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post #91 of 860 Old 07-06-2006, 08:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Cable Pushes for Low-End Box Waivers

By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 7/5/2006 8:57:00 AM

Comcast and others continue to push for a waiver from the FCC's set-top integration ban for its class of low-end boxes.

To encourage a retail market in competition to cable-supplied digital set-tops, the FCC required cable to separate out the security and channel-surfing functions in its boxes starting in July 2007 and provide a separate security device that worked with cable-ready equipment.

Comcast has argued that the mandate to separate out the security function will up the price of the boxes just as the impending switch to digital has increased the need for the boxes, which can convert digital to analog. It has requested the FCC allow it to three integrated boxes with limited features--no HDTV, DVR or Internet functions--past the July 1, 2007, cut-off for integrated boxes.

The boxes allow cable customers with analog sets to access some interactive features including VOD and parental controls.

In comments to the FCC last week, it included supporting materials from various supporters, including the Association for Public Television Stations.

APTS President John Lawson argued, in a letter to Media Bureau Chief Donna Gregg, that an affordable set-top for, say second and third TV's in a home, is important for insuring viewers have access to noncom's multicast services, which are getting cable carriage due to a deal with the cable industry struck last year.

Comcast in its comments also pointed out that the FCC, in defending its policy in court, has pointed out that it will entertain waivers for low-end boxes and even cited Comcast's request.

Among those raising questions about the waiver at the FCC are the Consumer Electronics Association and Microsoft.

Also filing in support of Comcast's petition last week was overbuilder RCN, which also wants a similar waiver for low-end boxes.

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6349710.html
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post #92 of 860 Old 07-07-2006, 08:27 AM - Thread Starter
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High-Definition TV On Its Way

POSTED: 2:32 pm EDT July 6, 2006
UPDATED: 4:39 pm EDT July 6, 2006

Though the sight of Comcast workers going door-to-door handing out free cable boxes may seem out of the ordinary, it's all part of the company's plan to bring high-definition TV to the Valley.

Comcast officials said they plan to bring the all-digital broadcast system to the Steubenville-Weirton area by April 2007.

The FCC mandated that all cable companies broadcast in high-definition television by February 2009. A digital box is required to get the all-digital service, which is why Comcast is trying to provide a digital box to all customers over the next nine months -- before the changeover.

Steubenville city officials have been inquiring about the service for some time, and raised the issue at a council meeting Wednesday.

Comcast officials met to discuss the strategy for the all-digital system on Thursday, said Michael Smith, Comcast Director of Government and Public Affairs for the Tri-State Area.

The new service will include HD channels, improved picture and audio, and a family-friendly programming option, said Doug Sansom, Comcast Senior Vice President of the Three Rivers Region.

Sansom said, "I know that sounds too hard to believe, but there will be no incremental costs. They'll get all the services, the channels, and some other products that have yet to be announced, and it all comes at no additional cost."

But, although the cable box itself will be free, the service rate could increase. Comcast's rates typically go up about 3 percent every year.

"I'm not announcing a rate increase, but I would suspect that 12 months from now, the rate will potentially be a little higher. Our competition's rates go up--everyone's rates go up," Sansom said.

For customers who don't have a digital box when the changeover occurs, Comcast officials said they will most likely lose service until they obtain a new cable box.

http://www.wtov9.com/news/9478242/detail.html
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post #93 of 860 Old 07-07-2006, 02:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulGo View Post

High-Definition TV On Its Way

POSTED: 2:32 pm EDT July 6, 2006
UPDATED: 4:39 pm EDT July 6, 2006

Though the sight of Comcast workers going door-to-door handing out free cable boxes may seem out of the ordinary, it's all part of the company's plan to bring high-definition TV to the Valley.

No, it isn't.

Quote:


Comcast officials said they plan to bring the all-digital broadcast system to the Steubenville-Weirton area by April 2007.

That is what it is.

Quote:


The FCC mandated that all cable companies broadcast in high-definition television by February 2009.

No, they didn't. They didn't even mandate that all cable cos. broadcast in Digital by Feb. 09!

Quote:


A digital box is required to get the all-digital service, which is why Comcast is trying to provide a digital box to all customers over the next nine months -- before the changeover.

For customers who don't have a digital box when the changeover occurs, Comcast officials said they will most likely lose service until they obtain a new cable box.

Either the box is required or it isn't. Maybe they are waffling as to whether they will be All-Digital or All-Digital Simulcast. If they do go All-Digital, I hope other Comcast areas will follow.

With this kind of reporting, that was supposedly researched, what then do we expect from consumers.
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post #94 of 860 Old 07-08-2006, 08:20 PM
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I think it remains in the consumers' best interest to enforce the FCCs regulations and get the cable companies out of the STB business once and for all.

That's not a natural part of the monopoly necessitated by laying cable - and it should be kept separate and in the competitive arena.
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post #95 of 860 Old 10-10-2006, 09:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Motorola puts switched video in focus with Vertasent purchase
By Jeff Baumgartner, CED
September 25, 2006

Motorola Inc. has struck a deal to buy Vertasent LLC, a privately-held maker of an emerging network element called the edge resource manager (ERM).

Motorola said the deal complements its recent acquisition of video server specialist Broadbus Technologies, and prepares Motorola to flesh out its switched digital video technology strategy.

The ERM "fits into the brains of a switching network," noted Mark DePietro, VP of marketing for Motorola's Connected Home Solutions unit.

The ERM will also play a key role in QAM sharing, whereby QAMs are no longer used in "silos" tied to a particular service such as video-on-demand. In the new scenario, a bank of universal edge QAMs will be made to support everything from VOD, to switched broadcast and data applications. In addition to helping to enable QAM sharing, the ERM can also aid operators in the establishment of specific business rules and policies associated with specific services.

Camiant has already thrown its hat into the ERM ring. Several other vendors are said to be following suit, including Tandberg Television and Scientific Atlanta. BigBand Networks already offers the ERM function in its switched broadcast gear.

Vertasent has already been moving forward with integration work of its own, including technical hookups with Harmonic Inc., ARRIS, and servers and VOD systems from Broadbus and Concurrent Computer Corp.

DePietro said Vertasent's ERM has also been made to support two major protocols for switched video - Comcast Corp.'s Next Generation On Demand architecture and the Time Warner Cable Interactive Services Architecture (ISA).
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post #96 of 860 Old 11-10-2006, 06:17 AM - Thread Starter
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CEA Files 2-Way Cable Proposal

By Greg Tarr -- TWICE, 11/9/2006 1:52:00 PM

Washington The Consumer Electronics Association this week filed with the Federal Communications Commission what it calls a consensus proposal of the CE and IT industries to end the stalemate over bringing full-line plug-and-play competition to digital devices that work on cable systems.

The multipoint proposal, which was backed by 12 companies, addresses some key issues that have kept the consumer electronics and cable television industries at loggerheads for more than two years, including steps to quickly make two-way plug-and-play devices available at retail.

Among the points of the proposal is a call for allowing CE manufacturers to produce non-Open Cable Applications Platform (OCAP) two-way cable products that would make basic services available as well as permit ordering and accessing such two-way content as video-on-demand and pay per view.

OCAP is a middleware program, in effect an operating system, that allows consumers to easily connect OCAP-enabled TVs and other CE devices to a digital cable system to take advantage of two-way cable applications and the advanced functionality of the OCAP systems. Among the benefits are VOD, increased security, easy portability between systems and devices and a variety of interactive services.

The consensus statement said cable companies have shown little interest in adding OCAP middleware in lesser-featured set-top devices, and cable MSO's Comcast and Charter have sought CableCARD waivers from the FCC for such equipment.

Other points brought out in the proposal included a specific list of technical, licensing and regulatory objectives to resolve outstanding plug-and-play issues that have been under negotiation since early 2003.

In addition, a technical proposal was added to facilitate enhancements to a new generation of CableCARDS.

Companies signing the proposal included Dell, Hitachi, Intel, JVC, Microsoft, Mitsubishi, Philips, Pioneer, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba and TTE.

Those noticeably absent from the list included LG, Panasonic and Samsung, each of which had previously signed OCAP and the CableLabs CableCARD Host Interface Licensing Agreement (CHILA). The latter uses OCAP as its base and defines the interface between a digital cable receiver or set-top box and the CableCARD module distributed by the cable operator, providing a standard platform for two-way interactive devices.

In a statement on the proposal, Sony Electronics executive VP Michael Williams said, This proposal, if implemented by the FCC, would create a diverse, competitive market for cable plug-and-play products. It also would finally allow CE and IT companies to provide consumers with the benefits of innovation, competitive pricing and product choice as has long been the intent of Congress and the Commission.

Gary Shapiro, CEA president/CEO, said today we are offering a solution that would give consumers the widest choices in both equipment and services. We hope this will be a breakthrough toward a win-win plug-and-play environment that meets all consumer needs.

http://www.twice.com/article/CA6390050.html
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post #97 of 860 Old 11-20-2006, 07:25 AM - Thread Starter
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November 20, 2006 TV TechCheck

CEA PROPOSES COMPROMISE FOR
BI-DIRECTIONAL DIGITAL CABLE COMPATIBILITY

On November 7, 2006 the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and several individual companies filed a proposal in the FCC's digital cable compatibility proceeding (CS Docket No. 97-80): a "Proposal for Bi-Directional Digital Cable Compatibility and Related Issues."

The stated goal of the filing is to provide a proposal to allow competitive consumer electronics (CE) and IT manufacturers to build devices that, from the consumer perspective, are functionally equivalent to proprietary leased products such as digital cable boxes. The companies claim this proposal would substantially increase consumer choice by quickly and effectively bringing a wide variety of two-way "plug-and-play" devices to market. They pointed out that little progress has been made towards the goals of Section 629 of the Communications Act to enable consumers to have a choice among such devices in a competitive retail market.

This is important because the current uni-directional agreement (also called plug-and-play) only enables some services to a CE device (equipped with a CableCard). With one-way devices, consumers do not have access to Interactive Program Guides (IPGs), Pay-Per-View (PPV) movies and special events, On Demand Services including Entertainment on Demand (EOD), Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) and, generally, Digital Video Recording (except for some SD content). The filing notes that after more than two years of negotiations among the cable, CE and IT industries a mutual agreement on a bi-directional specification still has not been reached.

Since uni-directional receivers don't allow consumer access to several high value services and features offered by cable systems, cable service providers have not been particularly enthusiastic about promoting these receivers. For example, see Cox Cable's explanation of CableCard at http://www.cox.com/support/hr/cable/plugplay.asp or Comcast's FAQ on HDTV at http://www.comcast.com/Customers/FAQ...ashx?CatId=130. The overall result in the marketplace has been very slow growth for CableCard deployment. NCTA has statistics on the historical growth of CableCard here http://www.ncta.com/IssueBrief.aspx?...Id=2711&view=4.

One major issue for the bi-directional version of CableCard has been whether or not OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP) (see http://www.opencable.com/ocap/) is required as the minimum capability in such devices or not. OCAP is a middleware specification to support downloadable applications. OCAP essentially defines a set of software interfaces and functions. It contains a security module that is under the control of the cable operator, which in turn controls what any other application can do. There is a version of OCAP that has been standardized by SCTE, but it is many revisions prior to the current version available from CableLabs. The revisions are not being made in the open standards process, but rather periodically the current version is brought to the SCTE CAP Subcommittee for consideration. (The last such submission was approved on October 4, 2005 based on revision 14. Subsequent revisions and bug fixes have not been submitted).

The filing proposes that manufacturers have the option, but not the obligation, to include OCAP in devices that access "basic" interactive services - switched digital, electronic program guide ("EPG"), video-on-demand ("VOD"), and impulse pay-per-view ("PPV") - and must implement OCAP to access "advanced" interactive services - perhaps on-line games, email and "play-along" interaction coordinated with specific video content. The filing includes technical annexes that provide details for how this OCAP-less receiver would operate.

The filing also asserts that the proposal provides a comprehensive solution to address virtually all of the open issues in CS Docket No. 97-80, including common reliance, downloadable security, and home networking.

The filing further asserts that it appears that cable providers do not intend to use the OCAP middleware software in their so-called "low-cost, low capability" boxes and advocates that "retail products should compete on a level playing field with leased products with respect to price, features, and functionality." They also state that the proposal would further the DTV transition by increasing the pool of available cable-ready DTV sets, thus giving consumers an incentive to move from analog to digital, given that each set must also contain DTV reception capability as a regulatory requirement.

On a more technical level, they addressed the new "switched video" technology that is being deployed, where the path used to deliver what appears as a continuing program can be changed without interrupting the consumer experience. It is also used to optimize total cable capacity by shifting the mix of services based on demand/consumption by receivers. Because information about tuning needs to go back to the head end, switched video is bi-directional in nature. Current uni-directional devices can experience service outages when this occurs. CEA et al argue that this undercutting practice be prohibited until the new products in accordance with their proposal become ubiquitous in the marketplace.

They also covered how the standard for out-of-band announcement of services could be used, and perhaps extended to support the OCAP-less receiver. They suggested that SCTE DVS be the open standards forum where such modifications should be discussed.

For content protection, they proposed the use of those output protection systems that have been selected by the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) (see http://www.dlna.org) be added to the approved list of valid content protection systems under the Cable Host Interface Licensing Agreement (CHILA) and the Downloadable Conditional Access Systems (DCAS) licenses.

The processes for certification, testing and "bug fix" were also covered in the filing, which address practical realities in consumer product development and retail issues.

The filing is available on the Internet from the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS)-go to http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/comsrch_v2.cgi and enter 97-80 (this is the docket number of the proceeding) into box 1 ("Proceeding").
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post #98 of 860 Old 12-22-2006, 07:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Not directly related to Comcast but interesting.

Dec 21, 2006 16:30

Unique Low Cost Set Top Cable Device with Downloadable Security Announced for 2007 Deployment
CLIFTON, Va. --(Business Wire)-- Dec. 21, 2006 A new "open standard" solution to providing cable set-top converters which are both economical and provide a non-integrated downloadable security system has been announced. Full commercial deployment of the new device, which supports both analog and digital signals, is scheduled for 2007.

The announcement follows more than three and one-half years of quiet research and development by a new company, Beyond Broadband Technology, LLC (BBT) formed by three veteran cable television operators. "The primary objective," said Bill Bauer, President and CEO of WinDBreak Cable, of Gering, NE, "was to develop a low cost set top box (LCST) that would allow systems to efficiently migrate from analog to digital transmission." This migration will free up significant bandwidth for cable companies to offer new and improved services to customers, including high definition television programs, and faster broadband Internet connections.

In the process of developing the new devices, BBT designed an entirely new and elegantly simple fully downloadable conditional access solution that provides a high level of signal security, which can now provide a low-cost substitute for expensive CableCARD technology currently in use. The non-integrated downloadable security solution provides the "severable security" called for by the FCC. It will be the first system of its type offered on a fully open standard basis to any consumer electronics or set-top box manufacturer. It can be built directly into consumer electronics equipment as well as set-top devices. The first low-cost device to be marketed will be designed much like a consumer electronics power cord transformer and will mount on the wall or back of the television set, out of view.

Ben Hooks, Chairman of Buford Media Group, LLC, and another of BBT's founders, noted that there were several criteria for the new design. "It had to support existing analog channels, as well as legacy digital deployments, while at the same time allow operators large and small to reclaim bandwidth by providing an end-to-end digital solution to create an economic migration path to all-digital transmission."

Because of the unique, fully scalable design of the BBT conditional access solution, cable operators can choose between local, regional or national control of the LCST. This will allow, even at the system level, full flexibility to deliver programming to customers in a packaged, tiered, or even individual channel format. Headend equipment is modular and allows emergency alert notification across all channels. It supports both MPEG2 and MPEG4 encoding, facilitating an easy migration to more efficient use of cable bandwidth.

Tony Swain, President and CEO of Tele-Media Broadband, the third founder, has been focusing on the contracts to effectuate the new BBT downloadable LCST solution. The first manufacturer to sign on is R.L. Drake, Co., which plans to have prototypes ready for testing before the end of the first quarter of 2007 and manufactured product available, in quantity, by the third quarter. Satellite transport will be provided by Syndetik, which will encode, encrypt and uplink over 200 channels of programming via multiple C-Band satellites.

The initial basic LCST device is designed to work with one-way and two-way cable systems. It does not require a "return path" through the cable system. The retail price for that device will be below $100, and could be significantly less, depending on the volume of the initial orders. Headend equipment will cost less than one-quarter of those currently being installed.

The new BBT solution to a low-cost set-top box with full downloadable security will allow a much faster migration by cable operators from an analog to a digital transmission system at a cost far lower than had been anticipated. It can significantly speed recovery of large amounts of bandwidth currently used for analog transmission and will end questions of whether the cable industry has sufficient bandwidth for future demand. BBT's technical breakthrough will accelerate both the "digital transition" and the rollout of broadband technology nationwide.
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post #99 of 860 Old 01-07-2007, 06:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Panasonic and Comcast to Join Forces to Test Interactive Digital Cable-Ready Television
Sunday January 7, 7:08 pm ET
Interactive Television to Integrate Open Cable Application Platform (OCAP) and Offer More Choice for Consumers to Enjoy HD, VOD and Other Advanced Home Entertainment Services

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Panasonic, the market leader in plasma TV, and Comcast, the leading provider of cable, entertainment and communications products and services, today announced they will begin joint testing on an interactive digital cable-ready high-definition plasma television based on the Open Cable Application Platform (OCAP) specifications that cable operators have begun to deploy. This joint test, which will begin later this month, builds on the relationship Panasonic and Comcast announced at the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The companies agreed to jointly develop digital cable set-top boxes and to explore and develop extensions to the OCAP specifications that will enhance and simplify consumers' home entertainment experiences.

Integrating OCAP middleware into a digital cable-ready television will let consumers access current popular digital cable features, such as video on demand and electronic program guides, without a digital set-top box. It also will create new opportunities for the delivery of next generation, two-way interactive digital cable features like voting, e-commerce and gaming with the television.

"This is a major step in the realization of OCAP, and we are very pleased to be partnering with Comcast, the leading cable operator in the US, to test this exciting product," said Dr. Paul Liao, Chief Technology Officer, Panasonic Corporation of North America. "Panasonic is a market leader in flat panel displays, and this is a logical step for us in terms of giving consumers access to an even wider range of high-definition options."

"We are pleased to expand our relationship with a leader like Panasonic to develop the next generation of digital cable-ready televisions," said Mark Coblitz, Senior Vice President, Technology and Policy, Comcast. "The development of OCAP-powered TVs is another example of how Comcast is working with the CE industry to enhance the consumer viewing experience by making it even easier to enjoy new interactive applications combined with the convenience of integrated digital cable services."

Panasonic and Comcast expect testing of the new OCAP-powered TVs to run through 2007, and are targeting initial commercial availability of the first model for early 2008.

"The integration of OCAP technology into High-Definition Plasma televisions is the future of television. It opens the market for new and exciting interactive applications, including on-screen shopping, game play, voting, and many others that are only now being invented by software developers everywhere," said Dr. Liao.

Panasonic and Comcast will demonstrate OCAP-enabled equipment and applications at the Panasonic booth (#9405, Main Hall) in the Las Vegas Convention Center during the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show, January 8-11.
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post #100 of 860 Old 01-12-2007, 07:42 AM - Thread Starter
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FCC denies Comcast request; "integration ban" coming in July

1/11/2007 12:42:04 PM, by Nate Anderson

The FCC Media Bureau yesterday put the kibosh on Comcast's request to ditch the "integration ban" that goes into effect on July 1, 2007. The FCC decision means that the ban will go forward as scheduled and cable operators will no longer be able to distribute set-top boxes with an integrated security component.

It all sounds pretty arcane, but the integration ban has been the subject of tremendous controversy ever since the FCC proposed it several years ago. Congress directed the FCC to bring a bit of competition to the market for TV "navigation devices" (usually set-top boxes), if possible, and the FCC hit on a plan: require cable operators to offer a separate security module that could be plugged into a set-top box or television from any manufacturer and properly descramble channels. The CableCARD was born.

The consumer electronics industry loved the idea, because it gave them a way to control the television again. Equipment makers could build any box they wanted, secure in the knowledge that a CableCARD would allow full access to any cable company's lineup. But there was still one problem: the cable industry was allowed to market its own boxes, and these were not required to use CableCARD.

The consumer electronics people worried the cable industry would do only the bare minimum to get CableCARD working, and why shouldn't it? There was little incentive for cable to develop and fine-tune a technology that would only benefit its rivals.That's why the FCC also established an "integration ban" for cable companies that would prevent them from integrating both navigation and security functions into a single box. Instead, everyone would have to use CableCARD.

The ruling has garnered nothing but complaints from the cable industry, which argues that forcing it to do things this way will drive up costs, which will then be passed along to customers. One of the major goals of FCC policy has been to develop a robust market for low-end cable boxes for less-affluent consumers to purchase cheaply without being locked into monthly rental fees. Comcast and others complained that the FCC wanted two contradictory things: low-cost boxes and CableCARD in every box.
Downloadable security

But the FCC reiterated its commitment to the July 1 deadline and pointed out that cable companies don't actually need to use a CableCARD at all. CableCARD is just one way of separating the security and navigation functions, but another promising technology called DCAS is on the horizon. DCAS (downloadable content access system) schemes use a security program that each cable operator can download into the set-top box; no physical CableCARD-style device is needed. The advantages are many: lower hardware costs, ability to update security schemes at any time, more flexibility.

Unfortunately, the major cable firms have been unable to get a working DCAS system together in time to meet the July deadline, and they believe that the FCC should waive the ban until such time as DCAS boxes are widely available. The FCC also responded to that objection by pointing out in a separate statement that Beyond Broadband Technology has already developed a working set-top box that uses downloadable security, and the box is cheap. The company has beaten CableLabs (a research company operated by the major cable operators) to market, but its system won't be compatible with the forthcoming CableLabs DCAS implementation. But it's available today, and proves that cable operators who want to use downloadable security can do so in a cost-efficient way.

The FCC ruling has garnered reaction from a whole host of consumer groups that aren't usually associated with cable issues. The head of the Hispanic Federation said in statement that "the FCC mandate to impose a new regressive tax on American consumers who use set-top boxes to access their cable programming will unjustly hurt middle and low income households in Hispanic neighborhoods struggling to bridge the digital divide." She added, "The ban will divert critical resources to the manufacture and deployment of yesterday's technology instead of encouraging companies to invest in new downloadable security that will speed the transition at much lower costs."

The FCC's reaction is simple: downloadable security is here today, and the fact that CableLabs doesn't have its own version working yet is no reason to delay the ban any further.

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070111-8599.html
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post #101 of 860 Old 01-17-2007, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
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CableLabs sets 'safe harbor' HD-VOD bit rate

Trying to find the balance between efficiency and quality is a key challenge faced by operators as they continue to rollout and expand high-definition VOD services.

Until variable bit rate solutions enter the deployment fold (see: Imagine Communications), operators must leverage a constant bit rate "sweet spot" that doesn't gobble up too much capacity, but still provides enough bits to ensure that the picture still looks good to the discerning eye of the HDTV consumer.

It appears that 15 Mbps is that sweet spot for HD-VOD content (movies, ads, etc.) delivered in a constant bit rate, MPEG-2-based stream, according to the recent release of some new "safe harbor" specs from CableLabs. Applying the safe harbor tag gives VOD content aggregators and operators a bar to meet, but doesn't set that bar in concrete.

In addition to the video content, that safe harbor bit rate must also accommodate the audio component (stereo, Dolby 5.1, etc.).

CableLabs - citing a bevy of authors and contributors* released the Metadata 2.0 Specifications Content Encoding Profiles 2.0 Specification on Jan. 5, 2007.

Although expressing concerns and constraints in determining the "optimal" bit rate for a given situation (ie. a show with talking heads, versus a fast-moving sports event), "success has been widely achieved suing the 15 Mbps transport bit rate," the specs explain in regard to the rate for HD-VOD content.

CableLabs adds that other rates are possible, but sets 15 Mbps as the safe harbor for HD-VOD, until improvements in system resource management or encoding (ie. MPEG-4) enter the picture. The safe harbor bit rate for standard-def VOD remained steadfast at 3.75 Mbps.
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post #102 of 860 Old 01-17-2007, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulGo View Post

CableLabs sets 'safe harbor' HD-VOD bit rate

Interesting stuff. If you drill down a ways at the CableLabs site you can find the actual documents. Interesting that they specify a 15mbps rate minimum and that 1080i material should retain a 1080x1920 pixel structure and 720p material should retain a 720x1280 pixel structure. (DirecTV are you paying attention?)

That's encouraging, at least for VOD content, I'd love to see something regarding regular cable feeds, SD and HD.
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post #103 of 860 Old 01-25-2007, 08:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Comcast is also planning to do this maybe this year:

Cablevision Switches With BigBand

JANUARY 24, 2007

In a clear sign that switched digital broadcast has arrived in the cable business, Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC - message board) has rolled out the technology in its huge New York area cable system with BigBand Networks Inc.

Cablevision and BigBand unveiled the deployment earlier today, making the MSO the latest big cable operator to make the move to switched digital. Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Time Warner Cable Inc. , and Cox Communications Inc. have also begun introducing switched digital commercially in some of their cable systems across the country.

The Cablevision rollout, which covers more than 4 million homes passed in New York City and its immediate suburbs, also marks the first time that a major U.S. cable operator has announced a switched digital deployment in any market with a particular tech vendor. While Time Warner has tested switched broadcast with BigBand in at least two markets and plans to roll out the technology commercially, the MSO has not said who it's working with now.

"This announcement proves the technology has been deployed," says Biren Sood, VP of product marketing and business development for BigBand. "This is a completed deployment."

BigBand officials claim that they are now working with nine of the nation's top 10 MSOs to roll out switched digital, a bandwidth-saving technology that enables cable operators to conserve their precious digital spectrum for dozens of more channels and other services. But Cablevision is the first cable customer to acknowledge that it's using BigBand's switched broadcast solution, which consists of the vendor's management server, Broadband Multimedia-Service Router, and Broadband Multimedia-Service Edge equipment and software.

Similarly, Scientific Atlanta and Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT - message board) executives say they are aiding a number of large MSOs with switched digital deployments. But neither tech giant has been able to announce any sizeable cable customer wins just yet.

Cablevision officials say they will use the recovered digital spectrum to deliver nine new, international, "in-language" packages of channels across their service area, encompassing dozens of new channels. The new premium offerings include packages of Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Italian, Japanese, Polish, and Portuguese channels for prices ranging for anywhere from $4.95 to $24.95 per month.

The move by Cablevision comes as the MSO faces stiff competition in the New York area from Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ - message board), which has been rolling out its new FiOS TV service there. Although Cablevision officials insist that FiOS hasn't hurt them much yet, they have been busily boosting broadband speeds to the highest in the cable industry and aggressively rolling out VOIP service.

BigBand officials, who have been championing switched broadcast technology for several years, intend to announce more MSO deployments later this year. The latest version of their switched digital technology is the fourth generation since they first unveiled it.

Competitors, however, play down the significance of the Cablevision announcement. They argue that BigBand will have trouble signing up more cable operators because its proprietary technology doesn't offer as much bandwidth efficiency and cost savings as their offerings, which enable cable operators to use new universal edge QAMs to carry voice, video, and data services simultaneously.

The Cablevision move also comes just one day after cable operators and equipment suppliers, alarmed by an explosion in bandwidth use by cable subscribers over the last couple of years, stressed the need to deploy switched broadcast technology. In a seminar sponsored by PK Worldmedia Inc. in Houston Tuesday, cable engineers portrayed switched digital as probably the most promising way to keep their networks from being overwhelmed by soaring subscriber bandwidth consumption. (See Cable Confronts Bandwidth Crunch.)

Alan Breznick, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

http://www.lightreading.com/document...15441&site=cdn
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post #104 of 860 Old 01-28-2007, 08:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Comcast Sets Switched-Video Rollout
By Todd Spangler 1/25/2007 6:40:00 PM


Houston -- Comcast is conducting trials of switched digital video in two markets and expects to deploy services based on the technology in the second half of 2007, vice president of production-platform engineering Rick Rioboli said.

Rioboli, speaking on a panel at the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers' Conference on Emerging Technologies here Wednesday, said switched digital video will be the key mechanism to let operators deliver more HD channels.

"If a programmer comes to us and says, 'We want you to carry new HD channels' we're stuck in that bandwidth problem," he added. The move to switched digital video will mean "we don't have to plan two or three years in advance which channels we're going to be dropping to carry HD."

Switched-digital-video systems can deliver channels more efficiently than broadcasting them by sending video streams to a subscriber only when a channel is requested. The assumption is that not every channel in a switched group will be viewed simultaneously.

In an interview, Rioboli said the trials in the first half of the year are intended to make sure that the systems are technically stable and Comcast can effectively manage them.

"We're done with the vendor evaluation and system design," he added. "Now we need to get to the point where we can realistically deploy and manage it."

Rioboli declined to specify the two trial markets. Comcast is a customer of BigBand Networks, a maker of switched-digital-video gear, according to BigBand's regulatory filing last month for its initial public offering.

Cablevision Systems this week became the first major operator to announce services made available through switched digital video with the launch of iO International, a group of nine in-language packages featuring dozens of channels from around the world in Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Hindi and other languages.

Cablevision is using BigBand's equipment to offer iO International to all of its 2.3 million digital-cable subscribers.

http://www.multichannel.com/article/...=Breaking+News
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post #105 of 860 Old 01-29-2007, 03:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Comcast, TWC rolling DSG; Comcast OCAP and switched video to come
By Brian Santo, CED
January 26, 2007

HOUSTON - Comcast Cable has introduced DOCSIS Set-top Gateway (DSG) technology in 10 systems and will spend 2007 implementing it across its entire footprint, according to Richard Rioboli, Comcast's VP of product platform engineering.

Time Warner Cable, meanwhile, will also begin a nationwide rollout of DSG, said Howard Pfeffer, the MSO's group vice president, broadband engineering and technology.

Rioboli and Pfeffer were among the speakers and presenters featured here Wednesday at the SCTE Conference on Emerging Technologies.

Rioboli said Comcast will also lab test OCAP this quarter, and engage in a market test in Q2, with plans to have a few deployments before the end of the year. Comcast has been saying for a year that it had plans to pursue switched digital video technology, and Rioboli confirmed Comcast is conducting trials of SDV in two markets, with an expanded rollout slated for the balance of 2007.

Cablevision Systems Corp. earlier this week announced a switched broadcast deployment that will support a new slate of "in-language" programming services. Time Warner Cable, meanwhile, is considered an early champion of SDV. Following an initial launch in Austin, Texas, in mid-2005, Time Warner has introduced the technology in eight of its 27 divisions, a spokesperson confirmed.

Comcast and TWC are huge and far from monolithic; each has numerous systems that are variously configured. Just like every other provider, they want to introduce new services and applications, but in order for a company to do that on a national basis, it will first have to standardize its configurations, according to Rioboli.

"It may not be sexy, but it's important," he said. Having so many different configurations makes it difficult to do even seemingly simple things, he explained. "You want to introduce a new program guide? First you have to figure out how many configurations you have."

DSG is a signaling platform that uses standard DOCSIS technologies - rather than legacy proprietary signaling methods - to communicate with set-top boxes. Although a DOCSIS connection could conceivably be used for unicasting video, its initial uses are very likely to be as a means for extracting data from set-tops and downloading data to them - program guides, for example. It is also viewed as an enabler for a forthcoming downloadable conditional access system (DCAS).

But Comcast will still need as many different versions of an application as it has set-top boxes. That's where the OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP) comes in. OCAP essentially severs the direct connection between an application and the operating system resident on a set-top box. That would allow an operator to write a single version of an application (a program guide, for example) and be assured it will run on all STBs outfitted with the CableLabs-specified OCAP middleware.

Another potential advantage of DSG is that it can be used to perform an end-around the set-top's conditional access (CA) system. Motorola and Scientific Atlanta incorporate their own CA technologies that are not only proprietary but closed. That means if an operator wants to run an application, it cannot always be sure it'll be able to without first consulting the CA provider.

With a DSG tunnel to the STB, operators could simply avoid the legacy CA system.

Rioboli said that Comcast will spend most of '07 concentrating on rolling out DSG. Comcast previously said it plans to test OCAP in Philadelphia, Denver, and Union, N.J. Comcast has not revealed which of its systems now have DSG, nor which two cities are hosting the SDV tests.

"We're going to take a similar approach - just get DSG out there," Pfeffer said. It's vitally important for cable companies to be able to differentiate themselves, Pfeffer added, "so we have to have a uniform presence across all our platforms."

"Even if you had a killer app, it's hard to deploy," Rioboli said. "And there's no silver bullet for solving that."

http://www.broadband-today.com/artic....html?nid=2907
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post #106 of 860 Old 02-28-2007, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Major Cable Operators Sign Up for OCAP Technology Licenses

Louisville, Colorado, January 31, 2007Major cable operators Comcast and Time Warner Cable have executed required agreements to license essential OpenCable Applications Platform (OCAP) intellectual property and obtain security certificates for OCAP applications.

The agreements include a patent license from Via Licensing for essential patents required to implement OCAP. Via Licensing serves as the OCAP patent pool licensing administrator. See www.vialicensing.com.

This is an important and explicit endorsement of our OCAP strategy, said Mark Coblitz, Senior Vice President for Strategic Planning at Comcast. Executing the proper OCAP agreements is a necessary step in fulfilling legal obligations and signals the next step towards OCAP deployment, he added.

Separately, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, and Charter have obtained OCAP code verification signing certificates from CableLabs. The certificates are used to sign and validate interactive OCAP applications running on their cable networks.

OCAP is the middleware specification CableLabs has established to enable application writers to create new interactive services that will run on a broad range of advanced digital set tops and cable-ready TVs. See www.opencable.com.

Founded in 1988 by members of the cable television industry, Cable Television Laboratories is a non-profit research and development consortium that is dedicated to pursuing new cable telecommunications technologies and to helping its cable operator members integrate those advancements into their business objectives. Cable operators from around the world are members. CableLabs maintains web sites at www.cablelabs.com; www.packetcable.com; www.cablemodem.com; www.cablenet.org; and www.opencable.com.

CableLabs®, DOCSIS®, CableHome®, PacketCable, OpenCable, OCAP, CableCARD, M-Card, DCAS, Go2BroadbandSM and CableNET® are marks of Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

http://www.cablelabs.com/news/pr/200...ap_013107.html
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post #107 of 860 Old 03-02-2007, 07:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Mar 01, 2007 18:00

CableLabs(R) Announces Initiative to Create Specifications for Receiving Off-Air Digital Broadcasts
LOUISVILLE, Colo. --(Business Wire)-- Mar. 1, 2007 CableLabs, the cable television industry's technology development consortium, announced it is working on an initiative to develop cable interface specifications for receipt of off-air digital broadcast signals.

The interface specifications would enable devices to receive digital off-air television signals and would deliver these digital signals seamlessly through a cable set-top box. This technology would allow consumers to receive broadcast television signals as an integrated viewing experience. The concept combines the over-the-air digital television transmission with the television programming carried by the cable provider.

Founded in 1988 by members of the cable television industry, Cable Television Laboratories is a non-profit research and development consortium that is dedicated to pursuing new cable telecommunications technologies and to helping its cable operator members integrate those advancements into their business objectives. Cable operators from around the world are members.
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post #108 of 860 Old 03-30-2007, 07:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Cable's Bandwidth Shortage: A Looming Capex Crisis

Evidence continues to mount that operators of cable networks in North America face another phase of significant capital investment to maintain equal competitive footing against large incumbent telcos that are now deploying fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) networks. An internal report created in summer 2006 by CableLabs, the research consortium of the cable industry, advised that cable operators eventually will have to replace their existing (and rebuilt) hybrid fiber-coax (HFC) networks with FTTP. Although cable industry executives have said there's no immediate need to move to FTTP, it's likely that operators serving markets in which telcos are installing fiber will have to start making the transition within the next three years.

News of the still unreleased CableLabs report sent a shiver through the cable industry, because it focused unwanted public attention on the industry's Achilles' heel: After spending more than $100 billion over the past decade to upgrade headends, lines, and other equipment to create greater radio frequency (RF) capacity, cable operators still face a bandwidth shortage. As a result, just as MSO capex budgets had finally begun to edge downward after years of heavy plant expenditures, bandwidth and competitive pressures are prompting cable operators to begin boosting their outlays again.

This situation is somewhat similar to that of a decade ago, when the capacity requirements of more analog channels, new digital video services, and rudimentary high-speed Internet access drove the last wave of cable network upgrades. Today, new bandwidth-hogging applications such as high-definition television (HDTV) programming, Internet video downloads, video-on-demand (VOD) services, time-shifting features, file-sharing applications, real-time gaming, and ever-faster broadband speeds are driving the coming wave of upgrades.

All of these services are conspiring with the already heavy load of analog channels to gobble up the increased capacity of freshly upgraded 750MHz and 860MHz cable systems. Thus, they threaten the ability of MSOs to match the video offerings of ambitious satellite TV providers, such as DirecTV and EchoStar; and the video and broadband offerings of aggressive telco providers, such as AT&T and Verizon.

Cable operators have an array of possible methods at their disposal to cope with the industry's pending capacity crunch. The roster of technological options available to the industry ranges from relatively simple, inexpensive techniques such as node splitting and switched digital video (SDV) to more advanced, costly methods such as 1GHz plant upgrades, virtual channel bonding, and out-of-band spectrum overlays. Several leading MSOs are already beginning to choose one or more of these options as they prepare for the great bandwidth battles to come.

The questions that cable operators face include determining which bandwidth-enhancing solutions to adopt, when to adopt them, and at what price. If an operator makes the correct decisions, it may stave off the pending capacity crunch for a few more years - which could be long enough to convert all subscribers to digital transmission and thereby gain access to virtually unlimited capacity. If an operator chooses wrongly, it faces years of network traffic congestion, bandwidth shortages, and mounting subscriber losses to satellite and telco competitors. Clearly, the stakes are high.

Cable's Bandwidth Shortage: A Looming Capex Crisis provides critical insight and analysis for a range of industry participants, including:

Cable operators facing the prospect of system upgrades to address future bandwidth issues
Telecom operators now competing with cable operators for business and residential customers
Technology suppliers assessing the market opportunity for cable network upgrades
Investors needing a better understanding of the scale of investment that will be required by the cable industry, and the technology suppliers that are best positioned to capitalized on projected capex spending

http://www.lightreading.com/cable/
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post #109 of 860 Old 04-01-2007, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulGo View Post

Cable's Bandwidth Shortage: A Looming Capex Crisis

An internal report created in summer 2006 by CableLabs, the research consortium of the cable industry, advised that cable operators eventually will have to replace their existing (and rebuilt) hybrid fiber-coax (HFC) networks with FTTP.

'FTTP', I know is, 'Fiber To The Premises', so does that mean once it gets to the house/bldg., one can still using existing RG59 or RG6 coaxial through the premises?
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post #110 of 860 Old 04-02-2007, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QZ1 View Post

'FTTP', I know is, 'Fiber To The Premises', so does that mean once it gets to the house/bldg., one can still using existing RG59 or RG6 coaxial through the premises?

Yes, RG-6.

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post #111 of 860 Old 04-03-2007, 07:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by QZ1 View Post

'FTTP', I know is, 'Fiber To The Premises', so does that mean once it gets to the house/bldg., one can still using existing RG59 or RG6 coaxial through the premises?

RG6 is preferable because of the lower signal loss and better shielding. If you have existing RG59 you can alway try it to see if you can get satisfactory results. I have a mixture in my house with Comcast digital cable and it works.
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post #112 of 860 Old 04-03-2007, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QZ1 View Post

'FTTP', I know is, 'Fiber To The Premises', so does that mean once it gets to the house/bldg., one can still using existing RG59 or RG6 coaxial through the premises?

The FiOS "ONT" box downconverts the entire TV spectrum, which is carried on fiber via a particular laser "color".

The ONT's TV coax output is the same as a standard cable coax, with a bunch of Analog channels in the lower
channel positions and QAM256 digital channels up through 850 MHz--the same as most cable systems.

So if your RG-59 is good enough for cable, it should still be good enough for FiOS.

========================================
Two different laser colors carry the very high speed, SHARED, two-way data streams on that same fiber.
This very high speed data capability (622 Mbps down, 155 Mbps up) is the biggest difference between
fiber and cable....where under current DOCSIS 1.0/1.1, you SHARE the capacity of a singe QAM-256 carrier
(43 Mbps) with your neighbors and SHARED uplink capacity is limited to 10 Mbps.

FYI: Cable uplink occurs in the frequency band below CH2 (57 MHz).
Although I currently enjoy "up to " 5 Mbps downlink on cable, my uplink is only "up to" 384 kbps (that's 0.384 Mbps).
Hence it takes a while to transmit big files and limits the PQ of video conferencing and SlingBox operations.

DOCSIS 3.0 improvements due out "soon" should significantly improve these numbers.

I'm also looking forward to FiOS....but probably not likely in my AT&T neighborhood.
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post #113 of 860 Old 04-04-2007, 01:54 PM
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Thanks for the replies.

We live in a municipality that has had Verizon FIOS approved, but I know condo buildings/houses need board appoval, and will probably done last. I know they talked to a nearby condo board, I don't know about here.

In our high-rise, a Comcast in-house tech claimed they changed all of the wiring going up to the unit through risers to RG6 (possibly QS), and then we have RG59-QS throughout the unit; Comcast HD works fine with plenty of signal and SNR.
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post #114 of 860 Old 04-06-2007, 08:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Comcast: Digital Set-Tops to Deliver 120 HDTV Channels
The cable operator plans to switch from analog to digital.

By Phillip Swann

Washington, D.C. (April 6, 2007) -- Comcast officials in Chicago say current digital set-tops will be able to deliver 120 High-Definition channels in 2008.

That's according to an article in The Chicago Sun-Times.

The newspaper reports that Comcast is switching all analog cable set-tops to digital boxes by July 1. The move is designed to prepare for the nation's switch to Digital TV on February 17, 2009, the Sun-Times writes.
"Analog TV is going away, and digital TV is coming. People are going to have clearer pictures and better sound. They will have interactive guides, and 40 free channels of Music Choice and a special universal remote control," said Eric Schaefer, Comcast's vice president of sales in the Chicago area.

But Comcast officials also told the newspaper that the digital set-tops will have enough bandwidth for 120 high-def channels, 400 digital channels and 10,000 streams for Video on Demand.

Comcast now carries around 20 high-def channels, but has said it's experimenting with a new technology called Digital Video Switching that could enable it to dramatically expand capacity.

Schaefer added that the new set-tops will enable subscribers to order or cancel channels by using the Internet.

Chicago area customers can upgrade to the digital boxes by either ordering one via the mail or pick up one at Comcast's office.

The company did not reveal plans for the digital upgrade in other cities.

http://www.tvpredictions.com/comcast040607.htm
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As is often the case with Swann articles, he gets the facts wrong. Even more annoying, he doesn't link to the original article at his site. The below is the article as it was actually written.

Note the below statement from Swann,

"But Comcast officials also told the newspaper that the digital set-tops will have enough bandwidth for 120 high-def channels, 400 digital channels and 10,000 streams for Video on Demand."

and then the actual statement from the article,

"He said the new digital boxes also will make available huge amounts of extra bandwidth, enough to add 120 high-def channels, 400 digital channels and 10,000 streams of video on demand."

Interesting article though(the original), as I thought Comcast has stated many times in the past that they were going to retain a group of analog channels well past 2009. It appears now that policy has changed. That July 1st date seems rather ambitious as well, that's a lot of truck rolls.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Beam me up! Comcast going all-digital soon
VP promises improved picture, sound

April 6, 2007
BY HOWARD WOLINSKY hwolinsky@suntimes.com
Ready or not, Comcast's Chicago customers on older analog services are going digital by July 1.

Eric Schaefer, Comcast vice president of sales and marketing in Schaumburg, said, "Analog TV is going away, and digital TV is coming. People are going to have clearer pictures and better sound. They will have interactive guides, and 40 free channels of Music Choice and a special universal remote control."

At the customer's choice, the cable giant will either send the customer a new Motorola digital cable box in the mail or the consumer can pick up a device at Comcast's offices.

The change doesn't affect the vast majority of Comcast's 2 million Chicago area customers because they already receive digital services.

Comcast is aiming to prepare its customers for the federally mandated migration from analog to high-definition/digital services by Feb. 17, 2009, Schaefer said.

Initially, Chicago customers with "standard" cable service, including local TV stations plus analog cable -- such as Comedy Central, MTV and ESPN -- will be migrated to the new service.

"We're doing the city first. Then, we'll do the suburbs," Schaefer said.

Consumers with basic cable, with just the local broadcasts, public education and government channels, also will be converted to digital boxes by 2009.

Schaefer said setting up the new cable boxes is simple, just switching three to six wires.

"It can be done in a couple minutes," he said. "They don't even have to set up the clock. The satellite will do that for them."

If consumers find this challenging, they can book a service call.

He said the new boxes will enable these consumers to add services, such as HBO or Showtime, with a phone call or placing an order on the Internet.

"Once these boxes are in the house, people won't have to wait for the cable guy," he said.

He said the new digital boxes also will make available huge amounts of extra bandwidth, enough to add 120 high-def channels, 400 digital channels and 10,000 streams of video on demand.

http://www.suntimes.com/business/330...able06.article
Beam me up! Comcast going all-digital soon :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Business

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

P.S. Not picking on you Paul, it's just that I've learned to always verify something Swann has stated.
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post #116 of 860 Old 04-06-2007, 11:41 AM
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...
Beam me up! Comcast going all-digital soon
VP promises improved picture, sound

April 6, 2007
BY HOWARD WOLINSKY hwolinsky@suntimes.com
...

The change doesn't affect the vast majority of Comcast's 2 million Chicago area customers because they already receive digital services.
...

Schaefer said setting up the new cable boxes is simple, just switching three to six wires.

"It can be done in a couple minutes," he said. "They don't even have to set up the clock. The satellite will do that for them."

It does not sound like they are addressing the thousands of TV sets in homes without any cable box at all, e.g., 2nd and 3rd TVs, even when the "main" TV might have a digital cable box.

Interesting comment from the cable company about the "satellite" setting up the clock for them.

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post #117 of 860 Old 04-06-2007, 11:52 AM
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It does not sound like they are addressing the thousands of TV sets in homes without any cable box at all, e.g., 2nd and 3rd TVs, even when the "main" TV might have a digital cable box.

That article you quoted says all 'Standard' subs will be converted to Digital, and 'Basic' subs by '09. The article references going 'all-Digital' a couple of times, although leaving Basic in Analog, makes it not exactly true, almost. But, the point seems to be that 'Expanded' service in Analog is disappearing, as a Comcast person is quoted as saying. I don't think this is just a case of giving Analog subs one Digital Box and then more in the future; rather any TVs that want more than Basic will need a Box.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QZ1 View Post

That article you quoted says all 'Standard' subs will be converted to Digital, and 'Basic' subs by '09. The article references going 'all-Digital' a couple of times, although leaving Basic in Analog, makes it not exactly true, almost. But, the point seems to be that 'Expanded' service in Analog is disappearing, as a Comcast person is quoted as saying. I don't think this is just a case of giving Analog subs one Digital Box and then more in the future; rather any TVs that want more than Basic will need a Box.

The article is severely lacking in details, note that the word standard is in quotes and is not capitalized as in it being a distinct service package like Standard Cable. It's hard to determine exactly what that VP sales/marketing means.

As Comcast has repeatedly said in the past, that they will retain an analog basic channel group, one would have to assume that a major change in policy would not come from a local VP.

Given all that, I agree that the article "seems' to be very misleading and lacking in details.
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post #119 of 860 Old 04-06-2007, 02:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Keenan, thanks for the clarification.
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post #120 of 860 Old 04-06-2007, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

The article is severely lacking in details, note that the word standard is in quotes and is not capitalized as in it being a distinct service package like Standard Cable. It's hard to determine exactly what that VP sales/marketing means.

As Comcast has repeatedly said in the past, that they will retain an analog basic channel group, one would have to assume that a major change in policy would not come from a local VP.

Given all that, I agree that the article "seems' to be very misleading and lacking in details.

"standard" cable service is clear, regardless whether they capitalize or not; you are nitpicking. Later they say, basic cable; that is not capitilized, yet it was clear to you?

It is clear that they say 'Standard' subs will get a Digital Box, and 'Basic' subs will get one by '09. So, it is clear that Basic will be simulcasted in Analog for a while, up to Feb. '09, at most. There is no apparent shift in policy.

It is contradictory to say 'all-Digital' while leaving Basic in Analog. And it doesn't specify secondary TVs. By saying Digital customers aren't affected, they are indeed implying the opposite that Analog will remain for 'Standard' for other TVs. But, from hearing actual users, that 'Expanded' will disappear, it is just a mistake in the article. All TVs w/o a Digital box will need one.

Articles regarding technology being incorrect, incomplete, and misleading are nothing new, unfortuantely. I agree, to the uninformed, this article is poor.
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