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post #691 of 1685 Old 05-21-2012, 07:25 AM
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Comcast Begins National Rollout of Next-Generation, Cloud Enabled TV Platform X1 in Boston, Reveals Project Dayview

Today, we announced the launch of our next-generation, cloud enabled X1 platform and the X1 Remote App in Boston and revealed Project Dayview. Check back for video showing you the great features these products offer.

http://blog.comcast.com/2012/05/comc...ntroduces.html
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post #692 of 1685 Old 05-21-2012, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by jhachey View Post

Comcast Begins National Rollout of Next-Generation, Cloud Enabled TV Platform X1 in Boston, Reveals Project Dayview

Today, we announced the launch of our next-generation, cloud enabled X1 platform and the X1 Remote App in Boston and revealed Project Dayview. Check back for video showing you the great features these products offer.

http://blog.comcast.com/2012/05/comc...ntroduces.html

How do we get this ? We need a new cable box ? I have the rng200n

I read that for triple play customers this will be free, what about the rest of us ?
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post #693 of 1685 Old 05-21-2012, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Another article on Project Dayview:

http://www.fiercecable.com/story/com...ton/2012-05-21
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post #694 of 1685 Old 05-21-2012, 02:59 PM
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NOTE: This article says the X1 is a 6-tuner gateway.

Cable Show 2012: Comcast To Take X1 Guide To Some Existing Set-Tops, Too
_______________________________________________
CTO Werner Says MSO to Deploy Cloud-Based Interface to RNG 150 Boxes


By Todd Spangler -- Multichannel News, 5/21/2012 12:56:19 PM

Boston Comcast will eventually bring the X1 "cloud-based" personalized interactive program guide to nearly 8 million existing set-top boxes -- as well as other platforms, including IP set-tops, chief technology officer Tony Werner said.

On Monday, the MSO said it will launch the Xfinity TV on the X1 Platform service, along with a new remote-control app, starting in Boston and followed by other major markets in the coming weeks.

Initially, the X1 service will be delivered using a six-tuner gateway manufactured by Pace, available to new Xfinity triple-play customers with HD DVR service at no additional cost. X1 has a Web-like user interface that provides unified search across TV listings, DVR recordings and VOD, as well as built-for-TV apps for social networking, music, radio, sports, traffic and weather.

But at some point, Comcast plans to deploy the X1 guide and applications to set-top boxes based on Broadcom's BCM7420 system-on-a-chip. The MSO has 7 million to 8 million such boxes in the field, which conform to its RNG 150 gateway specification, Werner said, adding, "It remains to be seen how fast we move on those."

Comcast is able to relatively quickly bring the X1 experience to other platforms because of the cloud-based architecture, Werner noted. The guide uses an "HTML-like" presentation layer, with tru2way handling underlying services.

"The real magic is the 65 to 70 systems we built on the back end," to handle everything from authentication to personalization, he said.

The X1 service ideally will evolve to the point where the gateway can turn on a subscriber's TV for them in the morning, and display the personalized Dayview dashboard with up-to-date news, upcoming appointments and service updates, Werner said.

The MSO debuted the X1 platform at last year's Cable Show as Project Xcalibur.

In the past year, Comcast has had 400 software updates to the X1 guide, according to president and CEO Neil Smit, who demonstrated the new service here at the Cable Show.

"We're no longer doing a guide once every 18 months," Smit said. For example, he said, with the X1 guide Comcast was able to add in the Rotten Tomatoes movie-ratings in about two weeks.

With the launch of X1, Comcast is introducing a new companion X1 remote control app for iPhone and iPod touch devices, which will let users interact with the guide using gestures -- for example, by "swiping" their device to page through content selections or change the channel. The app includes a virtual keyboard to search video choices on their TVs and provides other features.

Smit said Comcast has a speech-recognition service, currently in beta, that it plans to introduce with X1 either later this year or early next.

http://www.multichannel.com/article/...t_Tops_Too.php
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post #695 of 1685 Old 05-21-2012, 11:42 PM
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There is information about X1 from Engadget in the following thread:

Post Link (Time Warner Cable Navigator):
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...7#post22046947
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post #696 of 1685 Old 05-22-2012, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Comcast, Shazam offer glimpse at future
May 22, 2012 8:47am ET | By Steve Donohue


Steve DonohueBOSTON--While walking through the Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) exhibit here at The Cable Show on Monday, I stopped short when I saw Shazam's icon spinning on a TV that was displaying Comcast's new X1 digital video service.

Comcast made a big splash by launching X1 at The Cable Show, but it hadn't announced that it was working with Shazam, a company known for providing automatic content recognition (ACR) technology that lets mobile phone and tablet users identify songs or TV shows.

"Right now it's a technology proof of concept. We haven't really made any announcements about it, but you can imagine some of the fun things that we can do," Comcast SVP and chief software architect Sree Kotay told me.
Comcast Shazam

Shazam demo at The Cable Show

The Comcast demo showed how a cable subscriber could use Shazam to identify music videos playing on networks like MTV. One of Kotay's colleagues activated Shazam by pressing a button on the X1 remote, and it immediately identified a Rhianna video. He was then able to search Comcast's on-demand library for all content featuring the R&B singer.

Smartphone owners who use the Shazam app to identify songs are able to purchase those songs from Amazon's MP3 store and other sources.

With Comcast and other MSOs embracing tablets and smartphones, it's possible that cable operators that integrate Shazam into their interactive program guides could use it to make a business out of selling songs, TV shows and merchandise to subscribers who use Shazam to identify content.

Kotay said Comcast may also be able to use Shazam to enable social TV applications, meaning subscribers could use Shazam to identify content with their remote controls, and share what they're watching with friends on social networks.

Comcast isn't the first cable MSO to work with Shazam. In February, Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) teamed up with Shazam and t-commerce technology company Delivery Agent to let Super Bowl viewers on NBC buy Super Bowl apparel by pressing a button on their remote controls.

These are still early days for ACR and Shazam, and cable operators are just beginning to experiment. But the technology could help MSOs boost revenue by helping them sell more VOD content and even DVDs and other products related to the content that a subscriber identifies with Shazam.

http://www.fiercecable.com/story/com...ure/2012-05-22
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post #697 of 1685 Old 05-22-2012, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Not directly Comcast related by this shows where the industry is headed:

Set-tops will become extinct, Time Warner Cable CEO Britt says


BOSTON--Cable set-tops will become extinct, and eventually be replaced by smart TVs and other IP-connected devices such as gaming consoles, Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) CEO Glenn Britt told attendees at the opening session here at The Cable Show.

Asked by CNN anchor and panel moderator Erin Burnett if set-tops would "go the way of the dodo bird, Britt said: "Yes--although people from [set-top vendors] Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Motorola [Mobility] (NYSE: MMI) probably don't want to hear that."

Britt said CE devices will allow the cable industry to offer subscribers a better user interface than those that it could offer through digital cable set-tops. Time Warner Cable announced last week that it was beginning to allow subscribers to access some programming from their cable subscriptions through connected TVs from Samsung and Roku's over-the-top video set-top.

The cable industry's "video platform worked well for a long time, but it's somewhat archaic. Few people can write software to it," Britt said.

Full article at:

http://www.fiercecable.com/story/set...ays/2012-05-21
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post #698 of 1685 Old 05-22-2012, 08:43 AM - Thread Starter
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YouTube video on Xfinity TV on the X1 Platform and X1 Remote Control App:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5t5jBa1vTn0&hd=1
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post #699 of 1685 Old 05-22-2012, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulGo View Post

Not directly Comcast related by this shows where the industry is headed:

Set-tops will become extinct, Time Warner Cable CEO Britt says


BOSTON--Cable set-tops will become extinct, and eventually be replaced by smart TVs and other IP-connected devices such as gaming consoles, Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) CEO Glenn Britt told attendees at the opening session here at The Cable Show.

Asked by CNN anchor and panel moderator Erin Burnett if set-tops would "go the way of the dodo bird, Britt said: "Yes--although people from [set-top vendors] Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Motorola [Mobility] (NYSE: MMI) probably don't want to hear that."

Britt said CE devices will allow the cable industry to offer subscribers a better user interface than those that it could offer through digital cable set-tops. Time Warner Cable announced last week that it was beginning to allow subscribers to access some programming from their cable subscriptions through connected TVs from Samsung and Roku's over-the-top video set-top.

The cable industry's "video platform worked well for a long time, but it's somewhat archaic. Few people can write software to it," Britt said.

Full article at:

http://www.fiercecable.com/story/set...ays/2012-05-21

This could happen a LOT faster if cable/sat/telco was willing to accept open access standards, which they don't do today. FCC's AllVid proposal has gone nowhere over 2 years after it was released. Kind of funny for the TWC CEO to say it will happen but not propose an easy way for it to do so.

The CE manufacturers want to use standards like DLNA and RVU, not proprietary IPTV or something else which is what we have today. I guess they can buy off Xbox or some other platform or write apps for them if they want, but that's a dumb way to do it.
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post #700 of 1685 Old 05-30-2012, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Where Will Comcast's X1 Land Next?
May 30, 2012 | Jeff Baumgartner

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is preparing to launch the X1 platform, its next-generation video service, in a handful of additional markets following its initial launch in Boston, Light Reading Cable has learned.

Precise launch dates appear to be in flux, but industry sources say Comcast intends to introduce X1 in at least four markets later this year or in early 2013, including Atlanta; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Denver; and the company's Freedom Region, a cluster of systems that serve greater Philadelphia, New Jersey and northern Delaware. Augusta, Ga., was the site of Comcast's initial field trial of the X1 platform, which previously was known as Xcalibur.

Comcast, as anticipated, announced at The Cable Show last week that Boston would be the first market to launch X1, the company's new hybrid QAM/IP video platform that sports a cloud-based navigation system, a recommendation engine, news, sports and weather widgets, and the integration of third-party apps from Facebook and Pandora Media Inc.

Comcast declined to comment on its deployment plans for X1, but the company did note last week that it intends to roll out the platform in additional "major" markets this year. Comcast officials have also said the company hopes to deploy "hundreds of thousands" of Pace plc -made X1G set-top/gateways that run the new service by the end of the year.

Comcast is also working on whole-home set-ups for the X1 platform. Early on, Comcast will introduce that capability on the RNG 150, an IP-capable HD digital set-top (also made by Pace) that has the horsepower necessary to run the new cloud-based guide.

Among other future whole-home video projects, Comcast's also developing an all-IP HD client box called the X3, which could be ready by the end of 2012, according to a person familiar with the project. In that scenario, the X3 will be capable of obtaining IP video directly off the network or from the XG1, which will be capable of transcoding incoming MPEG video to an IP format before shuttling that content along to the X3 client over a Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) -based home network.

http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=221481
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post #701 of 1685 Old 06-07-2012, 09:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Comcast's X1 Fails to Impress

An early review of Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s IP-capable, next-gen video service, X1, was less than sterling as the operator prepares to launch it in Boston. Hiawatha Bray of The Boston Globe acknowledges that X1 is a substantial improvement over the company's older video service/navigation system, but calls the X1 a "work in progress." Among his quibbles: the install took two hours, the new navigation system "looks like the old cable system guide, with prettier fonts" and the interactive apps offer a mixed bag. But he does like the X1's search features and considers the X1 remote a "step up from the current model." Comcast intends to use the X1 to reenergize its video service. Following Boston, Comcast is expected to introduce X1 in a handful of markets later this year and into early 2013, including Atlanta; Chatanooga, Tenn.; Denver; and in its Philadelphia-area systems.

http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=221763
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post #702 of 1685 Old 07-19-2012, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Comcast builds out Chattanooga VOD service in the cloud

by Michael Grotticelli July 18th, 2012

As multichannel systems operators (MSOs) continue their inevitable migration to a unicast distribution network—in order to support “TV Everywhere” business models that accommodate multiple portable devices in addition to the home TV set—they are taking advantage of remotely based signal processing infrastructures to drive personalized, on-demand video to every customer.

As one example, Comcast is testing the CloudTV H5 platform from ActiveVideo Networks for a video-on-demand (VOD) service in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Comcast “Xfinity On Demand” service leverages a cloud-based user interface to allow subscribers to search and retrieve on-demand content. The remote-processing technology enabled Comcast to quickly launch the new service with minimal CapEx costs and deliver a consistent look and feel across thousands of set-top boxes in the market.

The scalable CloudTV H5 platform utilizes HTML5 browser technology running on remote servers to execute and render complete user experiences in the cloud. The fully formed user experience is then streamed to the user’s device. ActiveVideo Networks said subscribers control the experience by using their remote controls to send key presses to the remote server, which in turn controls the application. Latency between a customer key press and the UI response is “minimal,” according to the company.

ActiveVideo Networks’ said its patented technology allows MSOs to create and deliver pixel-accurate applications and user experiences across any digital set top box or connected device. In-home device capabilities are irrelevant to the application designer because the application is fully executed and rendered on the cloud-based server, making it possible to create complex animations and functionality without worrying about device capability.

The CloudTV H5 platform is designed to interface seamlessly with any existing cable operator network infrastructure and its “total cloud” approach can be completely deployed at low cost without changing or adding a single device in the home.

The CloudTV platform is currently available on approximately 10 million screens in the U.S. among such MSOs as Cablevision Systems, Oceanic Time Warner Cable and other operators, as well as on Philips-branded Internet-connected TVs.

ActiveVideo Networks is based in San Jose, CA, with offices in Los Angeles and Hilversum, the Netherlands.

http://blog.broadcastengineering.com/blog-opinions/2012/07/18/comcast-builds-out-chattanooga-vod-service-in-the-cloud/
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post #703 of 1685 Old 07-26-2012, 09:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Cable Tries to Break Video Encryption Stalemate
July 25, 2012 | Jeff Baumgartner


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) prevents most MSOs from encrypting their basic video tiers, but the six largest U.S. cable operators are floating a proposal they hope could change that stance.

Operators want to encrypt the basic tier in all-digital systems in part to reduce TV service theft by broadband-only customers. But the idea has met resistance from parties such as Boxee , which enables its broadband-connected box to support unencrypted "clear QAM" TV channels in the basic tier.

The operators are proposing the creation of two encryption options, as submitted in a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski from Michael Powell, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) CEO:

An operator-supplied adapter, such as a digital transport adapter (DTA), with home-networking capability (using Wi-Fi or a DLNA-enabled Ethernet connector) that can decrypt basic TV signals and pass them along to IP-connected video devices sold at retail. Operators would have to offer this equipment at no charge for a limited time.

An alternative method, not involving operator-supplied equipment such as set-tops, DTAs or CableCARDs, that retail device makers could license on a non-discriminatory basis. This option could involve software-based security systems such as the one Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) is currently using, and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) has at least taken a look at.

The six largest incumbent cable MSOs -- Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications Inc. , Charter Communications Inc. , Cablevision, Bright House Networks -- have pledged to support the proposed framework. They serve more than 84 percent of the nation's cable customers, according to the NCTA's estimates.

A separate proposal from Comcast and Boxee, also floated at the FCC, would use Ethernet-connected DTAs to pass basic video signals and a longer-term option that would let companies like Boxee obtain licenses to embed the DTA functionality.

Why this matters

The nation's major MSOs are chomping at the bit to encrypt their basic tiers and hope this proposal will not only appease the consumer electronics industry but also get the FCC to act favorably on the proposed rulemaking.

If the idea is approved, it may be the final nail in the coffin of AllVid, a possible successor to the CableCARD circulating at the Commission that would apply to cable, telco and satellite TV service providers. The cable industry is keen to avoid another government mandate and, in fact, would rather have the FCC abolish the existing ban on set-tops with integrated security, which took effect in July 2007.

http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=223271
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post #704 of 1685 Old 07-26-2012, 09:51 AM
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Another link on the same subject - looks like the cableCos are trying to bypass AllVid with their own proprietary QAM delivery to IP decryption scheme.

http://www.multichannel.com/article/487727-Big_MSOs_Commit_To_Make_Encrypted_Basic_Tiers_Available_To_IP_Devices.php

I wish the FCC had some balls with AllVid, because it had the potential to open up all the MSOs not just cable.
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post #705 of 1685 Old 08-01-2012, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Comcast's Cloud TV Service Rolls Into Atlanta

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s IP-capable, cloud TV platform, called X1, will debut in Atlanta this week, as the operator prepares to launch it in five major markets by the end of 2012, company Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said on Wednesday's earnings call.

Boston was the first market to get the X1. On the call, Roberts reiterated that Comcast will have X1 deployed to "hundreds of thousands of homes by the end of this year."

Comcast will use X1 to help bring some mojo back to a video platform that has been losing customers by the tens and hundreds of thousands each quarter. Comcast committed to the expanded rollout plan as it reported losing 176,000 video subs in the typically rough second quarter. To emphasize how bad the situation's been, the video losses in the second quarter were the best in four years for that period, and marked the seventh consecutive quarter in which Comcast showed improved video subscriber results.

Comcast's not predicting when it might actually add video subscribers, but Comcast Cable President and CEO Neil Smit said the X1's "been very well-received in Boston" since its summer debut, and that the operator intends to bring the X1 experience (i.e. its cloud-based navigation system and apps environment) to all its high-end set-top boxes.

Pace plc is the first supplier of the X1 video gateway, but Comcast has already noted that it's porting the UI to the IP-capable RNG 150, an HD client box that's made by multiple suppliers. Comcast's heavily deployed RNG-class boxes can be "flipped" to support IP. Comcast is also believed to be working on an IP-only HD client box called the X3.

Comcast was mum on where X1 would appear next after Atlanta, but Light Reading Cable reported in May that a handful of markets, in addition to Atlanta, are in line to get the service either later this year or in early 2013, including Chattanooga, Tenn.; Denver; and the Freedom Region, which includes systems serving Philadelphia, New Jersey and northern Delaware.

http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=223483
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post #706 of 1685 Old 08-09-2012, 12:21 PM
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Latest and greatest Comcast HD DVR?

I currently have the DCX3400 with 500GB of storage. Is this the most advanced HD DVR that Comcast has available? If not what box should I start asking around for and what are its advantages? I wouldn't mind a larger hard drive, more tuners and the ability to watch things in different rooms. However if the any-room DVR technology is like FIOS where you can't also have local storage in each room then I am not interested... Thanks.
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post #707 of 1685 Old 08-15-2012, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
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The DCX3501 is the latest model. It also has a 500gb hard drive, but the DCX3501 is energy star qualified and usews less energy. If you get the multi room option only the DCX3501 has the storage and the other units acces it.
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post #708 of 1685 Old 09-03-2012, 08:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Comcast's Set-Top Accelerator Gains Traction

August 30, 2012 | Jeff Baumgartner

Cable technology vendors and a few major operators are starting to get behind the Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) Reference Design Kit (RDK), a software bundle for a new breed of IP-only and hybrid QAM/IP set-tops and video gateways.

Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), one of Comcast's primary suppliers, just announced that it's obtained a license for the RDK. Comcast is also getting support for fellow MSOs while it builds out partnerships among chip and equipment vendors.

It seems like a good time to review Comcast's progress and examine what the RDK is made of. This interview, from The Cable Show in May, provides a starting point.

A uniform approach
Comcast set to work on the RDK about two years ago, and it's got the potential to become a big deal. With broad adoption, the RDK could provide the cable industry with a much more uniform video platform as operators embark on IP video migrations. It could also open the historically closed environment for set-top makers and app developers.

One key goal well underway is getting the RDK baked into systems-on-chip (SoCs) before box makers start building products around them, as it should translate into much faster product development cycles. At The Cable Show in May, Comcast Senior VP of Customer Premises Equipment Steve Reynolds said the typical cycle (building the box, developing software and getting it all up and running) was 24 months when the MSO launched the RDK project. The hope is that the RDK will cut that cycle to a year or even less, he said.

It's anticipated that some RDK devices will use ARM, a low-power chip architecture already popular in Blu-ray players, smartphones and tablets. The idea there is to provide commonality so apps developed for mobile devices can be ported easily to the world of IP-connected set-tops and gateways.

The RDK leans on a Web-like cloud infrastructure, meaning that Comcast and its partners can create and change apps more rapidly. The old infrastructure's software environment is highly fragmented, requiring Comcast to spend gobs of time testing and retesting new software, followed by the further time-sucking task of downloading new files to boxes every time a change or upgrade is made.

It's painful. Reynolds likened the RDK's common stack model and its ability to accelerate application development to those of Android.



http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=224331
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post #709 of 1685 Old 09-04-2012, 09:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Comcast Said Near U.S. Approval to Encrypt Basic-Cable Signals

Cable companies led by Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) are close to winning U.S. permission to start encrypting basic- tier signals, two regulatory officials said, in a move to fight theft and reduce service calls.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski has asked fellow commissioners to lift an encryption prohibition in place since 1994, the agency officials said yesterday. They asked not to be identified because the request hasn’t been made public.

The agency last year proposed allowing encryption following requests from companies, including New York-area provider Cablevision Systems Corp. (CVC) and closely held RCN Telecom Services Inc.

Almost one-fifth of 134 households whose cable connections were cut off by RCN during an audit in Chicago last year subsequently contacted the company to subscribe, “clear evidence that they had previously been viewing cable without paying,” the company told the FCC in a filing last year.

Cablevision found that, when it encrypted basic service under a waiver from the FCC, it almost eliminated the need to send crews in trucks to disconnect service, the Bethpage, New York-based company told the agency in a filing.

“Cablevision’s experience proves the environmental benefits of eliminating the encryption prohibition,” Cablevision told the agency.
Digital Signals

Encrypting the basic tier would let Comcast start and stop service remotely, which customers prefer to scheduling an appointment with a technician, Philadelphia-based Comcast said in a filing at the FCC.

RCN, based in Herndon, Virginia, said in a filing it was seeing rising levels of theft as cable systems replace analog service with digital signals that are easier to steal.

Television sets with modern tuners can receive the unencrypted basic-service package which is sent in digital format and includes local broadcast stations.

Cable companies already encrypt offerings on the more expensive programming tiers that aren’t regulated by the FCC and include a wider array of channels.

The FCC prohibited encryption at a time cable dominated the pay-TV market, so customers wouldn’t need a set-top box to view local stations. The requirement doesn’t hold for satellite providers DirecTV (DTV) and Dish Network Corp. (DISH) or for cable competitors such as TV services offered by AT&T Inc. (T) and Verizon Communications Inc.
Free Service

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association in 2004 estimated that about 5 percent of homes near cable lines accessed service without paying, resulting in almost $5 billion in lost revenue. That was more than 8 percent of industry revenues that year, according to a filing at the FCC by the Washington-based trade group. The organization’s members include the biggest U.S. cable operator, Comcast, No. 2 provider Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC) and Cablevision.

Genachowski’s proposal includes methods for third-party equipment makers such as Boxee Inc. to relay unscrambled basic programming to customers, the two officials said. Boxee had expressed concern its customers wouldn’t be able to access basic-cable TV channels.

Genachowski’s proposal faces a vote and no deadline for action at the five-member agency where he is part of the 3-2 Democratic majority. Neil Grace, an FCC spokesman, in an e-mail declined to comment.

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-08-29/comcast-said-near-u-dot-s-dot-approval-to-encrypt-basic-cable-signals
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post #710 of 1685 Old 09-13-2012, 08:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Comcast on Track for First CCAP Rollouts
September 11, 2012 | Jeff Baumgartner

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is setting its sights on some small Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) deployments before the end of 2012, Vice President of Access Architecture Jorge Salinger said Monday during a Light Reading Cable webinar on the topic.

"We hope to deploy, in small scale, later this year, if the equipment is available," he said, adding that he expects deployments to ramp up in 2013. Comcast issued a CCAP request for proposal (RFP) earlier this year but has yet to announce its vendor selections.
As a reminder, CCAP is a next-generation access architecture that will pave cable's path toward an all-IP platform by combining the functions of the edge QAM and cable modem termination system (CMTS). That will create a simpler service structure that can be managed, controlled and configured via software, while also increasing port density (important for space and cooling in cable headends). CableLabs has completed the CCAP hardware specs, and is in the fourth revision of the platform's Operations Support System Interface components, Salinger says.

Salinger said Comcast is about to conclude a CCAP operational-readiness trial that involves a "handful of service groups" -- a large enough sample to extract some lessons from.

Among the early operational revelations: Comcast discovered it must strive to consolidate the monitoring of the network as it shifts to CCAP. Today's cable networks use different tools and alarms for different types of services (Docsis, video, etc.), and they tend to be managed by different teams. With CCAP, Comcast intends to adjust those operations so that one entity leads a coordinated effort.

But there can be no CCAP deployments without CCAP equipment.

The vendors claim they will be ready. Casa Systems Inc. introduced its integrated CCAP chassis at The Cable Show in May, and several other vendors, including CommScope Inc. , are expected to show CCAP-ready gear at next month's Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) Cable-Tec Expo in Orlando.

While Comcast appears to be out in front with CCAP, other major operators are expected to begin deployments some time in 2013.

Deployment scenarios
The suppliers represented on the webinar are taking different angles to CCAP. Casa is going with an integrated CCAP (CMTS plus edge QAM) device, while CommScope is developing a "non-routing" CCAP that could factor in to cable systems deployed with a modular CMTS architecture that uses the core CMTS device for the upstream path and edge QAMs for the downstream. (See Cable Rethinks 'Modular' CCAP .)

Going with a modular CCAP that ends up looking like a super-dense edge QAM could help operators handle video and data on the same platform. It would also preserve their existing architecture and line them up for a more integrated CCAP later on, said Shane Eleniak, vice president of advanced broadband solutions at CommScope.

Casa VP of Marketing and Business Development Mark Sumner held that operators could be better served by going with an integrated CCAP at the get-go, arguing that it's an architecture that's easier to manage and operate in part because it's less complex and relies on fewer devices. But Sumner allowed that some operators with modular CMTSs will likely wait before jumping ahead to a fully integrated CCAP. "Neither one is a wrong answer. It depends on what your architecture is today," he said.

Salinger said Comcast does have some modular CMTSs deployed and acknowledged that the operator isn't going to replace them right away.

Salinger also outlined some options that MSOs should consider when migrating to CCAP:

Augment capacity by installing CCAP and legacy gear side by side, and put new service groups on the CCAP platform.

Use CCAP to surgically support a new type of bandwidth-intensive service, such as a network DVR. (See Comcast Tests Network DVR in Boston .)

Go for a total infrastructure upgrade that would involve a full swap-out to CCAP in areas where an operator needs more density and where headend space is tight. But instead of chucking the old CMTSs and edge QAMs, the operator could redeploy that equipment in markets that don't yet need a full-fledged CCAP.

http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=224760
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post #711 of 1685 Old 09-14-2012, 08:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Comcast closes in on HD DTA deployments
Fri, 08/17/2012 - 12:22pm
Mike Robuck

Comcast is currently in a large field trial with HD digital transport adapters (DTAs), with plans to have them more broadly deployed in customers’ homes later this year.

“We started field trials of the HD DTA in the first quarter of this year,” said Comcast’s Steve Reynolds, senior vice president of CPE and home networking. “We’re just wrapping up those field trials at this point and time. We haven’t actually announced the date when paying subscribers will start getting HD DTAs.

“We have been in field trials for a number of months, and the technology is working well, and all of the devices are stable, so all systems look good.”

Similar to its SD DTA effort, Comcast is working with Pace, Motorola and Technicolor on the HD DTAs. Reynolds said Comcast was also working with Evolution Digital on its wall-mounted HD DTA, which mounts over existing cable junction boxes.

Evolution recently announced that BendBroadband was using its HD universal DTAs in a hospitality environment in order to provide a low-cost, no-frills HD service to hotels. Reynolds said HD DTAs were also being used in multi-dwelling units, bars and restaurants, and even health clubs.

“We’ve been using DTAs in some of those environments, and it’s really a function of what our local market wants to do in order to provide service for those bulk accounts,” Reynolds said. “The DTA is one of the tools in the toolbox for our systems to be able to offer cable service to those hospitality environments.

“Health clubs have actually been one of the areas where we’ve deployed a lot of DTAs. They use an IR blaster technology to control the DTAs. If they’re screen-mounted on an elliptical trainer or on a stationary bike, they’ll just use a DTA on a one-per-one basis.”

Comcast championed the use of SD DTAs in order to reclaim bandwidth that was subsequently used for the launch of DOCSIS 3.0 services and the addition of more HD offerings, among other items.

The SD DTAs were purposely designed to be low-cost channel zappers that converted digital signals to analog without needing CableCards. While cable operators reclaim bandwidth with all-digital conversions, the SD DTAs allowed the millions of analog TV users to continue their viewing experience.

With analog TVs largely unavailable in retail stores, customers are now buying more affordable HDTV sets, which can be serviced with the one-way HD DTAs. Another reason for the push to HD DTAs is they’ve become more affordable now that they cost about $50 each when purchased in volume.

Reynolds said Comcast has also been working with Rovi on a program guide, which is known as “Atom” internally at Comcast, that will provide information on what’s on now, as well as some information about the program.

“In Comcast markets, we haven’t deployed any kind of guide on the DTA devices. The user interface that is on those devices is relatively simple,” Reynolds said. “It’s really just a navigational bar that pops up and tells you the channel number and the call signs of the feeds you’re watching.”

“We have been doing some work on a guide for the DTA devices. It was publically demonstrated at the CES 2012 show, and then again at The Cable Show in Boston.
We deliberately kept it simple because of the DTA’s capabilities.”

Rovi announced its Rovi DTA Guide, which works with both SD and HD DTAs, at the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo last year. Rovi is working with Evolution Digital on adding the guide to Evolution’s SD and HD DTAs, but it hasn’t said when the guides will become available.

Work is currently underway on the next generation of DTAs, which includes the addition of an Ethernet port. E-DTAs could solve the encryption problem for companies such as Boxee, even if the Federal Communications Commission allows cable operators to encrypt their basic tiers. Reynolds said that while E-DTAs are still in the planning stages, they could be available by early next year.

“We sat down with Boxee and talked about using our DTA device for the front for the digital services,” Reynolds said. “We’ll use the tuner in the HD DTA, and we’ll use the security in the HD DTA to pull those services off of our access network, then make those services available to the Boxee device via the Ethernet home networking interface that this next generation of HD DTA would support.”

Last year, Cable One started using HD DTAs from Nagra. Since then, Nagra has racked up another cable operator win in Indiana.

http://www.cedmagazine.com/news/2012/08/comcast-closes-in-on-hd-dta-deployments
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It's still unclear to me which channels the HD DTAs will be allowed to receive - is it just the locals or is it the current SD DTA set of digital starter channels? I can't see it making sense if it can't get what the SD DTAs get now, but some cable folks over at dslreports claim it won't get much more than the locals in HD.
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Even the locals in HD would be an improvement; but when we hear what the fees are, I may feel that getting the locals in HD while the permitted cable channels still are only in SD won't be worth the charges.
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Comcast XR2 Remote
Updated 9/10/2012

Introduction

The XR2 Remote Control - redesigned to improve the XFINITY TV viewing experience

The new XR2 Remote Control is rolling out with Comcast set-top boxes running the latest version of the on-screen guide and with High-Definition (HD) Digital Transport Adapter (DTA) devices. This new remote is smaller and easier to handle, putting the buttons you use most often within easy reach. Plus, there are fewer buttons so you can quickly find the functions you're looking for.

Features of the XR2 Remote Control include:

Small and easy to handle – the XR2 Remote was designed to be comfortable to hold. The buttons used most often are within easy reach.
Battery level indicator – now you can test the battery power of your remote with a few simple button presses.
Environmentally Friendly – less materials and less power were used to make the XR2 Remote.
XFINITY TV Menu Button – this button provides direct access to the Main Menu of the on-screen guide and all guide features such as DVR and On Demand. (This button will not be supported for the initial rollout of HD DTA devices.)
Out-of-Sight Control (RF Capability) – with certain set-top boxes, as well as with HD DTA devices, the XR2 Remote has the ability to control your set-top box or HD DTA even if they are stored in a closet or another room, up to 50 feet away.


Full article at:

http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/cable-tv/xr2-xfinity-tv-remote/
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post #715 of 1685 Old 09-17-2012, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post

It's still unclear to me which channels the HD DTAs will be allowed to receive - is it just the locals or is it the current SD DTA set of digital starter channels? I can't see it making sense if it can't get what the SD DTAs get now, but some cable folks over at dslreports claim it won't get much more than the locals in HD.

From my sources at Comcast - the HD DTA will allow all HD channels to be displayed except the premium channels such as HBO, Cinemax, Starz, Encore, Showtime and naturally no VOD.
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That's great news IF the boxes rent cheaply enough, because they're all many people will need on secondary sets. The current HD STBs are overpriced, mostly because Comcast insists on charging the bogus outlet fee in addition to the rental.
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Where I live in Maryland their are no outlet fees, but a HD box cost $9.95 per month. Since they predict the new HD DTAs to cost Comcast less than $50, hopefully the rental charges will be low and maybe they will supply several free ones when they encrypt all channels which will render TVs with a QAM tuner useless.
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Same here - the outlet (digital mirror) fee is bundled into the ripoff $10 charge. If I can lease a D* DVR for $6/month, there's no way a simple HD STB should cost $10.

But we've had this complaint for years about Comcast, and they try to apply the same BS to cablecards even if you don't rent their boxes.
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Digital transport adapters expand their horizons

HD DTAs step up to the plate

From an inauspicious start as a low-cost, one-way, channel-zapping device for analog TVs, DTAs have evolved into more complex devices that are capable of working in various environments.

Comcast is conducting a large-scale trial of HD DTAs and plans on deploying them in subscribers’ homes later this year. Reynolds said that the HD DTAs represent the last piece of its analog-to-digital conversion, which is known internally as “Project Cavalry.” Comcast expects to have the all-digital project wrapped up by the end of next year, which includes the rollout of HD DTAs from vendors such as Pace, Technicolor, Motorola and Evolution Digital.

“We have been in field trials for a number of months, and the technology is working well, and all of the devices are stable, so all systems look good,” Reynolds said.

Evolution Digital's Brent SmithEvolution Digital President Brent Smith said that HD DTAs could be used by smaller cable operators that want to offer an entry-level HD service without using expensive set-top boxes, or to provision second, third and fourth TVs in a home.

Reynolds and Smith both pointed out that analog TVs are largely no longer available in the United States, but HD DTAs allow customers to access HD signals without the frills of VOD, pay-per-view or more expensive equipment in the home. By using an HDMI connection, customers can opt for an analog-type viewing experience on their new HDTVs through the use of HD DTAs.

“It turns out that HDMI is a great way for us to do an install,” Reynolds said. “It’s very simple, it’s one cable, it’s a broadly adopted standard and all of the CE devices support it. It’s an easy way for us to do an install, and, in particular, it’s an easy way for us to enable self-installs by the customer. So that was really why we moved to the HD device, which was to support these newer HD sets and, of course, the move to HD picture quality, which we think is going to be great too.

“We also think our customers will appreciate getting the HD local services that we offer through the basic tier through the DTA devices.”

BendBroadband and Cable One have also signed on to use HD DTAs in their footprints with Evolution Digital and Nagra, respectively.

BendBroadband is using HD universal DTAs (uDTAs) to serve the hospitality market in its Bend, Ore., system. BendBroadband is using wall plate DTAs from Evolution that fit over the cable junction boxes. Evolution’s HD uDTAs were designed to work with both Motorola and Cisco headends, and BendBroadband was the first cable operator to install them.

Evolution Digital's Liberty HD uDTA“Building the box was less of a challenge,” Smith said. “Making sure the box could operate in a standard implementation by Cisco or Moto was the bigger piece because there was more effort required to upgrade the control systems, to support it, and also some additional security levels which needed to be put in place.

“The hardware wasn’t the long pole in the tent; it was more the integration piece. Now we have a viable option for most operators to choose between SD and HD, whether it’s for bandwidth reclamation or offering lower-cost HD tiers.”

While the concept of HD DTAs has been around for a while, the cost needed to get down to a price point that would get cable operators to bite. Thanks to new chipsets, HD DTAs go for roughly $50 each in high volumes.

“When we started, we were looking at much heavier hospitality-specific products that were really designed to provide all of the functions and features that the hospitality industry may want, but when we got down to it, price became very important to those customers, and many of them had other methods to meet the needs of things like check in/check out,” said BendBroadband CTO Wade Holmes. “What really became important was HD for their sets and a low-cost device to connect them. Their preference was that it not be a two-way box because they didn’t want to create processes and procedures. They wanted to eliminate the guide, and they wanted it to be extremely simple to use.Nagra's HD DTA

“The DTA was a perfect fit for us. Keeping it small and low-cost were some of the things we were really battling against when we were trying to find the right solution for the hospitality market. Evolution did a good job of looking at what the customer need was.”

Reynolds said Comcast was also interested in using Evolution’s wall plate HD DTA for hospitality deployments, multi-dwelling units, and bars and restaurants.

“It would be a device that is permanently installed, so there would be no intention of sending those devices out to customers for self-install, for example,” Reynolds said. “The device would be installed in the unit, and it would remain installed on a move in/move out basis, or in a hospitality situation, it would remain in the hotel room or campus environment.

“We do the same things for other commercial accounts. You can go into bars and restaurants, and there are DTAs in there. Health clubs have actually been one of the areas where we’ve deployed a lot of DTAs. They use an IR blaster technology to control the DTAs. If they’re screen-mounted on an elliptical trainer or on a stationary bike, they’ll just use a DTA on a one-per-one basis.”

Breaking up the duopoly
DTAs can also help break up the Motorola and Cisco duopoly by offering an alternative that costs less, according to Tom Wirth, senior vice president of Nagra Americas.

Nagra's Tom Wirth“What we’re pitching is that a lot of operators can move away from the legacy duopoly and go with a new CAS (conditional access system),” Wirth said. “That opens us up to all kinds of things. Not only can you get DTAs from all kinds of manufacturers, including Asian manufacturers, but then you can start to look at more innovative products in the network as a whole, and you don’t have to go through the two legacy vendors’ CASs and kind of wait for them to deploy and come up with a product strategy.

“We were the first to have an HD DTA in the field with some of our partners, and we did all of the software and the CA systems. I think we were at least nine months ahead of the legacy CA in that area.”

Wirth said that in addition to being able to offer HD services, HD DTAs are somewhat future-proof since they support MPEG-4.

“The advantages with the new chipsets and the price point are you not only get to HD, but you get MPEG-4 in the network, which has a huge efficiency factor,” Wirth said. “The DTA is a good sweet spot for an operator to start to move from analog to digital. The problem is that if you looked a couple of years ago at the price point for MPEG-4, it was probably prohibitive, but now it’s not.”

The future is bright for DTAs

Work is currently underway on the next generation of DTAs, which includes the addition of an Ethernet port. E-DTAs could solve the encryption problem for companies such as Boxee, even if the Federal Communications Commission allows cable operators to encrypt their basic tiers. Reynolds said that while E-DTAs are still in the planning stages, they could be available by early next year.

From its humble beginnings, the DTA has transitioned into a more prominent member of cable operators’ CPE family, and it looks to have a long lifespan, as well.

“We will certainly continue to push forward on the technology of the DTA to make them smaller, more powerful and figure out ways to make them more energy-efficient. All of those good initiatives we have in place,” Reynolds said. “The DTA has become an ongoing part of our product line, and we’ll continue to support the DTA for many years to come.”

Evolution, Rovi join forces on adding feature-rich guide to DTAs
While providing a low-cost viewing option for subscribers and businesses is one of the key form factors of a DTA, ease of use is critical to the viewing experience.

On that note, Evolution Digital is working in tandem with Rovi on adding the latter’s electronic programming guide into its SD and HD DTAs.

Rovi guide
Evolution Digital is the first announced customer for the Rovi DTA Guide that was introduced last year at the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in Atlanta.

As part of its all-digital conversion project, Comcast has championed the use of the low-cost DTAs to reclaim bandwidth that can subsequently be used for additional services, such as DOCSIS 3.0, or more features, such as adding more HD channels.

“We’ve always been major proponents of putting more functionality on the DTA,” said Evolution Digital President Brent Smith. “It’s one thing when you have 40 or 50 channels and you can zap through them, but it’s another thing, especially with HD, with potentially hundreds of channels. People’s expectations are, ‘I want to know what’s on, when it’s on,’ and so forth.

“We discussed this with Rovi and explained what we were doing and why we think it’s a good idea for DTAs. They were enthusiastic about it, and they have plans to have a full Rovi program guide embedded into our DTAs.”

Currently, Evolution has a “now and next” user interface (UI) embedded on its SD DTAs and HD uDTAs. The current UI allows viewers to go through channels to see what’s on now and what’s on next with basic descriptions of the programming.

The Rovi DTA Guide, which will come in HD and SD flavors, brings many more digital-like features to the viewers’ living rooms. It has parental controls and supports both English and Spanish languages, and it also features a “now and next” function.

“It’s a very elegant guide that provides 24 hours of listings data,” said Sharon Metz, Rovi’s vice president of vertical marketing for service providers. “It enables the consumer to see what’s on the full, generally digital lineup, typically about 77 to 80 channels, and provides descriptive information on the programs.

“What’s unique about the guide is that you have the full-feature grid and descriptive information on programming, but you also have a now/next banner that lets you browse while you watch TV and lets you see what’s on. It’s really a great opportunity to extend the interactive program guide experience into homes that wouldn’t normally have that kind of capability.”

In addition to the now and next UI, Evolution also provides an electronic program guide server that operators use to deliver the guide data to the DTAs. When the Rovi DTA Guide becomes available, operators that have a relationship with Rovi can send software updates to the DTAs in customers’ homes to download and launch the new Rovi DTA Guide on Evolution’s DTAs. The Rovi DTA Guide uses components of EBIF technology to deliver the application and data and render the guide onscreen.

Rovi isn’t saying when the guide will be commercially available, but Rovi’s press release from Expo last year said that an SD version of the DTA guide would first be launched in Latin America, which is a good fit due to the larger number of analog TV subscribers in some regions.

As far as other DTA vendors, which include Pace, Motorola, Cisco and Technicolor, Metz said there was some integration work to be done, but the flexibly of the guide would support multiple vendors.

“The expectation that we have is that everyone wants to have a guide on a DTA product, and we’re making that possible for our customers,” Rovi’s Metz said. “As we look at our historical information on how consumers value the guide experience, their passion to be able to quickly find out what’s on the TV and tune quickly from the guide and things like that, we think this is a great way to extend additional value into subscribers’ homes that never had digital service.”

Comcast’s Steve Reynolds, senior vice president of CPE and home networking, said Comcast has worked on a user guide with Rovi, which is known internally as “Atom,” and that is has been demonstrated at several trade show conferences this year by vendors.

SD DTA bandwidth savings

By deploying SD DTAs, cable operators can reclaim between 250 MHz and 300 MHz in each system that goes all-digital. If a typical cable system has 79 analog channels, and the operator decides to move 59 of those channels to digital, while perhaps leaving 20 or so as a lifeline analog service for some select markets, it would reclaim 354 MHz.

Given 354 MHz of reclaimed spectrum in the example above – and the fact that, on average, 10 standard-definition MPEG-2 digital programs can be inserted into one 6 MHz slot – this yields enough bandwidth for nearly 590 channels.

Full article with pictures at:

http://www.cedmagazine.com/articles/2012/09/cpe-digital-transport-adapters-expand-their-horizons
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post #720 of 1685 Old 10-03-2012, 09:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Meet Comcast's IP-Only Set-Top
October 3, 2012 | Jeff Baumgartner

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has picked Pace plc as one of the suppliers for a new IP-only high-definition video client box in development called the XI3, Light Reading Cable has learned.

Because it's IP-only, the XI3 won't contain a QAM tuner. It's anticipated that the XI3 will use Comcast's new cloud-based user interface and obtain linear video from a primary gateway that can transcode QAM video into IP streams that can be shuttled to the client box via the home network.

Light Reading Cable first reported in April that Comcast was developing an IP client box called the X3.

According to a source familiar with the product, the Pace XI3 is based on the Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) BCM 7428 chipset, supports MoCA 2.0, and features HDMI, Ethernet and USB ports, and an option for a 802.11n Wi-Fi module. Comcast declined to comment on the project.

Comcast's still developing the XI3, but here's what it apparently looks like.

And what's with that SD Card slot? The XI3 doesn't have an internal hard drive, so the slot could be used for memory expansion. But it's also plausible that Comcast could use an SD Card as a local, mini-DVR that could buffer a small amount of live TV programming for trick-play functions (pause, fast-forward, rewind, etc.). Advanced Digital Broadcast (ADB) toyed with the notion of using an SD Card as a "lite" DVR for a tru2way "set-back" box it showed off in 2010.

The XI3 is also an obvious candidate for a network DVR that Comcast is testing in the Boston area.

It's not known when Comcast plans to deploy the XI3, but it's not expected to show up until 2013 at the earliest.

The XI3 appears to be a product based on the Comcast Reference Design Kit (RDK), a bundle of software for hybrid QAM/IP gateways and IP-only clients. Comcast hopes the RDK will help cut product development cycles to a year or less. The X1, a hybrid gateway also made by Pace, is the first product to come out of the RDK project. Following launches in Boston and Atlanta, Comcast expects to deploy the X1 in at least three more major markets this year. (See Comcast's Set-Top Accelerator Gains Traction and Comcast's Cloud TV Service Rolls Into Atlanta.)

Comcast is expected to select multiple suppliers for its X-series boxes. Among chip and set-top vendors, other RDK licensees include Evolution Digital LLC , Motorola Mobility, Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) and Entropic Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: ENTR). Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Technicolor SA (Euronext Paris: TCH; NYSE: TCH) are also rumored to be among the RDK licensees.



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