& cplSiteName &

Cable's WiFi Video Attack

Craig Leddy
Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
Craig Leddy
8/12/2014
50%
50%

Lately, America's TV screens have been filled with marionette people who get tangled in their own wires during commercials touting the benefits of wireless set-top boxes (STBs) by DirecTV.

From the cable camp, new wireless gateways are emerging that could make the puppet people even more jealous. The boxes, initially displayed in prototype form at The Cable Show 2014, offer advanced WiFi 802.11ac throughput on dual-spectrum bands (2.4GHz and 5GHz) to deliver IP video around the home.

According to a new Heavy Reading Cable Industry Insider, "Look Ma, No Wires: New Wi-Fi Gateways Take Video Airborne," the wireless video gateways will enable cable providers to establish a powerful IP platform for cloud DVR, branded user interfaces, video on demand (VoD) and linear TV on thin client receivers and any WiFi-connected devices.

In addition, the gateways promote cable strategies to combine residential WiFi hotspots to create community WiFi networks, which could eventually lead to distribution of Internet of Things (IoT) applications, wireless buildouts and perhaps even a "WiFi first" mobile phone play, the report says.

The wireless-centric boxes are the latest in a line of hybrid gateways. Initially designed to combine TV and Internet access into one box, the early gateway models have included multiple tuners, a large DVR hard drive, a DOCSIS 3.0 modem, MPEG2/MPEG4 transcoding, and other bells and whistles.

By comparison, the wireless models are slimmed-down versions of the über boxes. They shift network intelligence to the cable cloud, so that MSOs can easily add or update branded program guides and applications, such as Comcast's X1 operating system and Time Warner Cable's Hosted Navigation platform. The boxes are also a visible sign of cable's ongoing adoption of the reference design kit (RDK), the system-on-chip (SoC)-rooted open source software platform for new devices.

Wireless video gateways can be used to drive incremental revenue through equipment charges or subscription service fees, as AT&T, DirecTV and Dish Network are seeking to do with wireless STBs. But Heavy Reading says their real value for cable providers is to retain video subscribers, upsell higher-speed Internet tiers and spread cloud-based applications. And they can help MSOs to shut up those dopey marionettes.

Is WiFi good enough to support cable's wireless video aspirations? Compared to cellular, WiFi is an imperfect, unlicensed transmission medium, subject to signal interruptions and inadequacies, the report says. But the wireless industry, with input from cable companies and organizations such as CableLabs, is pushing for better spectrum utilization, next-generation hotspot enhancements and the gigabit-level speeds offered by dual-band 802.11ac.

Arris sports an advanced wireless video gateway initially aimed for deployment by Comcast; Pace and Technicolor offers wireless options; and Cisco has developed what it calls unified gateways. Other manufacturers are offering gateways, advanced STBs or IP clients that support unique strategies. The report includes profiles of 12 manufacturers that serve the US cable market.

— Craig Leddy, Contributing Analyst, Heavy Reading Insider


Look Ma, No Wires: New Wi-Fi Gateways Take Video Airborne, a 19-page report, is available as part of an annual single-user subscription (six issues) to Heavy Reading Cable Industry Insider, priced at $1,595. Individual reports are available for $900. To subscribe, please visit: www.heavyreading.com/cable.

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
craigleddy
50%
50%
craigleddy,
User Rank: Blogger
8/13/2014 | 12:05:50 PM
Re: Look Ma, No Wires
Yes, cable and other providers must ensure a high quality of experience (QoE) when using WiFi for video. It's tricky inside the home, even trickier if they go outside the home. Emerging WiFi enhancements promise to improve capabilities for video.   
kq4ym
50%
50%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/12/2014 | 8:58:19 PM
Look Ma, No Wires
What seems like a great idea may or may not work well. With all those pesky microwaves cooking popcorn and other RF interference, the infrequent interruptions may very well prove just too much for some video viewers. Wireless is great for convenience but the customers may just vote no if there's too much viewing irritation.
More Blogs from Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
The shift to application and network virtualization by operators and CSPs requires a new generation of multicore processors that are being introduced by many vendors.
In the wake of a damaging cyber attack in 2015, Philip Clayson was tasked with creating a cyber breach remediation plan for over 600 applications across TalkTalk's consumer and enterprise divisions and to deal with the operator's 'tech debt.'
It's still hard to say whether carrier SDN is really a success or a failure, but the needle is moving on SDN commercialization – albeit not as quickly as some might hope.
The most recent Thought Leadership Council (TLC) survey finds that although most communications service providers (CSPs) prefer to have a solid plan in place before moving on a new market trend, it's not looking to be the same for automation, as most CSPs surveyed say they are moving forward without solid plans.
Software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) is the primary focus for cable in 2018, with fierce competition across the market.
Featured Video
From The Founder
The world of virtualization is struggling to wrench itself away from the claws of vendor lock-in, which runs counter to everything that NFV stands for.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
March 20-22, 2018, Denver Marriott Tech Center
March 22, 2018, Denver, Colorado | Denver Marriott Tech Center
March 28, 2018, Kansas City Convention Center
April 4, 2018, The Westin Dallas Downtown, Dallas
April 9, 2018, Las Vegas Convention Center
May 14-16, 2018, Austin Convention Center
May 14, 2018, Brazos Hall, Austin, Texas
September 24-26, 2018, Westin Westminster, Denver
October 9, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
October 23, 2018, Georgia World Congress Centre, Atlanta, GA
November 8, 2018, The Montcalm by Marble Arch, London
November 15, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
December 4-6, 2018, Lisbon, Portugal
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Has Europe Switched to a Fiber Diet? Not Yet...
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, 2/15/2018
5G: The Density Question
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/15/2018
Will China React to Latest US Huawei, ZTE Slapdown?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, 2/16/2018
IBM, Microsoft Duke It Out Over Chief Diversity Hire
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 2/15/2018
21st Century Networking? Welcome to the Lock-In
Steve Saunders, Founder, Light Reading, 2/20/2018
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed