Light Reading

iPad, Xoom Get First Crack at Comcast's AnyPlay

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
11/22/2011
50%
50%

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPads and Motorola Mobility LLC Xooms will get the first taste of Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s AnyPlay, a CableCARD-based device that transcodes QAM video into MPEG-4 based IP streams for mobile-device consumption. (See Comcast AnyPlay to Stream Live TV to Tablets .)

The MSO is about to start customer trials in two markets. Comcast isn't identifying them yet, but a company spokesman confirmed a CNN report that the MSO intends to start AnyPlay tests in the "next few weeks."

The spokesman said AnyPlay will be compatible with the Xoom and the iPad's iOS platform out of the chute, and that Comcast intends to support an array of other Android-based tablets later on.

Initial support for the iPad was a given considering its popularity and the fact that Comcast has already developed several apps for iOS, including Xfinity TV, which turns the tablet into a fancy remote control, a program guide and a conduit to authenticated video-on-demand from HBO and other programmers. Motorola, meanwhile, helped develop AnyPlay (Motorola calls its product the Televation, which came away with a Leading Lights award this year), so it's logical that the Moto-made tablet also made it to the front of the line. (See Moto, Comcast Team on In-Home TV Streamer and LR Names 2011 Leading Lights Winners.)

Like similar apps from Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and, most recently, Cox Communications Inc. , Comcast's version will limit live TV streaming to the reach of the customer's Wi-Fi home network. (See Cox Connects With the iPad and Cablevision Launches iPad App With 280+ Channels .)

However, Comcast's stab at live TV on tablets, at least at the start, won't rely strictly on a native app but will lean on a separate, sidecar-like device outfitted with a CableCARD to transcode incoming MPEG-2 QAM video signals into IP streams. That approach should let customers surf Comcast's entire live TV lineup. By comparison, Cox expects its app to start off with access to about 35 live TV channels, with more coming as Cox obtains more channel rights.

The AnyPlay device itself sources video via a standard coax cable, and then formats it and sends the video to the router on the home network. The router distributes the video feeds to tablets over Wi-Fi. Comcast isn't disclosing how it might price AnyPlay and isn't saying whether it would lease the device or sell it outright.

Motorola has plenty of ideas on how cable operators can take advantage of Xoom. Here's what CEO Sanjay Jha and President Daniel Moloney had to say about it at last week's Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) Cable-Tec Expo in Atlanta.



— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
craigleddy
50%
50%
craigleddy,
User Rank: Blogger
12/5/2012 | 4:48:10 PM
re: iPad, Xoom Get First Crack at Comcast's AnyPlay


How much consumer demand do you think there will be for live TV streaming service to tablets when you can't take it outside of the home?? The QAM/IP transcoding trick by Comcast seems like a nifty technical play, but to me the niftier play with tablets is when you turn them into TV remotes and create an interactive platform for companion apps and social media that's synced to live content on the TV. The second screen apps, as they're getting called.      

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:48:09 PM
re: iPad, Xoom Get First Crack at Comcast's AnyPlay


Like we saw with CVC and TWC, there will be an early novelty effect, but I think this initially is all about recognizing that the iPad and other tablets are media consumption devices and akin to  another TV screen, and rights issues are going to keep this limited to within the reach of the home network (unless you just want to go and buy a Slingbox and use it to access everything in and out of the house to your heart's content).  Uptake on this will also be determined by how much Comcast charges for this, if anything at all?  What's a fair lease fee? $2 per month?


I think Comcast is taking its initial approach so it plays nice wiht programmers and can deliver the full TV lineup without having to worry about some of the rights issues other MSOs have had with iPad apps that allow live TV streaming.  Televation/AnyPlay isn't a set-top... or is it? There's a CableCARD in that device, and it's really just a precursor to fancier hybrid gateways that can do this on the fly MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 transcode.


Plus it's just a start.  I think every MSO wants to be able to let customers access their subscriptions on the go without having to buy a place-shifting device at retail. The rights, not the tech, is what's mucking things up. JB


 

craigleddy
50%
50%
craigleddy,
User Rank: Blogger
12/5/2012 | 4:48:08 PM
re: iPad, Xoom Get First Crack at Comcast's AnyPlay


"The rights, not the tech, is what's mucking things up."


AGREE. The rights issues are a bigger obstacle than the technology.


Service providers and television networks need to figure out a workable rights model supported by an easy, automatic DRM solution.  

cc.chen
50%
50%
cc.chen,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:47:58 PM
re: iPad, Xoom Get First Crack at Comcast's AnyPlay


Another angle is how much will Comcast charge subscribers. And how long the premium content provider will provide their service on top of their DOCSIS network. Look Charter's case, they are thinking if they should work with Netflix to get the content. Content right is the biggest expense to cable operator. 


Comcast now focus on profit generation not subscription addition. They already lose customer for 2 years sequentially. It is very obvious this program is a retaining program. 

Flash Poll
From The Founder
Ericsson's Hyperscale Datacenter System (HDS) 8000, featuring Intel's Rack Scale Architecture, caused a stir when it was announced at MWC 2015. For more on this revolutionary product, join me on Thursday, April 30 at 12:00 p.m. EST for a Super Webinar event, A New Hardware Paradigm for the Telco Data Center.
LRTV Documentaries
CableLabs' Clarke Updates Cable Virtualization

4|23|15   |   05:41   |   (1) comment


Former BT exec now leading CableLabs' NFV and SDN efforts explains key role of open source and updates efforts to virtualize the home network.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. II

4|23|15   |   08:19   |   (1) comment


In the second installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about cultural change, network slicing and technology advances.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. I

4|23|15   |   09:27   |   (3) comments


In the first installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about the incredible transformation underway in the communications networking industry.
LRTV Documentaries
LTE Paves the Way for the 5G Revolution

4|20|15   |   4:20   |   (0) comments


Håkan Andersson, head of 5G product strategy of the Radio Business Unit at Ericsson, discusses the role of LTE, the US and other industry verticals in building a true 5G ecosystem.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu + Nokia: The New Uber-Vendor

4|15|15   |   2:42   |   (4) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown discusses the technological and competitive opportunities and challenges if a merger between Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia comes to pass.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Data Center Power Play

4|15|15   |   6:22   |   (0) comments


Huawei has developed industry-leading energy efficiency capabilities for its indoor and outdoor data center solutions, explains Dr. Fang Liangzhou, vice president of Huawei's Network Energy product Line.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Routers, Switches Get the Green Mark

4|15|15   |   2:02   |   (0) comments


TUV Rheinland's Frank Dudley explains how Huawei's routers and switches have been successfully tested by energy efficiency experts and have gained Green Mark Certification.
LRTV Documentaries
A Finn, a Frenchman & a Guy From New Jersey Walk Into a Merger...

4|15|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


Stop us if you've heard this one before... Light Reading CEO Founder & CEO Steve Saunders weighs in on the technical and cultural implications of a Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent merger.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accounting for Better Solutions

4|10|15   |   02:31   |   (1) comment


Murad Yousuf, CTO at Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance (Dept. of Zakat & Income Tax), talks about the benefits of deploying router technology from Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
What's in Store for Huawei & DataCore?

4|10|15   |   05:44   |   (0) comments


At the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany, George Teixeira, CEO of software-defined storage (SDS) specialist DataCore Software, explains why he has just signed a partnership agreement with Huawei Technologies.
Upcoming Live Events
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
In its latest survey covering network operators' plans and strategies for ICT transformation, Heavy Reading asked telecom operators worldwide to identify the most important goals and objectives for their ICT transformation initiatives. Heavy Reading also asked operators about the importance of a "digital first" strategy, which enables customers to complete an interaction across different digital channels, such as web and mobile self-service and social media.
Hot Topics
Comcast Formally Ends Its Bid for TWC
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/24/2015
What if the Comcast Merger Fails?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/20/2015
Google's WiFi-First Mobile Service 'Fi' Is Here
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2015
Comcast Merger May Hinge on Hulu
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/22/2015
Google Ready to Release Thousands of Loons
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 4/20/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Many leading communications companies can claim to have undergone significant periods of reinvention during their histories, but none have been through more major ...
Data Center Interconnect, or DCI, is one of the hottest sectors in telecom currently. Since coming back to Light Reading last year, prodigal-son style, I've ...
Cats with Phones
Learning Curve Click Here
Pierre could never remember how to use Excel.
Latest Comment