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post #241 of 838
Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post

From a consumer's point of view this would be much better than Comcast getting the DTA security mode waiver from the FCC, because QAM tuners would be as useful as analog then. But Comcast might not want to keep maintaining the traps so encryption is probably better from their point of view. So far they've had a senior VP say that they're going to keep them in the clear for now because they haven't had a problem working it out with the content providers. Since these clear channels are all SD (none of the HD expanded basic channels are in the clear after a migration, I think) it's probably not a hard sell, assuming they keep using the traps.

Bingo! And if the content providers would have balked, (but you are right, why would they have, when they are still SD), then Comcast would have had to have deployed CableCard SD Digital Boxes, instead; which is what they did in earlier markets before the DTAs were ready.
post #242 of 838
Originally Posted by QZ1 View Post

Not for long. As soon as they shift frequencies they will be filtered out, just like before.

All of the Digital Expd. Basic channels? Or do mean just SD Expd. Basic?

AFAIK, HD Expd. Basic is still encrypted.

Just the Standard channels, the 2-80+, my area actually goes into the low 100's. No HD counterparts for any of those channels. I'll have them for awhile as my area is not expected to be changed officially(analog 35-80+ actually shutoff) until late in 2009.
post #243 of 838
Thread Starter 
Tru2way Platform and Advanced Interactive Services Highlight CableNET® 2009 Technology Showcase
March 11, 2009 03:42 PM Eastern Daylight Time

NCTA's The Cable Show 2009

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Tru2way technology, including hardware, content/applications and test equipment, will play a major role in this year's CableNET® at The Cable Show 09 April 1-3 in Washington, D.C. Tru2way is the brand name for interactive digital cable services delivered over the cable video network.

Other applications and services that will be showcased in this industry exhibit include online broadband video, social networking, advanced advertising and home networking.

Tru2way applications follow CableLabs'® OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP) specification which is based on Sun Microsystems' widely accepted Java technology. Examples of tru2way applications include interactive program guides, interactive ads, games, chat, web browsing, and t-commerce. In addition, several companies will participate in the technology showcase by using the EBIF (Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format) specification, a separate technology which enables interactive applications to run on the millions of digital set tops already deployed by cable operators.

CableNET is a technology showcase that is co-sponsored by CableLabs and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), and offers a hands-on experience with many of the most exciting content, services, and applications.

Among the companies that will be demonstrating tru2way technology are Amdocs, BIAP, NDS, Samsung, UniSoft and Zodiac Interactive. Another highlight of CableNET this year is advanced network management, featuring Mixed Signals, Motorola, Sandvine and SupportSoft.

CableNET 09 will once again include a theater to house project primers and presentations by CableLabs staff. Topics will include business services, 3DTV, and tru2way technology.

Historically, CableNET has provided attendees a first glimpse of many nascent, leading-edge technologies and applications. Those included early views of the cable industry's Data over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS®) platform; high-definition televisions; two-way, OCAP-based devices, and early displays of interactive services and Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP).

Participating companies with brief descriptions of their demonstrations follow:

* Amdocs will demonstrate how a cable customer can self activate services on a tru2way set-top box
* Aspera will show file transfer technology for cable applications.
* Aurora Networks will show how an RFoG deployment can be seamlessly extended to an all-IP access network using PON technology. Additionally, it will exhibit key components of its fiber deep solution, showing how bandwidth can be cost-effectively increased while reducing operating expenses.
* Beyond Broadband Technology, LLC, (BBT) will show The BBTSolution, an open standard downloadable security system.
* BIAP will exhibit an enhanced binary interchange format (EBIF) system for cable operators.
* CableLabs will present a group of cable programming networks, including Starz and HSN, which have developed interactive entertainment and shopping applications, running on the ETV/EBIF or tru2way platforms. For example, a Starz EBIF application features a mini-guide that links the Starz linear channel to Starz On Demand content to bring current subscribers more value through an enhanced viewer experience.
* F-Secure will display security applications.
* Infinera plans to show digital optical transport systems based on photonic integrated circuits, which enable Digital ROADMs to deliver a full range of services including 40 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s services.
* IPgallery will demonstrate its converged DTV-IPTV solution delivering Enhanced TV (ETV) services infused with Telco 2.0 and Web 2.0 based on its unique network-centric IMS architecture.
* Irdeto will exhibit its end-to-end solutions for home networking, and its digital to analog (DTA) converter that includes a state of the art, low cost, high security downloadable CA system.
* Mixed Signals will demonstrate a solution that provides cable operators with the ability to determine severity of any video problems in the network and how much these errors affect viewers.
* Motorola will exhibit its NBBS device management software platform. It will also exhibit the benefits of synchronous code division multiple access (SCDMA) as it relates to enhanced upstream data throughput.
* NDS plans to show a range of set top box and home networking technologies that are made possible by tru2way technology.
* Netezza will demonstrate a high-performance enterprise-class data warehouse appliance that maximizes the impact of BI.
* OpenTV plans to showcase EclipsePlus, their leading campaign management solution as well as a real time Ad Decision Service for a variety of applications, including linear, video-on-demand and addressable advertising.
* RGB Networks will display a complete cable architecture in three rack units, enabling operators to deliver a full range of revenue generating video services.
* Samsung plans to display tru2way-based set tops, home networking and portability applications.
* Sandvine will demonstrate how its carrier grade solution can enable a variety of subscriber services by leveraging devices that support standards-based interfaces.
* Shenick will demonstrate its DOCSIS 3.0 test systems used to determine real performance on a per flow basis for multi-service video, voice and data test systems.
* Sigma Designs will showcase a DOCSIS 3.0-based set top box client server reference design that supports voice, data, video, and access control as well as simultaneous record capability for multiple video channels.
* SupportSoft will demonstrate a program that allows cable providers to deliver value-added service such as personalized content, support resolution and software fulfillment with ease.
* Synacor will showcase its unique ability to enable ISPs to further engage their customers through its online portal, suite of value added services and converged product offerings.
* thePlatform will demonstrate social media recommendations merged with cable and broadband delivered video.
* This Technology plans to show its products that help operators manage their supply of advertising opportunities.
* UniSoft and S&T will demonstrate five tru2way and enhanced TV (ETV) and EBIF application creation, testing and delivery options.
* Zodiac Interactive will showcase its PowerUp software services framework which promises to enable rapid deployment of tru2way applications and advanced TV and advertising.

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.

post #244 of 838
If I'm reading this right, only Samsung is going to demo STBs, with no mention of DVRs. Sad. We need some competition in the cable DVR space.
post #245 of 838
Thread Starter 
Comcast Sends In the All-Digital 'Cavalry'
March 5, 2009 | Jeff Baumgartner

Two Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) markets -- Chattanooga, Tenn., and the Philadelphia region -- are next in line to get the MSO's "all-digital" treatment.

Dozens of analog channels will be moved to digital in those markets later this year. For now, Comcast is offering to install digital set-tops and one-way digital terminal adapters (DTAs) during routine truck rolls before the market is considered to be "on the clock" for the actual migration of analog channels to the digital domain.

"The goal is to get consumers ahead of the digital curve," says Comcast spokeswoman Alana Davis.

Referred to by Comcast as "Project Cavalry," the MSO's all-digital upgrade typically involves moving 40 analog channels or more to digital, a process that frees up valuable spectrum for more high-definition television and video-on-demand services, and Docsis 3.0. Although 40 or so channels are being moved to digital, Comcast, depending on the market, is still leaving about 30 channels, including local broadcast network feeds, in analog.

As Cavalry rides into town, customers who subscribe to Comcast's expanded basic tier are given one entry-level set-top and two DTAs for no added cost for as long as they remain Comcast customers. The interactive box supports the MSO's guide and apps such as video-on-demand. The one-way DTAs simply convert digital channels to analog format. (See Comcast Seeds Digital Shift With Free Boxes and Comcast Pursuing $35 Digital Dongle.)

Comcast already has Cavalry underway or completed in the Bay Area; Portland and Salem, Ore.; and Seattle and other parts of Washington. (See Comcast 'Cavalry' Rides Into NoCal and Comcast IDs First DTA Market.)

Comcast expects to start channel migrations in Chattanooga on a zone-by-zone basis starting in mid-April. The MSO hasn't announced when channel switches will start in the Philly region.

Speaking at a Deutsche Bank Securities conference yesterday, Comcast CFO Michael Angelakis said the MSO expects to go all-digital in about half its footprint this year.

Comcast has previously estimated it will need as many as 25 million DTAs to complete the job. Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), Thomson (NYSE: TMS; Euronext Paris: 18453), and Pace Micro Technology are Comcast's announced DTA suppliers. (See Comcast's DTAs: Security Optional .)

Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

post #246 of 838
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post

If I'm reading this right, only Samsung is going to demo STBs, with no mention of DVRs. Sad. We need some competition in the cable DVR space.

Other companies are committed to producing Tru2way products, but I agree with you it would be nice to see an announcement to Tru2way DVRs.


However I did find this:

TiVo is also teaming up with SeaChange International to integrate cable video-on-demand services into next-generation HD DVR systems.

post #247 of 838
Yes and that's very good for Tivo because it removes the 'but it doesn't have OnDemand' argument that you hear from time to time. But I want to see Tivo pushed to make a better product, because their UI in particular is aging badly.
And the new Moxi HD DVR ain't it, they're not going anywhere with that overpriced product right now.
post #248 of 838
Thread Starter 
Sony-Comcast Store Has Tru2way 'Set-Back' Box
March 16, 2009 | Jeff Baumgartner

A tru2way "set-back" box that Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) intends to sell alongside some of its Bravia high-definition digital televisions is one of the items that will be demonstrated at a new retail store in Philadelphia that will carry the Sony and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) brands.

Although this will mark the device's first presence at retail, the hideaway box, developed by Advanced Digital Broadcast (ADB) , isn't for sale, at least not yet. (See ADB Develops Tru2way 'Set-Back' and Sony Drives ADB's Set-Back.)

A Comcast spokeswoman confirmed that the device is one of several items that will be demonstrated in the "future" labs portion of the 3,400 square-foot retail outlet. In similar lab settings, Comcast and Sony will also show off a 100 Mbit/s wideband Internet service based on the CableLabs Docsis 3.0 platform, and an "enhanced" cordless phone that hooks into the operator's cable modem service, and allows customers to check email and voice mail messages and access address books and a yellow pages application.

Full article at:

post #249 of 838
Thread Starter 
April 3, 2009, 11:42 am
Cable Is Building Apps for Your TV Slowly
By Saul Hansell

The cable industry needs to learn a lesson or two from Apple's iPhone. That's a message I heard throughout my time at the Cable Show in Washington. In particular, several executives boasted of new technology that would open set-top boxes to applications written by independent developers, much as Apple has done with the iTunes App store.

There is no question that the iPhone, not to mention so many other examples on the Internet, show that open systems can create lots of value for companies and their customers alike.

But there is a key part of Apple's model the industry hasn't even begun to emulate: speed to market.

The interactive application generating the biggest buzz at the show is a widget from Starz, the cable movie channel, that Comcast is preparing to deploy. Soon, if you push a button on your remote control while you are watching Starz, a little menu will pop up with some links to the Starz programs on your cable system's video-on-demand system. One button lets you start the program you are watching. One switches to the same program in high-definition. Another shows you a list of the others available. And one simply displays the next show on the regular channel.

So let's compare five years' work: Apple designs an innovative smartphone, sells millions of them, creates the App Store and approves 25,000 separate applications, which have been downloaded by users more than 800 million times. Cable is about to roll out an application that can change channels. It's working really hard to deliver weather and stock quotes sometime real soon now.

The open software standards that cable executives are touting this week date back before the word iPhone ever passed Steve Jobs's lips.

Not only is the industry slow, it seems oblivious to what people actually want to do most with technology: communicate with each other. Hasn't anyone noticed that more than a few cable users also are on Facebook, and just maybe they might like a way to recommend cable shows they are watching to their friends and see what other friends are saying about the show they are watching? And wouldn't this application be a good thing to offer now, while Facebook is hot, rather than in five years, when it will be old news?

It doesn't help that the term for the technology here sounds like the sound you make when you are punched in the gut: It is E.B.I.F. That's pronounced ee-BIF and it stands for Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format. That doesn't really explain things much. Does this help? It is a subset of the OpenCable Application Platform (or O.C.A.P.). How's this? They're both formats that allow people to write little applications and widgets that will run on set-top boxes. E.B.I.F. is simpler and thus can run on older boxes.

I asked all this of Richard R. Green, who runs CableLabs, the industry research group behind the set-top box standard and many other technologies used by the cable industry. He said that the process is complicated because every application needs to be tested to make sure it can run on a variety of hardware, so that it doesn't cause trouble with the cable company networks.

In addition, any developer needs to call up each cable company to strike a deal for distribution. Not that they are ready to take those calls. We haven't figured out the business model to go with this yet, Mr. Green said.

(Here's a hint. The Apple iTunes store takes 30 percent of all App sales; Free applications are distributed free. Pretty simple; no squadron of lawyers needed.)

It's no surprise, then, that the first company to manage this minefield is Starz, which is controlled by John Malone, the ultimate cable insider. This is hardly showing how the cable industry is opening itself to innovation from the wide world of creative developers.

If things don't change, I'm quite convinced that in the next year or two, a future version of Apple TV will be released with a version of the iTunes store to sell apps that are meant for the television, and the cable industry will wonder what hit it.

Comcast is introducing an open platform, a little bit like the iPhone where entrepreneurs can write applications, said David L. Cohen, an executive vice president. In our lab in Philadelphia, we have guys working on widgets, a Yahoo Finance widget, a Flickr widget, a weather widget that could be downloaded and run on set-top boxes.

We were and are slow, Mr. Cohen said. We are moving faster and getting better. There are a half a dozen applications on the show floor here. That is giving people a taste of what could be.

post #250 of 838
Thread Starter 
Comcast Expanding 'All-Digital' Domain
April 17, 2009
Jeff Baumgartner

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has started the "all-digital" process in parts of its Boston- and Atlanta-area systems as the MSO continues to free up space for more HD networks and the speedier Docsis 3.0 cable modem platform. (See Comcast Sets Wideband Goal .)

The MSO says it's already starting to migrate some analog channels to the digital domain in Winder, Ga., with plans to do the same in nearby North Fulton County in the next month or so, according to Comcast spokeswoman Alana Davis. The MSO will continue doing that in the Atlanta area on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis.

Comcast isn't that far along yet in the Boston area, but it has started the "marination" process in Newburyport. In that early, preparatory phase, the MSO is proactively installing digital boxes and simpler, one-way digital terminal adapters (DTAs) during routine truck rolls before the market is "on the clock" for the analog-to-digital channel migration.

Marination is also underway in the MSO's Philadelphia region. The initiative, dubbed internally as "Project Cavalry," is already started or completed in the Bay Area; Portland and Salem, Ore.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; and Seattle and other parts of Washington. (See Comcast Sends In the All-Digital 'Cavalry' and Comcast 'Cavalry' Rides Into NoCal .)

A key goal of Cavalry is to move about 40 analog channels from the operator's expanded basic programming tier to digital, while leaving its basic "B1" tier (about 20 channels, depending on the market) in analog. In those markets, the MSO is giving each expanded basic customer two DTAs and one entry-level, interactive set-top (so it supports the MSO's interactive program guide and video-on-demand apps) for no additional cost for as long as they remain Comcast customers. (See Comcast Seeds Digital Shift With Free Boxes.)

Balance of article at:

post #251 of 838
Thread Starter 
Comcast Offers Glimpse of Flash Strategy
April 21, 2009 | Jeff Baumgartner

Flash players may be coming to a tru2way cable set-top box near you someday, but just don't expect the first implementations to carry Web TV fare from the likes of YouTube Inc. , Hulu LLC , and Fancast.

Instead, expect to see some some widgets and other simple Flash-based applications that can be embedded into an MSO's interactive program guide (IPG).

Cable's interest in running Flash in the set-top has run hot and cold in recent years, but the topic heated up again yesterday when Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE) announced a spate of partners -- including Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) -- that aim to bring Flash to digital televisions, set-tops, and Blu-Ray players. (See Adobe Extends Flash.)

For cable, this opens the possibility of carrying Internet video into the home via something like a hybrid QAM-IP set-top with a Docsis 3.0 cable modem.

"There might need to be some modifications of the tru2way [specification], but all the hooks are in there to make Flash video playback possible" in Java-based tru2way set-tops, says an exec with a vendor that develops tru2way middleware.

But don't get too excited, Web TV fans. That's not what Comcast has in mind.

"We do want to see this [Flash] ship on actual set-top boxes," Comcast senior vice president and chief software architect Sree Kotay tells Cable Digital News. But he envisions Comcast starting out with more "lightweight" apps that can be embedded with the IPG, such as email readers and weather widgets.

Getting even to that point will take a while. Comcast is busy in 2009 getting base tru2way architecture deployed in the first place. The addition of Flash could be as much as 24 months away, Kotay says.

At the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in Las Vegas this week, Comcast is demonstrating a Flash player optimized for the TV set and integrated with a tru2way-based box running on Broadcom chips. All the demonstrated applications are embedded into the Comcast IPG. The MSO is also showing off a version for the Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format (EBIF) platform.

The goal is to show "how tru2way enables Flash integration and how you can develop parts of your application in Flash and parts of it in Java," Kotay says. He says Flash adoption will give the MSO access to a broader development community and open up chances to deliver content and applications across platforms.

Full article at:
post #252 of 838
There's a tru2way box near me?
post #253 of 838
Reporter Benderoff wrote "coincide", not "because of" or "necessitated by" or "required by" so I think he deserves more credit than you are giving him. The Sun-Times reporter, unlike Benderoff, did imply that the changover was mandated by law.
post #254 of 838
Thread Starter 
Going All-Digital - Tons more HD and a Faster Internet
Derek Harrar, SVP GM Video, in Network and Operations 5/1/09

DTAThere was a lot of discussion yesterday on our first quarter 2009 earnings call about Comcast's All-Digital project. We generally refer to this program as Project Cavalry. You might be wondering exactly what it is. Project Cavalry is our plan to give customers tons more HD choices, a faster Internet and more On Demand. How do we get there?

The cable industry has provided analog television service from the inception of cable TV. Analog delivery enables a cable-ready TV to receive 60-70 channels without any equipment. Over time, the industry has migrated to digital delivery. Similarly, the government is requiring digital delivery for broadcast channels on June 12 in the Digital Transition, although that only relates to ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS and Univision. Project Cavalry involves cable channels, including ESPN, TBS, A&E, etc. Regardless, it is clear that the video world is going digital. Doing so offers much improved picture quality and, with a Comcast set-top box, compelling two-way services such as Video On Demand and an interactive guide.

The real catch, however, is that analog delivery takes up more space on our network than digital delivery. For every analog channel, we can deliver 10-15 standard definition Digital channels or 2-3 HD channels. Today, approximately 2/3 of our network capacity is dedicated to delivering analog video. However, 72% of customers have digital service. By moving about half the analog channels to digital, we open up an incredible amount of capacity to bring dramatic product enhancements to customers. Half the channels remain in analog, meaning that 20-30 channels including all the broadcasters can still be viewed without any equipment on their cable-ready TVs.

Our solution is to provide a free digital service upgrade to move our Expanded Basic tier of analog customers to Digital. With no change to their monthly bill, we provide 8-10 additional channels, 40-50 music channels, all-digital picture quality and sound, an interactive guide and access to thousands of choices of Video On Demand. That offer includes digital equipment for three TVs at no charge. We chose that because the average U.S. home which has 2.7 TVs. Digital customers also get some free equipment and more channels including over 100 HD channels if you subscribe to HD service. Internet customers get doubled speeds. Remaining bandwidth can be used for increased international channels, even more HD, even faster Internet, etc. As mentioned, everything described happens at no additional charge.

Key to this offer is a new device we developed called a Digital Transport Adapter, or DTA (one is pictured at the top of the post). DTAs are small devices designed to replicate one-way analog service in digital. Unlike a set-top box, you can't use On Demand or an interactive guide on a DTA, but digital channels look crystal clear in digital quality. If you want to receive more than the 20-30 analog channels mentioned above, we will provide you with a DTA on your TV when we go all-digital in your neighborhood. These devices are very small and were designed to be easily hidden behind your TV if you don't want to see it. The free equipment Project Cavalry provides Expanded Basic customers includes one full-featured set-top box and two of these smaller DTAs.

The program is called Project Cavalry, since executing it requires us to touch nearly every home we provide video service to. The Comcast Cavalry sweeps into your neighborhood and works closely with you to provide great service and get you through it. In fact, it's not very intrusive and to date approximately 75% of customers have self-installed their new, free equipment without needing anyone from Comcast to visit their home. The good news is that once you do, you'll start seeing substantial product improvements almost immediately.

Since launching Cavalry late last year, we have deployed over a million of these DTAs in our footprint. In fact we deployed a million faster than Google sold a million of their G1 phones. It's a fast moving program, driven by customer demand for great product improvements at no charge. Right now, Cavalry is underway in Portland, Seattle, the Bay Area, Chattanooga, Augusta, Philadelphia, the DC/Beltway area and Atlanta. Expect it to roll through your neighborhood sometime before the end of 2010.

post #255 of 838
Thread Starter 
Comcast's $1B Bandwidth Plan
April 30, 2009 | Jeff Baumgartner

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) expects to shell out $1 billion for an "all-digital" project that will enable the MSO to reclaim 40 to 50 channels of analog spectrum and free up room for Docsis 3.0, a broader video-on-demand (VoD) library, ethnic programming fare, and more than 100 linear hi-def channels.

That's according to Comcast cable division president Steve Burke, who spent a good chunk of this morning's earnings call describing and defending the MSO's big bandwidth-reclamation strategy. (See Comcast Posts Q1.)

That strategy, called Project Cavalry, is "one of the most important projects for us this year," Burke said. "This project is going to deliver more additional bandwidth than any improvement we've ever made."

The moves allow Comcast to recapture up to 300 MHz of spectrum, more than it got when the MSO upgraded 500 MHz plant to 750 MHz. "We estimate the total cost of about $1 billion is less than 10 percent of what a physical rebuild would cost us historically, and we can complete it in a fraction of the time," Burke said, noting that the investment will be spread out over 2009 and 2010.

But Comcast's definition of "all-digital" is a bit wide of the truth. The company intends to leave a programming tier of 20 to 30 channels in analog. About 14 percent of Comcast's customers take its analog service today, and roughly 72 percent have already made the leap to digital.

Depending on the customer's current level of service, the MSO is giving away a number of simple, $30 digital terminal adapters (DTAs) to ensure that secondary TVs customer homes can continue to receive and display programming in the expanded basic tier once it's moved to digital. (See slide 10 in this PDF.) Burke estimates that Comcast will need to deploy about 20 million digital devices for the transition. (See Comcast Seeds Digital Shift With Free Boxes.)

In addition to the cheap DTAs, Comcast is trying to keep costs in check with self-installation kits that curtail the need for pricey truck rolls. The MSO estimates that about 75 percent of customers so far have elected the self-install option.

Comcast already has the project underway in areas such as Portland, Ore., Seattle, and the Bay Area, and is starting to tee it up in its Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Baltimore markets. By the end of the quarter, Comcast had completed the job in about 5 percent of its footprint. (See Comcast 'Cavalry' Rides Into NoCal , Comcast Expanding 'All-Digital' Domain , and Comcast Sends In the All-Digital 'Cavalry'.)

"The results in Portland have been encouraging enough that we are looking at speeding up our rollout to over half our footprint by the end of this year," Burke said, adding that the conversions have given a 20 percent-plus return on investment so far.

During the call, an analyst asked Comcast why it has favored going all-digital over other bandwidth management strategies, such as switched digital video (SDV) or moving to 1 GHz. It's all about timing, ease of deployment, and, of course, the almighty dollar.

"I want to spend as little as possible. I want to have the minimal intrusion on the customer experience. When you analyze all those variables, and you can get a digital adapter for around $30 it all points to going all-digital," Burke explained.

post #256 of 838
Thread Starter 
Thomson Gains More Traction With Comcast
Nets deal for home gateways, ships DTAs
By Glen Dickson

French conglomerate Thomson, which announced a major deal in July 2008 to provide Comcast with low-cost digital set-tops known as Digital Transport Adaptors (DTAs), has won more business from the U.S. cable giant.

The company announced that it will provide Comcast with advanced cable gateway devices to support next-generation broadband Internet and voice services. Comcast expects to start deploying the Advanced Cable Gateways in the third quarter. Thomson already supplies Comcast with traditional voice and data modems.

"Thomson's highly innovative Advanced Cable Gateway devices are a central part of our roll-out of enhanced digital communications services," said Comcast CTO and EVP Tony Werner in a statement. "Comcast Thomson's gateways add functionality and features beyond that of traditional offerings. The new device will enable Comcast to offer a whole new level of services to our subscribers. We will thus not only be improving the phone services within the home, but expanding the visual experience beyond the TV and PC."

Thomson said that Comcast will soon be deploying its DTAs as a low-cost way to convert analog homes to digital service, and that it is currently working on the second generation of DTA, which will be smaller than a PDA.

post #257 of 838
Thread Starter 
Tru2way's Retail Forecast: Cloudy
August 18, 2009 | Jeff Baumgartner

Tru2way is poised to provide major U.S. MSOs with a common platform to develop and deliver a bevy of interactive services, but its ability to spawn a substantial retail market for advanced TVs and set-tops remains questionable, a new Light Reading Cable Industry Insider report finds.

"The future of tru2way retail devices is cloudy," Craig Leddy -- author of the report, "Tru2way Troubles: Is Cable Losing Out to Telcos on ITV?" -- writes. (See Tru2way at a Crossroads.)

That forecast emerges soon after six major MSOs linked to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) originally negotiated with Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) confirmed that they failed to hit a key headend-readiness deadline of July 1. This came less than 18 months after Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) chief Brian Roberts touted tru2way's retail potential at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. (See No Penalties for Missing Tru2way Date, MSOs to Miss Tru2way Date , and CES: Roberts Declares Open Season.)

"While MSOs need to demonstrate a good-faith effort to meet federal guidemarks and terms of the MoU, it is unclear whether consumer demand will drive significant sales of tru2way HDTV sets, if the only advantage is to remove a cable set-top box," Leddy notes.

He adds that consumer electronics manufacturers have shown only "lukewarm enthusiasm" toward the idea of retail tru2way products, with many TV makers opting instead to deliver interactive applications and over-the-top video services from the likes of Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Netflix Inc. using on-board high-speed broadband connections and specialized software.

Panasonic is the exception, having led the way with two tru2way-certified HDTV sets, sold in tandem with Comcast in limited retail pockets of Denver, Chicago, and Atlanta. These efforts hit a snag when Circuit City went belly-up; its store in Highlands Ranch, Colo., was one of the few outlets around Denver that sold the Panasonic sets. (See Tru2Way in Atlanta and Denver, Chicago First to Get Tru2way TVs.)

Since then, Paul Liao, a tru2way champion at Panasonic, has since left to become CEO of CableLabs , showing that cable's pursuit of retail angles is far from dead. (See Liao Puts the CE in CableLabs.)

But if MSOs are unable to advance a longer-term retail strategy, "tru2way likely will become a solely cable enterprise that is focused on interactive applications delivered to next-generation cable set-top boxes, or new devices that are developed through deals that largely are initiated by MSOs," the report suggests.

Most of the box makers hoping for near-term tru2way headway appear to be going the direct-to-MSO route. Some of the cable box newcomers on that list include Advanced Digital Broadcast (ADB) , EchoStar Corp. LLC (Nasdaq: SATS), and Funai Electric Co. Ltd. (OTC: FUAIY). (See Funai Makes Tru2way Play , EchoStar Slings Its First Tru2way Set-Top, and EchoStar: No Cable Sale Guarantees .)

Digeo Inc. , a company with cable ties, does have a retail box, but it's not using tru2way. TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) has yet to announce a product or a distribution strategy for tru2way. (See Digeo Flips Switch on SDV, Multi-Room and Digeo HD-DVR Enters Retail Waters .)

Sluggish support for tru2way at retail could help to resuscitate DCR+, a tru2way alternative favored by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) , and one that "has not been officially declared dead yet," Leddy points out. (See Two-Way Battle Reaches FCC.)

Perfect the leased model first
Establishing a leasing model before diving into retail might be "the right order of things," says David Housman, who runs the Americas division of tru2way middleware stack maker Alticast Corp. Housman says most of his company's tru2way work is around leased cable boxes. (See Housman Takes Reins at Alticast .)

Housman, a former Charter Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: CHTR) exec, says MSOs will want to ensure that the leased tru2way boxes and the networks that are powering them are absolutely stable before a significant retail model comes into play.

"We're on the brink of technical readiness [for tru2way] across multiple MSOs," Housman tells Cable Digital News.

Still, Housman expects any tru2way retail efforts for the 2009 holiday season to be "very controlled" by operators and their CE partners. He likewise believes that activity will evolve by the 2010 season to include multiple retailers and multiple devices as MSOs get more more of their footprint ready for the platform and grow more confident that they can handle retail-bought tru2way device installations without having to rely on expensive truck rolls.

post #258 of 838
Thread Starter 
FCC Approves DTAs From Moto, Cisco, Thomson & Pace
August 25, 2009 | Jeff Baumgartner

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Media Bureau has granted three-year waivers to Digital Terminal Adapter (DTA) devices made by Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), Thomson (NYSE: TMS; Euronext Paris: 18453), and Pace Micro Technology , a decision that looks to benefit Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) the most in the near-term, but could also spur adoption of the devices by numerous other U.S. cable MSOs.

The waivers give Comcast and, potentially, other operators the green light to deploy those inexpensive, one-way "channel zappers" (they cost about $35 each) with security enabled, thereby sidestepping an integrated security ban that took effect in July 2007. Those waivers will also give MSOs access to simple digital-to-analog converter boxes that cost much less than entry-level, interactive set-tops that rely on removable CableCARDs to decrypt and authorize digital video signals.
Comcast, which has tried and failed to obtain box waivers on its own on multiple occasions, has been deploying DTAs by the boatload without security enabled, as part of a larger analog reclamation strategy. However, a firmware download can activate a content protection scheme that's already burned into the DTA chips.

The FCC adopted the order on Monday but, as of this writing, has not posted it publicly. However, Cable Digital News has obtained multiple copies of it.

The FCC, in a six-page explanation granting the waivers, agreed that the DTA models submitted by Cisco, Moto, Thomson, and Pace were no more advanced than two standard-def DTAs from Evolution Broadband LLC that the Commission awarded three-year waivers to in early June. That original waiver essentially allows MSOs to use and deploy the Evolution boxes with an integrated conditional access system from Conax AS without seeking out and obtaining separate waivers.

Monday's waiver award will likely mean the same for Comcast and other MSOs that want to use DTAs with security from Moto, Cisco, Thomson, and Pace. For example, Mediacom Communications Corp. (Nasdaq: MCCC), an MSO that uses Motorola gear, recently revealed that DTAs could play a role in its bandwidth management plan.

post #259 of 838
Thanks again Paul for continuing to post these articles.
post #260 of 838
Your quick Paul! Today's edition of CED Magazine's Broadband Direct didn't even mention it!

Sure it will be in tomorrows edition.
post #261 of 838
So Comcast's check to the new chairman has finally cleared and the war on cable is over.
post #262 of 838
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

Thanks again Paul for continuing to post these articles.

Your welcome. I hope Comcast does not use this encryption. If you have a HD TV with a QAM tuner these DTA boxes are useless since they only passes through a SD signal. Until Comcast can provide a low cost solution for HD for a guest room ar a kids room the use of encryption will cause a lot of people to take a second look at Comcast's competitors that already require a box for all channels.

My daughter hates a cable box and that is the one reason she is not switching to FiOS. Also, from what I have read on other forums the key will be probably easy to break - again encouraging the use of illegal cable boxes.
post #263 of 838
Originally Posted by PaulGo View Post

Your welcome. I hope Comcast does not use this encryption. If you have a HD TV with a QAM tuner these DTA boxes are useless since they only passes through a SD signal. Until Comcast can provide a low cost solution for HD for a guest room ar a kids room the use of encryption will cause a lot of people to take a second look at Comcast's competitors that already require a box for all channels.

My daughter hates a cable box and that is the one reason she is not switching to FiOS. Also, from what I have read on other forums the key will be probably easy to break - again encouraging the use of illegal cable boxes.

If your HDTV has a QAM tuner & accepts a CableCard, is it safe to presume the CableCard will handle the decryption? I've heard Comcast sometimes supplies one CableCard for free.
post #264 of 838
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Mike99 View Post

If your HDTV has a QAM tuner & accepts a CableCard, is it safe to presume the CableCard will handle the decryption? I've heard Comcast sometimes supplies one CableCard for free.

Comcast in my area provises a Cablecard for free (with a $30 installation charge) however these days you cannot pruchase a TV with a cablecard - the manufactures have givien up on them. Also I believe cablecards were never offered on smaller TV's such as the ones put in a kitchen or a small bedroom.
post #265 of 838
Originally Posted by PaulGo View Post

I hope Comcast does not use this encryption.


You must be kidding. I can guarantee you they will encrypt everything except analog Basic Limited, and local HD.


If you have a HD TV with a QAM tuner these DTA boxes are useless since they only passes through a SD signal.

Comcast will still provide local HD in the clear, which is no different that what HDTV QAM tuners can pick up now; all you need to do is split the signal, one for the HDTV directly, one for the DTA. In this regard, nothing will change except for needing the DTA for the Standard Basic tier.


Until Comcast can provide a low cost solution for HD for a guest room ar a kids room the use of encryption will cause a lot of people to take a second look at Comcast's competitors that already require a box for all channels.

At that point the small advantage Comcast had is gone, but for a Comcast sub to bother switching to a provider that also requires a box is still a bigger transition than simply using the DTA. Don't forget each household will get 2 DTA's provided free of charge, while DBS providers charge ~$5 per for each additional box past the first one.


Also, from what I have read on other forums the key will be probably easy to break - again encouraging the use of illegal cable boxes.

This may turn out to be true, but if you know the history of the subject, only a very small percentage of cable subs have ever used an illegal cable box. It's very unlikely this will change, and will have very little, if any, impact on Comcast's bottom line. If anything it would keep some subs still signed up for at least Limited Basic.
post #266 of 838
Originally Posted by Mike99 View Post

If your HDTV has a QAM tuner & accepts a CableCard, is it safe to presume the CableCard will handle the decryption?

Any CableCARD or tru2way device will be fully enabled to receive all subscribed channels. Nothing will change in that regard.


I've heard Comcast sometimes supplies one CableCard for free.

In some areas, yes, but it usually costs $2-3 per month to rent.
post #267 of 838
Originally Posted by PaulGo View Post

Comcast in my area provises a Cablecard for free (with a $30 installation charge) however these days you cannot pruchase a TV with a cablecard - the manufactures have givien up on them.

This is incorrect. At least one HDTV manufacture, Panasonic, is currently offering tru2way HDTV's for sale, in three areas (Chicago, Denver, Atlanta) where they have teamed up with Comcast to offer tru2way service. tru2way HDTV's use the 'M' type CableCARD to offer all the same features as HD cable boxes, including On Demand and PPV.

Here is the tru2way topic: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=893485


Also I believe cablecards were never offered on smaller TV's such as the ones put in a kitchen or a small bedroom.

I believe this is true, but I don't know for sure what the smallest CableCARD HDTV was, maybe 32"?
post #268 of 838
You can't simply use a spilter since the DTA is RF only. Going to need an A/B switch which means getting off the couch when I want to switch between locals and cable.
post #269 of 838
Originally Posted by CRT Dude View Post

You can't simply use a spilter since the DTA is RF only. Going to need an A/B switch which means getting off the couch when I want to switch between locals and cable.

Most HDTV's have two RF inputs.
post #270 of 838
Originally Posted by Ken H View Post

I believe this is true, but I don't know for sure what the smallest CableCARD HDTV was, maybe 32"?

Sharp had a 26" CC HDTV.
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