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post #361 of 838
Originally Posted by Phantom Gremlin View Post

Because my existing TiVos wouldn't work with TCP/IPV6?

Actually the hardware is there in terms of ports but I'd bet it couldn't be properly configured to do a good job.

Similar to implementations of tru2way. Why does a TiVo need an external box to do tru2way?

I'd be surprised if the latest Tivo's don't have enough horsepower to decode Flash (though it sounds like they may not have enough for tru2way . IPV6 certainly wouldn't be an issue. Sounds like it's just a software problem.
post #362 of 838
A software "problem" on several million already-deployed devices (including all the Motorola and SA DVRs out there).

This is a bit like suggesting that we should have switched OTA broadcasting to ATSC on February 1, 1996, instead of waiting until this year.
post #363 of 838
Originally Posted by bicker1 View Post

A software "problem" on several million already-deployed devices (including all the Motorola and SA DVRs out there).

Ahh, so the tru2way protocols are already implemented in those devices? Or will they need to be upgraded as well?
post #364 of 838
That's a good question. However, it may not necessarily need to be the case regardless: I'm pretty-sure that tru2way can be supported for tru2way devices, while legacy devices are still supported in the legacy manner, in the same system.
post #365 of 838
Originally Posted by mpatnode View Post

I'd be surprised if the latest Tivo's don't have enough horsepower to decode Flash (though it sounds like they may not have enough for tru2way . IPV6 certainly wouldn't be an issue. Sounds like it's just a software problem.

A simple embedded ARM chip can do ipv6, it's no more demanding than ipv4, it's just packets, they come in at the same rate. It's what's in the packets that is the game changer.

It all depends on what they use for conditional access, if the stream is encrypted, how advanced that encryption is, how much horsepower does that take to decode, etc. Once you get through all those layers of the onion, you should still be left with a simple mpeg data stream which tivo's have been strong enough to deal with since day one. Problem is the encryption system. Maybe a seperate CAM device (coax in, coax out) at the cable entrance to the house? The CAM does all the tier programming and the decryption and then passes out the QAM signal to the Tivo or CableCard enabled device? (not that there's many of those out there)
post #366 of 838
Originally Posted by bicker1 View Post

This is a bit like suggesting that we should have switched OTA broadcasting to ATSC on February 1, 1996, instead of waiting until this year.

I bet more people than you might suspect would support this idea.
post #367 of 838
Thread Starter 
Informative article on Comcast Tru2way.

post #368 of 838
For those of you who don't read slashdot:

"Comcast has settled out of court to the tune of $16 million in one of several ongoing P2P throttling class action lawsuits. You may be eligible for up to $16 restitution if 'you live in the United States or its Territories, have a current or former Comcast High-Speed Internet account, and either used or attempted to use Comcast service to use the Ares, B.i.t.T.o.r.r.e.n.t, eDonkey, FastTrack or Gnutella P2P protocols at any time from April 1, 2006 to December 31, 2008; and/or Lotus Notes to send emails any time from March 26, 2007 to October 3, 2007.' $16 million seems low. And it's too bad this was an out-of-court settlement instead of a solid precedent-setting decision for your right to use P2P applications. The settlement will probably not affect the slews of other Comcast P2P throttling suits, and it's unclear whether it will placate the FCC."

See, they aren't TOTALLY evil.
post #369 of 838
It only takes $16 to convince you that Comcast if your BFF?
post #370 of 838
Originally Posted by CRT Dude View Post

It only takes $16 to convince you that Comcast if your BFF?

Naw, the kicker was trying to install my cable cards this week, and having the India chat tech tell me that they only supported Vista Ultimate, not W7!

The other fun one to watch is they are now trying to encrypt all the OTA HD equivalent channels in specific areas, leveraging an FCC exception that was given to a small cable operator that was trying to control costs. Thus forcing more people to use a cable box regardless of whether their equipment already has a QAM tuner.

Instead, I decided to become a stock holder, so I could apply the dividends to my cable bill!
post #371 of 838
Thread Starter 
CableLabs Opens Lab To Test 3DTVs, Set-Tops
Informal Testing Process Open To Television Manufacturers for No Charge
By Todd Spangler -- Multichannel News, 1/5/2010 5:44:24 PM

CableLabs announced it has set aside a portion of its Colorado facility to informally test 3DTV sets for compatibility with a range of cable set-top boxes, further feeding the buzz building around 3D home entertainment at this week's 2010 CES in Las Vegas.

The cable research and development consortium has been performing ad-hoc testing of 3DTVs with set-tops since last summer and is now expanding the program, said David Broberg, CableLabs vice president of consumer video technology.

CableLabs isn't granting 3D certification per se; rather, the testing is intended to provide feedback to manufacturers on complying with existing specs. "We're looking at what happens when you try different TVs and set-tops," Broberg said. "We want to eliminate the opportunity for surprises in the field."

Also on Tuesday, Discovery Communications -- in partnership with Sony and IMAX -- announced plans to launch a 3D network in 2011, and ESPN said it will debut a 3D service in June 2010 with the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Neither programmer announced carriage deals.

CableLabs has a small, dedicated lab space for 3DTV in its Louisville, Colo., headquarters that is able to handle one manufacturer at a time. The TVs are being tested with set-tops from various suppliers, including Motorola, Cisco Systems, Pace and Advanced Digital Broadcast (ADB). The consortium is not charging manufacturers for the testing.

Primarily, CableLabs is looking at scenarios involving delivering 3D content to existing cable set-tops. "One of the key elements to this succeeding as an interim step is the set-tops' ability to pass through the [3DTV] signal without modifying it," Broberg said.

In October, CableLabs organized a 3DTV demonstration at the Society of Cable & Telecommunications Engineers' Cable-Tec Expo, with 3D content from the Comcast Media Center broadcast to TV sets and home-theater systems from Panasonic, Sony and LG Electronics.

According to Broberg, many of the digital set-top boxes deployed by cable operators are capable of processing 3DTV signals in a "frame-compatible" format, which carries separate left and right video signals within the video frame used to convey a conventional, 2D high-definition signal by squeezing them to fit within the space of one picture. The advantage of such a format is that it can be delivered through existing plant and equipment as if it were a 2D HDTV signal.

The newest generation of 3DTVs is expected to support frame-compatible formats using HDMI video connections to a set-top. However, CableLabs has identified some "subtleties" in the way HDMI has been implemented by some vendors that requires changes to their products, Broberg said.

"This whole 3D thing is still in its infancy," he added.

The Consumer Electronics Association estimates that nearly 2.2 million 3DTVs will be sold in 2010 and that by 2013 more than 25% of all televisions sold will be 3DTVs.

While the cable industry is focusing on frame-compatible 3DTV formats in the near term, CableLabs said it will continue to participate in efforts to define a long-term solution that will enable support for 3D content that can be delivered at resolutions and frame rates as high as 1080p60 for both eyes. CableLabs, which began investigating 3DTV in March 2009, said it is actively working with standards bodies such as SCTE, the CEA and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Executives (SMPTE) to standardize technologies for the distribution of 3D content over cable systems.

post #372 of 838
Thread Starter 
Cable's Tru2way Build Continues
January 8, 2010 | Jeff Baumgartner

The six largest "incumbent" U.S. cable MSOs report they are making progress with their tru2way network buildouts, but not all of them have managed to complete the job, roughly six months after they collectively missed an original, agreed upon deadline.

In 2008, as part of a binding "memorandum of understanding" negotiated with Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE), those MSOs -- Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Charter Communications Inc. , Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), Cox Communications Inc. , Bright House Networks , and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) -- agreed that by July 1, 2009, they would provide network support for tru2way middleware and also support tru2way in the headends serving all digital cable systems. ......

....# Comcast - Major markets nearly done

Comcast said it has tru2way networks enabled in "nearly all major Comcast markets," citing its earlier retail partnerships in Chicago, Denver, and Atlanta, "with additional markets planned for 2010." (See Tru2Way in Atlanta and Denver, Chicago First to Get Tru2way TVs.) Comcast hasn't confirmed any others, but a Panasonic filing last month at the FCC indicated that Boston is one of the markets that's next in line.

Comcast hasn't set a new, hard deadline for the rest of its tru2way build, but said it intends to use the platform "to bring new services to our subscribers and to enable more choices in tru2way TVs and set-top boxes in 2010."

As that goes, TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) has announced that Comcast plans to offer TiVo as the "primary DVR option going forward" in a market yet-to-be-named, but the companies haven't released any detail on that. TiVo, which has complained that the cable industry discriminates against third-party retail box providers with unwieldy licensing and qualification requirements, has yet to announce a tru2way-based product. To date, not all of its other "primary DVR" deals with MSOs involve tru2way middleware. (See TiVo Covers Its Cable Bases , TiVo Gives Cable Both Barrels , RCN Makes TiVo Its Dominant DVR, and TVMax Taps TiVo as Primary HD-DVR.)

Full article at:

post #373 of 838
The whole world could be Tru2way ready it wouldn't make to difference to me if I can't buy any equipment.
post #374 of 838
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by CRT Dude View Post

The whole world could be Tru2way ready it wouldn't make to difference to me if I can't buy any equipment.

Some manufacturers are producing Tru2way TVs. I hope once Tru2way is adopted by all cable companies manufacturers will then have the motivation to sell Tru2way STBs and more TVs will have this circuitry included. I for one am sick and tired of paying all the cable rental fees.
post #375 of 838
Originally Posted by PaulGo View Post

Some manufacturers are producing Tru2way TVs. I hope once Tru2way is adopted by all cable companies manufacturers will then have the motivation to sell Tru2way STBs and more TVs will have this circuitry included. I for one am sick and tired of paying all the cable rental fees.

When and if tru2way retail happens, for secondary sets don't forget that you will have to pay a 'digital outlet' fee (as you do today for CableCards on many systems). I would not be surprised to see a 'guide fee' appear as well for each additional outlet. This is no different in concept than what you pay for Tivo's guide today.

As much as I'd like to see inexpensive STBs at retail, I have reluctantly concluded it is a niche market - if it were otherwise, Tivo and Moxi would be wild successes....

I have seen industry estimates of $200 per set to add tru2way capabilities to current devices. Given enough volume, that is sure to drop - but given current Canadian pricing for STBs (where you can buy STBs), prices could easily be in the $300-400 range - more for a DVR.

Currently, I would save $5/month if I had my own STB for the bedroom TV - that will take 5 years (assuming a $300 STB) to pay off. In the last five years, I had 3 new STBS from my cable company. Each better than the last - with no additional cost over what I might have paid for my own.
post #376 of 838
Thread Starter 
In my area it is now $9.25 per month for a HD STB plus $3.00 as an additional outlet fee.
post #377 of 838
Thread Starter 
Hands-on with Pansonic's tru2way set-back box
By Ben Drawbaugh posted Jan 11th 2010 1:39PM

We searched high and low on the show floor for signs of tru2way and in the back of the Panasonic booth we found the new set-back box we told you about. The box uses the VESA mounting holes so it might make it tough to use with some wall mounts. It wasn't a working demo so we didn't get to see how well the integration was with the TV, but the representative from the company seemed to believe that the box would be designed to only work with Panasonic TVs -- we assume it verifies via HDMI-CEC what type of TV it is connected to. With most cable companies still not ready for retail tru2way devices, and almost no manufactures showing tru2way HDTVs at CES, it seems that 2010 will not be the year for adoption, which leaves next year and by then so much can change who knows if anyone will still care.
post #378 of 838
Thread Starter 
Comcast Lights Up DTA Encryption
January 26, 2010 | Jeff Baumgartner

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has confirmed that it's activated encryption in Digital Terminal Adapter (DTA) devices serving customers in Portland, Ore., and Seattle -- the first Comcast markets to take the step since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted waivers to a handful of the simple channel zappers last year.

DTAs in those markets had been delivering digital programming in the clear. However, the Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) chips that power those devices are burned in with "privacy mode," a content protection system for video on demand (VoD); encryption for that mode can be activated via a firmware upgrade.

MSO are allowed to take advantage of that option because of security waivers the FCC awarded last year, to DTAs from suppliers such as Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), Pace plc , Thomson S.A. (NYSE: TMS; Euronext Paris: 18453), Evolution Broadband LLC , and Nagravision SA . Short of such waivers, MSOs are banned from buying set-tops with integrated security under an FCC rule that took effect in July 2007.

Late in 2009, Comcast began notifying Portland and Seattle customers that it was activating DTA encryption.

Comcast's relying heavily on the $35 DTA devices for Project Cavalry, an analog reclamation initiative that's clearing spectrum for gobs of high-definition television channels and speedier Docsis 3.0 services.

Activating encryption in those DTAs should offer relief to programmers in Comcast's expanded basic tier that are concerned about digital piracy. Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) has been the most vocal about it, suggesting last summer that it might consider withholding programming delivered to DTAs in the absence of some degree of content security.

Although encryption will offer a layer of protection to channels being delivered to DTAs, Comcast still delivers its B1 basic programming tier (about 30 channels, depending on the market) in analog, and free of encryption. Comcast would require yet another FCC waiver to encrypt B1. Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) obtained such a waiver last month for its New York systems.

'Cavalry' marches on
Comcast has remained aggressive with Project Cavalry in 2010, starting the "marination" process recently in two more markets: Minneapolis/St. Paul; and in Olathe, Independence, and other parts of Jackson County, Mo. In this preparatory phase, Comcast is installing digital boxes and DTAs during routine truck rolls before the markets go on the clock for the analog-to-digital channel migration.

Full article at:
post #379 of 838
Thread Starter 
Although this pertains to to Cable ONE it potentially could gain widespread support (if the FCC allows) so customers would have an inexpensive way of getting HD channels (once encryption is implemented on most channels).

Cable ONE Seeks $50 HD Box
November 25, 2009 | Jeff Baumgartner

Cable ONE Inc. 's quest for an ultra-cheap, high-definition set-top box could be a big break for some vendors that are trying to crack the tough U.S. cable market, but only if they can squeeze the price down to $50 per unit.

Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , EchoStar Technologies, Irdeto Access B.V. , Latens Systems Ltd. , and Pace Micro Technology are among the box makers and conditional access system providers vying for the MSO's business, according to a recent Cable ONE filing that's asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for more time to complete an all-digital conversion.

That project relies on a new breed of one-way box that Cable ONE calls the "HD-capable, all-digital device" (HD-ADD).

Cable ONE's plans went into high gear on May 29, when the FCC granted a waiver for the MSO's Dyersburg, Tenn., system, allowing deployment of HD-ADDs with embedded security. The waiver lets Cable ONE sidestep the FCC's 2007 mandate. (See Cable ONE Snares HD Set-Top Waiver and Countdown to 'Seven-Oh-Seven'.)

That system serves just 6,400 subscribers, but a successful deployment there could set the table for similar deployments by Cable ONE and other Tier 2 and Tier 3 MSOs that want to go all-digital using inexpensive boxes that can display HD.

But Cable ONE's waiver is weighted down with stipulations. Cable ONE pledged to migrate the system to all-digital within one year of getting the waiver; to provide at least 50 HD channels alongside a tier that simulcasts those channels in standard definition; and to provide one hi-def box to subscribers at no cost and offer additional HD-ADDs for a monthly fee of no more than $1 per month. Cable ONE also promised to continue supporting retail TVs and set-tops that use the CableCARD security interface.

Full article at:
post #380 of 838
Thread Starter 
HDMI Tackles 3D TV
Opens up spec to programmers, will soon add broadcast 3D formats
By Glen Dickson

HDMI Licensing, LLC, the licensing entity behind the High-Definition Multimedia Interface networking technology that is commonly used to provide a secure digital connection between digital TV sets, set-top boxes and Blu-ray players, is working to ensure that television programmers will be able to deliver upcoming 3D broadcasts to new 3D-capable HDTV sets.

The organization, which licenses its technology to over 900 consumer electronics (CE) manufacturers, announced late Wednesday that it is making the 3D portion of its latest HDMI specification, version 1.4, available for free public download on its Website so that television networks and transmission vendors can get the necessary information to deliver compatible 3D pictures to new 3D sets.....

The HDMI Consortium also plans to include multiple broadcast 3D formats in an upcoming specification, version 1.4a, to ensure that HD sets and set-tops can display networks' nascent 3D programming.

HDMI Licensing, founded by a consortium of Hitachi, Panasonic Corporation, Philips, Sony, Thomson (RCA), Toshiba, and Silicon Image, had already addressed the growing momentum behind stereoscopic 3D technology by including 3D gaming and movie (Blu-ray) formats in HDMI version 1.4, which came out last June. But that specification didn't include broadcast 3D formats, explains Venuti, mainly because the organization didn't expect television networks like ESPN and pay-TV operators like DirecTV to move to launch 3D by mid-2010...

In fact, in December the HDMI Consortium announced that it would ease some of its licensing restrictions to allow existing late-model set-tops to deliver 3D broadcasts to new 3D HDTV sets, without having to support the mandatory movie or gaming formats in HDMI version 1.4. Specifically, it decreed that set-tops with HDMI version 1.3 could receive a firmware upgrade that would enable them to connect to a new 3D set with HDMI version 1.4 to display a number of 3D HD broadcast formats. That is how satellite operators DirecTV and BSkyB plan to deliver 3D to their existing high-end set-tops. Venuti said that Sony PS3 game consoles can support 3D in the same way.

"That's going to enable the existing infrastructure of source devices to pump 3D content, and you're going to need a 3d-enabled TV to view it," says Venuti.

The HDMI movie format that will be used by new 3D Blu-ray players specifies the delivery of two full 1080-line-progressive/24 hertz (1080p/24) pictures, one for each eye, which requires a significantly higher bit rate than normal 1080p/24 video. But the "frame-compatible" broadcast formats that HDMI Licensing is currently addressing are designed to work within the existing bandwidth for HD transmission by using spatial compression to reduce the horizontal or vertical resolution of the picture. That is a compromise that networks and pay-TV operators can currently live with, as adopting "full 3D" would require doubling the bandwidth used to deliver HD to the home.

The 3D compression techniques described by HDMI Licensing as "informative formats" include Frame Packing; Field Alternative; Line Alternative; Side-by-Side (Half); Side-by-Side (Full); Left + Depth; and Left + Depth + Graphics + Graphics-depth. The organization also announced in December that it will add the "Top/Bottom" frame-compatible technique, which ESPN plans to use for its 720p 3D HD pictures, to the updated 1.4 specification.

Venuti says the HDMI version 1.4a specification, which will make the support of such broadcast formats mandatory in new 3D-enabled CE devices, should come out soon. He notes that a pay-TV operator's set-top could support as little as a single broadcast format, such as 720p top/bottom, but that 3D sets will have to support all broadcast formats to ensure interoperability.

Full article at:

post #381 of 838
Thread Starter 
DTAs Getting Smaller, Cheaper & 'Universal'
February 8, 2010 | Jeff Baumgartner

Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) has taken the wraps off a Digital Terminal Adapter (DTA) chipset that promises to shrink the devices' cost and form factor and, perhaps more importantly, allow the boxes to run on Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT)-based digital cable networks.

Broadcom says the BCM7002 chipset is based on the latest DTA 4.0 specifications from Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK). Comcast is buying and deploying millions of DTAs (also called Digital Transport Adapters) to help fuel a major analog reclamation effort it calls Project Cavalry.
Changes over the 3.0 specs include an integrated 1GHz tuner and switchable content protection, which means the devices can detect and support content protection for Moto and Cisco cable networks -- making them "universal" in the U.S. cable duopoly way of thinking. The earlier version of the chipset is fixed with Motorola "privacy mode" encryption.

Although Mediacom Communications Corp. (Nasdaq: MCCC) and other MSOs are using Broadcom-powered DTAs, Comcast is considered the frontrunner on early adoption, not just because it developed the 4.0 specs, but because it's eager to introduce DTAs to its Cisco-based digital video footprint.

Comcast has deployed more than 6.2 million DTAs of the 3.0 variety so far, and expects to have Cavalry mostly finished by the end of 2010. It ended 2009 with about 35 percent of the job complete, with deployments limited to its Motorola-based markets. (See Comcast to Wrap Wideband, All-Digital Rollout This Year.)

A spokeswoman said Comcast has some "limited field trials currently underway" with 4.0-based DTAs, but couldn't say when the company might push ahead with a broad, commercial deployment.

Broadcom officials say the new 4.0 chip will help manufacturers reduce the physical size, power consumption, and the bill of materials for the new breed of universal DTAs (uDTAs).

DTAs can be had for about $35 per unit, but Broadcom declined to speculate how much prices might fall with the new chipset now in play. Broadcom senior product group manager Brett Tischler says the 4.0 reference design puts out less than 2.5 watts, while the 3.0 model comes in at just under 4 watts.

Broadcom's reference design measures 3.25 inches by 2.25 inches -- about the size of a small deck of business cards.

Balance of article at:
post #382 of 838
Thread Starter 
Comcast Proposes Its God Box
February 25, 2010 | Jeff Baumgartner
DENVER -- Cable Next-Gen Broadband Strategies 2010 -- With an expected flood of unicast services on the horizon, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is developing a super-dense, do-it-all network device that significantly cuts headend space and power consumption requirements and trims down overall costs per bit.

Jorge Salinger, Comcast's VP of access architecture and today's opening keynoter here, said the MSO started developing that product -- the Converged Multiservice Access Platform (CMAP) -- after determining that it would soon have to support more and more narrowcast services, including those fed by Docsis (for traditional high-speed data and VoIP), as well as video on demand (VoD) and switched digital video (SDV).

Comcast typically uses about 10 narrowcast QAMs per service group (six QAMs for VoD and four for Docsis). With the expected addition of SDV and an anticipated surging demand for other unicast services like VoD, Salinger sees that QAM requirement growing rapidly to 30 or more.

The challenge, Salinger said, is how to squeeze all those new CMTSs and edge QAMs into already-limited headend space without undergoing expensive expansions or sending power demands through the roof.

Comcast hopes the CMAP will address that challenge by combining many discrete functions -- including the cable modem termination system (CMTS) and all the edge QAMs -- into one device. Salinger said the CMAP is the "heart" of the MSO's broader Next Generation Access Architecture (NGAA) project.

The CMAP will also include PON for business services, plant sweeps for plant health monitoring, and video encryptors. Two things it won't do (at least not initially): process video streams or perform ad splicing.

Because so much is being packed into the CMAP, the services that run off it could be more exposed to potential hardware failures. Comcast hopes to mitigate that risk by requiring redundancy for every line card that graces the CMAP.

Specs nearing completion
Salinger said Comcast expects to complete the CMAP hardware specification within the next month. A second specification for modular implementations will call for the development of an Access Shelf (for the downstream and upstream PHY and MAC layer) and a component called the Packet Shelf (for packet processing). That spec will be completed within the next few months, Salinger said. A third specification focused on configuration and management should be completed by mid-2010. Together, these represent Comcast's view for next-gen CMTS and edge QAM products.

Comcast is not forcing vendors to implement the Access Shelf and Packet Shelf together. One vendor, for example, could develop the Access Shelf, while another creates the Packet Shelf. However, those vendors would still need to integrate the pieces using a common interface. Other vendors may develop both access and packet functions into a single chassis.

Salinger said Comcast is talking to a wide range of vendors, but as examples, he cited Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) as candidates for the Packet Shelf, while companies such as RGB Networks Inc. and Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT) could develop the Access Shelf. Other suppliers might work on both shelves, or include both functions in a single device.

Chipmakers Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) and BroadLogic Network Technologies Inc. are also involved in the technology development, Salinger said.

"Our intent is to define a product spec that allows for different vendors to implement [the CMAP] in different ways," he said. "It's a very open process. This is not a secret project in any way."

No matter the implementation, the expected goal is similar. Comcast hopes the CMAP architecture will provide a 200 percent increase in QAM capacity in one half of the shelf space, leaving room for 32 more QAMs. Comcast also believes the CMAP approach will produce headend power savings of 50 percent or more.

Salinger said CableLabs and Cable Europe Labs are participating in the project, since CMAP will reference many CableLabs specs. However, the spec itself will remain with Comcast because it describes a product, rather than an interface.

Moreover, the CMAP specs will not replace or modify any of the CableLabs specs, but instead offer an equipment architecture option for implementing interfaces such as Docsis 3.0, PacketCable, and other CableLabs specs.

Comcast certainly needs to get vendors behind CMAP, but the MSO is also working with MSOs and the National Cable Television Cooperative Inc. (NCTC) , a consortium that helps Tier 2 and Tier 3 MSOs get volume pricing on programming and hardware, to incorporate their requirements to achieve unified product specifications for CMAP, Salinger stressed.

post #383 of 838
Thread Starter 
Comcast Unit Sizes Up 4:1 HD Compression
March 19, 2010 | Jeff Baumgartner

The Comcast Media Center (CMC) conducted a bakeoff this week to evaluate technologies that might eventually pack four MPEG-2 high-definition feeds into one 6MHz-wide channel, Light Reading Cable has learned.

The Colorado-based CMC declined to comment on that work, but it's believed that the Comcast unit is already tapping equipment from Imagine Communications and Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT) to deliver some HD channels via a 3:1 compression scheme.

Freeing up space for another HD feed could let the CMC beef up its hi-def content menu or allow its MSO partners, including Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), to free up capacity for other digital services, such as video-on-demand or 3DTV channels.

An industry source said the bakeoff included participation from Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), BigBand Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: BBND), Harmonic, and Imagine, among others. Those are well established cable suppliers, but, of recent note, Arris boosted its video technology profile through its acquisition of EGT Inc. and has recently talked up the 4:1 HD capabilities of the EGT VIPr2200 encoder. (See Arris Offers 4:1 HD Compression and Arris Gets EGT for a Song .)

Although the CMC is starting to take a closer look at 4:1 HD, there's no timetable for deployments. Multiple sources say a migration in that direction may not occur until next year, and that's if the technology proves itself worthy. Even if it does, it's considered unlikely that the CMC would use the 4:1 compression techinique for all the HD channels it carries.

A priority of that evaluation will be to ensure that the feeds can be squeezed down while also preserving the quality of the HD signal, minimizing artifacts and other elements that can negatively affect the image.

Some heat was put on Comcast in 2008 when a consumer in Virginia negatively compared how some of Comcast's compressed HD channels fared versus those delivered by Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) FiOS TV. The blame was largely pinned on Comcast's use of 3:1 HD compression for MPEG-2, but a person familiar with the situation says the channels referenced in that study weren't delivered in that way. However, the compression used at the time on the channels studied were squeezed down to the point that it did have a noticeable effect on the picture quality.

It appears Comcast has gotten a grip on those issues since and has implemented a range of projects to ensure that video quality is up to snuff. The CMC, for example, has launched a Golden Eye program in which "trained observers," who are able to detect small imperfections in video that most other consumers can't, provide subjective video quality ratings. That program is part of a broader grading system the CMC has developed for digital video quality, as described in a white paper presented at the 2009 Cable Show in Washington, D.C.

post #384 of 838
Thread Starter 
Comcast: New Way on Tru2way
Next-Generation Box From Pace Runs On Intel Processor

By Todd Spangler -- Multichannel News, 6/14/2010 12:01:00 AM
Comcast is gearing up to test its next major set-top box platform before the end of 2010 and it's not being built by either Motorola or Cisco Systems.

Instead, the largest U.S. operator looked beyond the so-called cable technology duopoly, awarding the contract to Pace, a set-top manufacturer based in the United Kingdom, according to two industry executives familiar with the project.

The Pace box will use the Intel Media Processor CE 3100, the system-on-a-chip previously code-named Kenmore, the sources said, representing a major win for Intel's ambitions in the cable space.

Comcast and Pace declined to comment. Intel has previously announced that it is working with Comcast on set-top projects, spokeswoman Mary Ninow noted, but otherwise the chip giant declined to comment.

One of the losers would appear to be Motorola, which historically has been Comcast's primary supplier of set-tops and related technology. Over the last two years, Comcast has worked more closely with Pace, which has provided low-cost digital terminal adapters. The DTAs are a key piece of the MSO's Project Cavalry initiative to reclaim analog- video bandwidth.

Comcast turned mostly outside Motorola for the DTAs, and Pace has been aggressive on price, said SNL Kagan analyst Ian Olgeirson. Any weakening of Motorola's relationship with Comcast would certainly pose a serious issue for Motorola. Olgeirson said he did not have direct knowledge of the Comcast set-top project with Pace and Intel.

The move also highlights Comcast's embrace of Tru2way for its own set-tops. Tru2way is the cable industry's full-featured interactive TV platform, and is more powerful (and demanding) than the lightweight Enhanced TV Binary Interchange spec. Another goal for Tru2way is to give MSOs greater independence in selecting their set-top hardware providers.

The new Comcast set-top will run the operator's Buckeye Tru2way-based guide optimized for 16 x 9 HDTVs on the CableLabs open-source OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP) reference implementation software stack. Tru2way is the consumer brand name for the OCAP specification.

CableLabs last year released the source code available under a royalty-free, open-source license for the canonical OCAP reference implementation, which is based on software from OCAP Development LLC, a joint venture of Comcast and Time Warner Cable. That software was developed by Vidiom Systems under contract with OCAP Development LLC.

The OCAP implementation for the Pace set-top is being handled by VividLogic, now part of SeaChange International.

In addition to the new software, the Pace-manufactured box with the Intel chip will have considerably more horsepower than Comcast's current-generation set-tops. The CE 31000 system-on-a-chip includes an 800-MHz Intel Pentium M processor as well as dedicated hardware decoders that support two HD 1080i video streams in MPEG-2, MPEG-4 H.264 or VC-1 formats.

Pace's stepped-up profile at Comcast comes as the company became the largest set-top box provider worldwide in 2009, with 7% of the market, according to research firm IMS Research. That pushed Pace past Motorola and Technicolor SA, which had been No. 1 and 2, respectively, the year earlier.

Pace shipped 17.2 million set-tops to more than 100 pay-TV operators in 2009, according to the company. It acquired the set-top box and connectivity solutions business of Royal Philips Electronics in April 2008.

Comcast is among Pace's 60 customers in North America. Internationally, Pace customers include BT, UPC Broadband, Sky Mexico and DirecTV PanAmericana. The company, based in Saltaire, West Yorkshire (U.K.), has more than 1,000 employees worldwide

post #385 of 838
Personally, I'm bookmarking this in my own head as the point where the STB sector of the marketplace effectively started down the path to Wal-Martization. While I have no reason to think that the Pace boxes discussed here are going to be markedly lower in quality than current STB, I cannot help but think this is a turning point that shall inevitably (imho) lead to crappier and crappier STBs. That might just be some random pessimism sneaking in, though.
post #386 of 838
Originally Posted by bicker1 View Post

While I have no reason to think that the Pace boxes discussed here are going to be markedly lower in quality than current STB, I cannot help but think this is a turning point that shall inevitably (imho) lead to crappier and crappier STBs.

From what I've seen at other people's houses, the Motorola STBs are quite crappy already. How can Pace be worse? How much worse can the boxes get? Maybe this will be a wake-up call to Motorola. Serves them right!
post #387 of 838
Originally Posted by Phantom Gremlin View Post

From what I've seen at other people's houses, the Motorola STBs are quite crappy already. How can Pace be worse? How much worse can the boxes get?

Don't set yourself up for a shock. There is a long way down products in this space can go.

Originally Posted by Phantom Gremlin View Post

Maybe this will be a wake-up call to Motorola. Serves them right!

We have a lot to lose ourselves. I keep coming back to memories of just how incredibly crappy VHS players eventually became.
post #388 of 838
But how much of it is that the Moto boxes are crappy and how much is that iGuide is crappy? I vote for the latter, personally - way too much stuff disabled by software that the hardware is clearly capable of.

This looks like a cost reduction move, nothing more. I'm sure Moto and Cisco have been content to split the market between them, and Comcast wants a better deal.
post #389 of 838
Thread Starter 
Producing a HD cable box today is not rocket science. The parts have become somewhat standardized for a given level of picture quality and compression. Tru2way will further take us away for a propriety architecture and further make an HD STB a commodity item.
post #390 of 838
Thread Starter 
Comcast Rolling Out AnyRoom DVR

Say hello to the new AnyRoom DVR.
Now you can share your DVR recordings with any room in the house.

With the new AnyRoom DVR Service, you can now share all your DVR recordingseven those in HDwith any room in the house. Now you'll get:

* HD service in every room.
* Full DVR functionality on your primary DVR.
* The convenience to start watching a recording in one room and finish it in another.
* The flexibility to watch different recordings on different TVs at the same time.

AnyRoom DVR has the same capabilities as a standard DVR.

Your new AnyRoom DVR can do everything a standard DVR can do. On your primary DVR you can:

* Schedule or delete a recording.
* Change the recording options.
* Slow the action with the slow-motion function.
* Pause live TV.

But now it shares well with other networked set-top boxes.

Talk about convenience! Now, on any TV in your home connected to a networked set-top box, you can:

* Sort and view completed recordings.
* View a recording in the process.
* Play, fast-forward, rewind, pause, skip ahead or back when watching a recorded program. (Remember, you can only pause live TV on the main DVR.)

Restrictions apply. Not available in all areas. Call for complete details. Comcast © 2010. All rights reserved.

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