& 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
NICs have evolved many times, and the smart NIC is the next step, offering a programmable resource that can be configured to provide additional CPU offload functions for different applications.
Operators are applying artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to leverage the power of their new programmable, software-based networks.
This year's show evinced healthy interest in effectively using data and analytics to run telecom businesses better, but how well are operators actually doing with it?
FTTx rollouts need a more automated process for collecting and analyzing test results, and analytics could provide the answer.
Driven by web-scale Internet companies, three key trends – disaggregation in terminals, open line systems and 100G+ transponders – are reshaping the DCI market.
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading is spending much of this year digging into the details of how automation technology will impact the comms market, but let's take a moment to also look at how automation is set to overturn the current world order by the middle of the century.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
December 5-7, 2017, The Intercontinental Prague
March 20-22, 2018, Denver Marriott Tech Center
May 14-17, 2018, Austin Convention Center
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
SmartNICs aren't just about achieving scale. They also have a major impact in reducing CAPEX and OPEX requirements.
Hot Topics
When Will 6G Arrive? Hopefully Never, Says BT's McRae
Iain Morris, News Editor, 11/21/2017
Let's Talk About 5G Efficiency, Not Wacky Services
Iain Morris, News Editor, 11/21/2017
Top 5 Tech Turkeys 2017
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/22/2017
AT&T's Lurie Leaps to Synchronoss as New CEO
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/17/2017
Wireless Could Arrive Soon in NYC Subway Tunnels
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/20/2017
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Partner Perspectives - content from our sponsors
The Mobile Broadband Road Ahead
By Kevin Taylor, for Huawei
All Partner Perspectives