatz Not Funny!
Filed by Dave Zatz under TiVo Jun 24 2011
Looks like the FCC’s possibly antiquated analog compatibility requirement has led TiVo to out the retail version of the quad tuning Premiere Q, that was recently announced at The Cable Show. From TiVo’s June 7th FCC filing:
TiVo Inc. (“TiVo”) is prepared to bring to the consumer retail market an exciting new four tuner, all-digital digital video recorder (“DVR”) that promises customers increased recording capability, increased capacity (300 HD hours), reduced power consumption, and a space-saving design. This device – the Premiere Elite – will provide a new option for consumers that currently can obtain an all-digital DVR only from a multichannel video program distributor like their local cable operator. TiVo already is taking orders for a version of the Premiere Elite from cable operators for deployment later this year to customers served by digital cable systems, but TiVo also seeks to offer it directly to consumers served by such systems.
To bring retail consumers the Premiere Elite, however, TiVo requires a waiver of the Commission’s “Digital Cable Ready” certification, marketing, and labeling rules (the “DCR Rules”). Under the current rules, CableLabs cannot certify, and TiVo cannot verify, a unidirectional cable product (“UDCP”) such as the Premiere Elite for retail sale unless it includes ananalog tuner. This requirement made sense when it was proposed and adopted years ago, but today it threatens to stifle innovation in the navigation devices market by preventing companies like TiVo from serving customers that receive all their programming in digital format and have no need for legacy analog tuners. Maintaining an analog tuning requirement for the TiVo Premier Elite would increase production costs and the price to the consumer by $80-100, increase the device’s power consumption by one-third, and increase the device’s size in an electronics market where reduced size often influences consumer decisions."
So there you have it. Timing would be dependent on a number of factors, most importantly a waiver by the FCC. Also, TiVo acknowledges the challenges I foresaw in terms of sales venue and marketing of a DVR that handles only digital cable:
TiVo will market the Premiere Elite primarily to customers that subscribe to cable systems that offer all their services, including basic tier signals, in digital format, i.e., to subscribers to all-digital cable systems and systems that offer a digital simulcast of their analog signals. Second, to avoid any customer confusion, TiVo plans to market the Premiere Elite primarily through its custom install, high-end retail, and TiVo.com channels. Custom installers are highly trained and will verify that customers have all digital service or digital simulcast service before recommending the TiVo Premiere Elite. TiVo also will train its high-end retailers (e.g., Magnolia) to ensure that customers have all-digital cable or digital simulcast service before selling them a Premiere Elite model.
TiVo expects a response from the FCC within 90 days of the filing. Which would give them enough time to get this into retail before the holidays.
Note: There are a lot of comments on the last story and the author Dave Zatz responds to some of the comments.
A new IP-based interface, along with a broad video-on-demand (VoD) library and a fat broadband pipe, could help to reverse Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s deep video subscriber losses and get the company close to breakeven in the category as soon as 2013, a leading industry analyst believes.
Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Inc. Senior Analyst Craig Moffett predicted as much in a report issued Wednesday that partly factors in the advantages of a new cloud-based "Xcalibur" search and navigation system, which the MSO showed off publicly for the first time at last month's Cable Show in Chicago. (See Comcast Demos New Web-Based TV Service, Comcast Confirms Xcalibur Partners and Xcalibur's Coming-Out Party? )
While Comcast has been out in front in terms of the size of its video-on-demand (VoD) vault, Moffett notes that the MSO's VoD usage has disappointed (a CAGR of just 15 percent since 2007), due in large part to the MSO's crummy legacy set-top guides. Xcalibur sets out to change all that.
"Suddenly, all that Comcast VoD content is searchable, browsable, and ... well, findable," he adds.
He's also bullish that new IP-fed video platforms such as Comcast's will help it, and perhaps other MSOs, slow the loss of video subs -- a problem that has afflicted just about every domestic cable operator. The firm estimates that the U.S. cable industry has lost 7 million subs since 2007, and seen its market share shrink from 80 percent to 60 percent.
As for Comcast, Moffett believes a "video renaissance" may be on the horizon, predicting a loss of just 283,000 video subs this year, less than half of the 757,000 it lost last year.
"By 2013, we have Comcast roughly at breakeven in video subscribers (we project a loss of less than 50K subscribers, or just 0.25%)," he added. "That would be quite a turnabout, considering that video is generally perceived as Cable's weakest link."
U.S. cable's broadband advantage could also play a role in stealing back video subs from the satellite TV industry, which is already seeing its annual rate of growth decline -- from 3.21 million annual net additions in 2004 to just 690,000 last year.
Most satellite TV subs use DSL connections to access broadband-fed VoD services from DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) and Dish Network Corp. (Nasdaq: DISH), but Moffett sees cable modem services gaining toeholds in some of those homes as customers become more and more dependent on quality high-speed links.
As cable's broadband share grows in those homes, "Comcast and its peer cable operators can offer increasingly compelling bundles to win back satellite video subscribers," Moffett writes.
Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable
Big Media Goes Easy with 'Six Strikes' Anti-Piracy Measures
By Jared Newman on July 8, 2011
The music, movie and television industries are teaming up with Internet service providers to fight piracy, but in a rather lenient way.
As rumored, several Internet providersAT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizonhave agreed to punish people who repeatedly share copyrighted materials. But they'll only do so after four or five warnings, and even then, the harshest penalty is throttled connection speeds. Ars Technica's Nate Anderson calls it "six strikes," although the entertainment industry uses the term "alerts."
Here's how it'll work:
Under this agreement, ISPs will never terminate an Internet connection entirely, or otherwise interfere with the subscriber's ability to receive phone calls and e-mails. No new laws or regulations are involved, and ISPs won't exchange personal information with copyright holders except by subpoena or court order.
* If a copyright owner complains to an ISPpresumably, based on sniffing out IP addresses through B. Torrentthat service provider sends an online alert such as an e-mail to the subscriber. The alert explains how to secure a wireless network, how to avoid copyright violations in the future and how to lawfully obtain content in the future.
* A second alert may follow if illicit file-sharing persists, or the ISP may move on to the next alert.
* With the third alert, there will be some kind of mechanismlike a pop-up notice or landing pageto ensure that the subscriber received the message.
* Another alert. Same drill as the last one.
* On the fifth alert, the ISP may take action, such as temporarily reducing connection speeds or requiring the user to review and respond to educational information on copyright. The ISP may also skip the mitigation measures and just issue another alert.
* By the sixth alert, all participating ISPs will either throttle the user or require educational measures. The entertainment industry doesn't expect that many people will persist with copyright violations at this point.
For all those reasons, this agreement seems fairly reasonable, but there are a few issues of concern: Subscribers can request an "independent review" of any claim against them, but doing so costs $35, and it's not clear how this review process works. It's also not clear what happens if the subscriber doesn't acknowledge receipt of subsequent alerts. And as several Ars Technica commenters point out, there's no guarantee that the entertainment industry won't try to move the goal posts in the future and get harsher punishments from ISPs.
For now, the six alert system seems fairly reasonable, although I'm sure it's only a matter of time before someone is falsely accused of copyright infringement and throttled accordingly. It's happened before.
The 2xx HD channels were there first and then they added additional HD channels which would not fit in the 2xx channels so the duplicated the 2xx channels in the 8xx channels plus adding additional HD channels to the 8xx. These duplications do not take any additional bandwidth and by leaving the legacy HD channels in he 2xx it does not leave "blank" space in the channel lineup. All of this is temporary because I have read when Comcast drops all the analog channels they will be realigning the channels and moving all the HD channels to the 1000 to 2000 range.
I am sure that they will announce some additions to replace the 9xxs later.
Tivo user since May 2000