& cplSiteName &

Comcast Tests Broadband-Fed Xcalibur Service

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
12/14/2010
50%
50%

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is testing a new IP-capable video service in Augusta, Ga., that combines Web-fed content with the MSO's traditional video services, the Wall Street Journal reports.

According to the paper, the pilot effort, called Spectrum and dubbed internally as Xcalibur, leverages a set-top that lets consumers watch, search for, and view Web video on their televisions. The MSO reportedly could launch the service sometime next year.

Light Reading Cable blew the lid off that initiative -- first labeled as Excalibur and later as Comcast Converged Products -- in October 2009. (See Comcast Forges 'Excalibur' for IPTV.)

Sources familiar with the project have referred to it as a "managed over-the-top" video offering that will allow the MSO to offer it as an option as consumers become increasingly interested in using the Internet to fulfill their video needs.

In addition to providing defense against the "cord-cutting" trend, the service will give consumers a Web-to-TV option without requiring them to use specialized boxes from sources such as Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Boxee . (See Boxee Launches Cord-Cutting Box and Google TV Guns for Cable Deals .)

Update: Comcast, we've been told, is not placing much emphasis on Web-sourced video at this juncture of the experiment. Instead, there's much more weight being placed on new user interfaces and navigation systems. Also, the broadcast-TV and on-demand video content being fed to the test units arrives via regular, non-IP means.

Although this offer is apparently targeted to Comcast's existing sub base, there are rumors that Comcast's longer-term strategy involves offering OTT subscription services outside its traditional footprint using adaptive rate video streaming. (See Rumor: Comcast Plots OTT Stealth Attack and Cable Adapting to Video's Streaming Future.)

Of recent note, the Comcast Converged Products, or CCP, division has been looking to fill some key technology posts, including Solutions Architect/Technical Program Manager (IPTV), and Metadata Software Engineer. Those job postings continue to bill CCP's work as the MSO's "next big thing," citing a "next-generation platform" that will provide video access to TVs, PCs, smartphones, and other devices.

According to the WSJ, the Augusta trial involves a "limited" amount of Internet content, including some Web video and access to some social-networking apps, though the MSO could expand this walled garden later. The MSO also hasn't decided when or if it will launch it wide, or what kind of price such a capability would carry. Comcast was not immediately available for further comment, but confirmed the "small trial" to the WSJ, noting that the MSO is "testing many technological approaches to understand how best to meet consumer interests..."

The story notes that Comcast boxes aren't currently being used to receive Web content, but that Comcast is using "experimental" hybrid QAM-IP boxes called "Parker" -- an apparent homage to the main character of the Spider-Man comics and movies.

However, Light Reading Cable reported last month that Comcast's new Residential Network Gateway (RNG)-class boxes can be "flipped" to support IP video via software and firmware upgrades. The MSO has already deployed millions of RNG boxes equipped with Docsis cable modems, essentially seeding its markets for a broader IP video strategy. (See Comcast 'RNG' Set-Tops Have IPTV Potential .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:15:59 PM
re: Comcast Tests Broadband-Fed Xcalibur Service


Although Comcast's RNG boxes can be flipped to do IP-based apps and content, it seems clear from the story that Comcast's testing a new box for this trial.  No hard evidence to cite here, but Comcast's been rumored to be using a box from Verismo in some way, and this trial seems like a nice candidate for that.  Here's a bit more on Verismo's ambitions to serve OTT and the concept of the "virtual MSO."  JB

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:15:58 PM
re: Comcast Tests Broadband-Fed Xcalibur Service


Or not.  Also hearing that this is all about a next-gen gateway. More soon. JB

Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
What Is MACOM's Role in Enabling the Upgrade From 100G to 400G Optical Connectivity?

3|30|17   |     |   (0) comments


MACOM's Vivek Rajgarhia, vice president and GM of Lightwave Networking Components, discusses MACOM's complete solution of innovative technologies and products that have achieved success in the PON access market, as well as in Long Haul, Metro and DCI networks with 100G to 400G technology.
LRTV Custom TV
Affirmed Networks Is Setting Up New Standards for IoT

3|30|17   |     |   (0) comments


As a market leader helping mobile operators embrace the benefits of virtualized networks, Affirmed Networks is seeing significant interest by service providers worldwide to deploy NFV-based networks as the foundation for IoT service delivery. This video interview between Heavy Reading analyst Steve Bell and Angela Whiteford, Affirmed Networks' vice president of ...
LRTV Documentaries
MLBAM: Live Sports Streaming Will Be Big

3|30|17   |     |   (0) comments


MLB Advanced Media EVP and CTO Joe Inzerillo explains why live sports streaming will take off over the next few years despite major technical challenges.
LRTV Custom TV
Xilinx Disruptive Technology Breakthrough for 5G Wireless

3|30|17   |     |   (0) comments


Xilinx has integrated multi-giga-sample RF data converters into its 16nm MPSoCs devices for the industry's first All Programmable RFSoC, eliminating the need for discrete ADCs and DACs.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Turkcell Challenges Turkey's Current TV Market

3|29|17   |     |   (0) comments


Baris Zavaroglu, TV and rntertainment business director of Turkcell, explains Turkcell's strategy in elevating the small and uncertain TV market in Turkey.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Altibox’s Infrastructure Synergy Strategy Reduces Deployment Costs

3|29|17   |     |   (0) comments


Thomas Skjelbred, CEO of Altibox, on how to improve efficiency and reduce deployment coast through infrastructure synergy in Norway.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Ismail Butun on the Changing Role of Turkcell

3|29|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ismail Butun, chief marketing officer of Turkcell, explains the importance of video and mobile services for the future of the company.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
IDC's Emir Halilovic on Trends of Cloudification

3|29|17   |     |   (0) comments


Emir Halilovic of IDC CEMA discusses the future and direction of cloudification. Also, the all-cloud approach taken by Huawei and others in the industry.
LRTV Custom TV
How Intel Is Powering the 5G Era

3|29|17   |     |   (0) comments


Light Reading tours a series of 5G "super demos" so see how Intel envisions the 5G-connected future. We take a look at a prototype connected BMW, a light pole with environmental sensors that provides 5G wireless to a smart home and a fully untethered virtual reality experience.
LRTV Custom TV
Source Photonics CEO Doug Wright Talks About the Future of Source Photonics

3|29|17   |     |   (0) comments


Source Photonics' CEO, Doug Wright, talks to Light Reading about how the company is continuously investing in its operations to meet not only its customers' current technology demands but also to deliver their next-generation technology needs.
LRTV Custom TV
Live Demo: DevOps in Service Chains & 5G Network Slices PoC

3|29|17   |     |   (0) comments


Executives from PoC collaborating companies – Patrick Waldemar, VP and Head of Technology at Telenor Research, John Healy, VP of the Datacenter Network Solutions Group at Intel, Vincent Spinelli, SVP of Global Sales and Marketing at RIFT.io, Mats Eriksson, CEO and co-founder of Arctos Labs, and Mats Nordlund, CEO and co-founder of Netrounds – review ...
LRTV Documentaries
The Year of Fat & Skinny Bundles

3|29|17   |   21:06   |   (0) comments


In this fireside chat, Roku's Andrew Ferrone predicts that 2017 will be the year of multichannel OTT video bundles and spells out other trends in the OTT and pay-TV markets.
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Unlocking China's $194B Telecom Market
Robert Clark, 3/27/2017
Ericsson Tightens Focus, Warns of $1.7B Q1 Hit
Iain Morris, News Editor, 3/28/2017
WiCipedia: Supergirls, No More Excuses & Media Monitoring
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 3/24/2017
Welcome to the Wild West of Privacy
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/24/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
At MWC 2017, Qualcomm's CTO Matt Grob talks to Light Reading's CEO and Founder Steve Saunders about the progress being made in the development of the technologies and standards that will underpin 5G.
Animals with Phones
Working From Home Doesn't Work for Everyone Click Here
You shouldn't nap on your keyboard, for instance.
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.