Light Reading

iPad, Xoom Get First Crack at Comcast's AnyPlay

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

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
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
LRTV Custom TV
Optimizing SDN & NFV Architectures Through Application Awareness

4|23|14   |   6:24   |   (0) comments


Jerome Tollet, CTO at Qosmos, explains how network equipment vendors and operators deploying SDN and NFV can take advantage of network intelligence delivered by DPI to strengthen products and services.
LRTV Custom TV
Wind River Demonstrates Carrier-Grade Software for NFV

4|22|14   |   5:00   |   (0) comments


Wind River VP of Product Management, Glenn Seiler, takes a look the industry's first and only complete NFV software platform designed specifically for the unique carrier-grade and high-performance needs of telecom networks.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyes Big Technology Shifts

4|16|14   |   03:02   |   (4) comments


US cable engineers are facing a lot of heavy lifting in the coming years, notes Light Reading Cable/Video Practice Leader Alan Breznick.
LRTV Custom TV
Maximizing Customer Experience & Assuring Service Delivery in an IP World

4|15|14   |   4:57   |   (0) comments


Steven Shalita, VP of Marketing, NetScout Systems, Inc., discusses the challenges cable/MSO operators face in assuring the delivery of new IP-based services. Key points include the value of proactively managing performance, and using rich analytics and operational intelligence to better understand service and usage trends, make smarter business decisions and ...
LRTV Documentaries
Bye-Bye DVD: Consumers Embrace Digital Video

4|10|14   |   04:17   |   (7) comments


Veteran video analyst Colin Dixon, founder and principal analyst of nScreenMedia, says research shows 56% are using digital video already.
LRTV Documentaries
Video: TW Cable Puts Multicast Gateways to the Test

4|8|14   |   04:13   |   (1) comment


Tom Gonder, a chief architect at Time Warner Cable, explains how its trial of multicast gateways is impacting IP-based video plans.
LRTV Custom TV
Managing & Monetizing Big Data in Operator Environments

4|7|14   |     |   (1) comment


At Mobile World Congress, Gigamon's Director of Service Provider Solutions, Andy Huckridge, and Heavy Reading Analyst Sarah Wallace discuss the 'big data' issues facing carriers and operators today.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Data Center Energy – Build Your Data Center in a Modular Way

4|7|14   |   2:13   |   (0) comments


Dr. Fang Liangzhou, VP Network Energy Product Line, shared his thoughts about the challenges for data centers during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Agile Network Solution – An Overview of Huawei's Agile Network Solution

4|7|14   |   2:31   |   (0) comments


Ajay Gupta, Director of Product Marketing, Networking Product Line, gives an overview of the Agile Network Solutions during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s eLTE Voice Trunking, Video and Data Applied for Railways

4|7|14   |   1:38   |   (0) comments


Gottfried Winter is the Sales Director at Funkwerk, a German specialist in GSM-r terminals and a long-time partner of Huawei. At CeBIT 2014, Winter talks to Light Reading about this partnership and the integration of enhanced voice trunking, video and data functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
LeaseWeb Speaks Highly of Huawei's Datacenter Products

4|7|14   |   1:37   |   (0) comments


Rene Olde Olthof, Operations Director LeaseWeb, talks about the next data center transformation during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Documentaries
Comcast: Reshaping the Cable Network Architecture

4|3|14   |   07:11   |   (8) comments


Shamim Akhtar, Comcast's architect and senior director of network strategy, explains why the cable company is moving to a more distributed network architecture.
Today's Cartoon
Hot Topics
WhatsApp Threatens Carrier VoLTE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/18/2014
The Hungry, Hungry Cloud
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2014
Who's Ready to Play Broadband?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/21/2014
What's the Magic of Private Equity?
Carolyn Mathas, 4/22/2014
AT&T Turns Up Gig Heat in 21 New Metros
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/21/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed