Light Reading
CTO of Moto's Home division sees parallels between cable's journeys to digital TV and now to IP video – it'll be a step-laden grind

Cable's Long Path to IPTV Nirvana

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
9/8/2010
50%
50%

As David Grubb, the CTO of Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT)'s home business unit sees it, cable's migration to IP video will look a lot like its journey from analog TV to digital TV. That means it won't be easy, and it won't happen overnight.

In fact, cable's digital migration is still going on after more than 10 years. Most operators that claim to be all-digital got there by simulcasting all programming in the digital domain. But after reclaiming analog spectrum to apply toward video-on-demand, HDTV, and Docsis 3.0, many MSOs still offer a lifeline analog video tier, and that scenario may not change for many years to come.

Getting to this point took many years… and many steps. And Grubb thinks cable will go through a similarly step-laden process during its inexorable migration to IP video. Don't expect cable to go all U-verse with a quick flip of the switch.

"It [cable's digital transition] took many years, and we're really at the trailing edge of analog," Grubb tells Light Reading Cable.

In Grubb's estimation, cable can achieve IP video Nirvana in three key steps:

  1. Start with altering the user experience and TV interface by shifting to a Web-based architecture that allows for more rapid changes and innovation.
  2. Move IP video into the home network with multiroom DVRs that can speak the high-speed languages of Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) , WiFi, and possibly other platforms.
  3. Then comes the hard(er) part -- putting all cable services onto a common IP access network.


Grubb adds that cable should not rev up IP video just for the sake of doing it, by essentially replicating today's digital TV services on a new platform. "The move to IP is not just a slightly different way to enhance your digital offering," he says. "It really should be considered a new platform, just the way digital was considered a new platform." (See Video's 'Third Wave'.)

Breaking down the steps
That's why Grubb isn't exactly enamored with the idea of cable operators simulcasting all of their video services in IP right away. "It's a lot of work to deliver basically what the consumer is already getting today at a very high quality," he says.

Instead, he advocates that cable focus first on making the set-top navigation system more personalized and engaging, and just more Web-like. That includes better ways to navigate ever-growing video-on-demand (VoD) libraries and perhaps the addition of Internet-delivered content.

The second step, bridging IP video the home network, is also underway, though cable's still in the early stages of deployments. In fact, some are just starting to get off the ground this year. (See Comcast Launches Multi-Room DVR and Mediacom Rolls Whole-Home DVR.)

Grubb believes putting IPTV in the cable access network will be the most complex of the steps and will take the most time to complete, since MSOs already have millions of digital boxes in the field that can't speak a lick of IP, and massive legacy networks to feed them.

With that in mind, Grubb says hybrid cable boxes that can handle QAM (the old way) and IP will play a big role in the transition. "You'll get to a certain point when you're simulating everything [and] you start shipping IP-only boxes. Then, over time, operators can start to taper off the digital tiers, just like analog is being tapered off today."

Grubb suggests that at least a 16-channel downstream is needed for operators to start thinking about launching large tiers of IP video. (Most top-of-the-line Docsis 3.0 modems and gateways can bond eight downstream channels.)

Timing is everything
How rapidly cable takes each step will vary by the MSO, but Grubb believes operators will start to deliver IP video services to set-top boxes within the next couple of years. (Delivery to secondary devices such as iPads will, of course, start sooner than that.) (See Cablevision to Deliver Live TV & VoD to iPad.)

But when will cable use IP as its primary delivery mechanism for video to the home? Don't hold your breath. Grubb guesses it won't happen for five to seven years, citing cable's massive digital legacy and the work that's required to shift all linear and on-demand content so it can be delivered to IP boxes and a new, underlying, video-optimized IP access network.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
ycurrent
50%
50%
ycurrent,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:24:22 PM
re: Cable's Long Path to IPTV Nirvana


don't think existing conditional access technology will extend to IP video environments... even MOT acknowledges that it will be supporting multiple DRMs despite the SecureMedia acquisition.  Watch how far Irdeto has moved in this regard for supporting multi-screen IP video delivery.

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:24:22 PM
re: Cable's Long Path to IPTV Nirvana


One thing that won't serve them as well (and maybe Cisco too) is if the transition to IP video allows cable ops to untwist  the vice they have on conditional access. It may give MSOs, at last, an oppotunity to go with other parties for video security. thought it won't surprise me to see Moto and Cisco both try to hold onto their position through a company like SecureMedia (which is now part of motorola) or by trying to adapt their existing CAs to a DRM environment. JB

apac_fiber
50%
50%
apac_fiber,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:24:22 PM
re: Cable's Long Path to IPTV Nirvana


Speaking from the division make money for Moto, changes/Innovation is not a good thing.

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:24:20 PM
re: Cable's Long Path to IPTV Nirvana


 Good points. I still don't see them giving up on this very easily and try to maintain as much of thier duopoly position that they can muster. But guessing that Cisco and Moto are both glad that this transition won't happen overnight so they can figure out how to keep their lucrative positions or develop new biz that will replace what they stand to lose. JB 

Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
Wagner’s Ring
Data Centers Drive Telcos Into the Future

8|28|14   |   2:20   |   (2) comments


Data centers are at the heart of key trends driving telecom -- network virtualization, the drive for increased agility, and the need to compete with OTT providers.
LRTV Custom TV
Why SPs Should Consider Cisco's EPN

8|27|14   |   5:40   |   (0) comments


Sultan Dawood from Cisco discusses Cisco's EPN, which enables SPs to build agile and programmable networks delivering new network virtualized services using Cisco's Evolved Services Platform (ESP).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Showcase @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   2.56   |   (0) comments


SoftCOM is Huawei's framework for telecom business and network transformation. Haofei Liu, Solution Marketing Manager, Carrier Business Group, Huawei, showcases Huawei's SoftCOM architecture in this video.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of Integrated Solutions on SoftCOM & NFV Monetization

8|26|14   |   4.43   |   (0) comments


Libin Dai, Director of Integrated Solutions, Carrier Business Group, discusses Huawei's SoftCOM and NFV monetization. Huawei believes that NFV monetization should be service-driven rather than network-driven, and that operators should have network transformation, service transformation and a compatible and collaborative ecosystem in place in order to deploy NFV.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of US NFV Lab on CloudEdge & the Future of NFV

8|26|14   |   4.06   |   (0) comments


Sean Chen, Director of US NFV Lab at Huawei, discusses Huawei's new approach to NFV in open collaboration. Huawei believes that through Proof of Concept tests, it could help operators learn and communicate with the industry more effectively. Sean believes that successful implementation of NFV should have its values reaching to end users and discusses how Huawei's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Highlights @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   3.34   |   (0) comments


At the Big Telecom Event in Chicago Huawei showcases its high-level strategy, the SoftCOM architecture, which helps operators reduce the cost of ownership of their network infrastructure and generate additional revenue in the ICT service environment. Huawei showcases over 30 pilot programs from across the globe, focusing on the industry-leading commercial ...
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX – Live from the Show

8|21|14   |   5:58   |   (0) comments


An overview of VeEX Test and Measurement solutions including TX300S multi-service test set with VeExpress cloud-based management system, UX400 universal modular platform supporting 100G testing, and the redesigned RXT modular platform.
LRTV Custom TV
Transitioning CE 2.0 Networks Into the SDN & NFV Era With Telco Systems

8|19|14   |   5:19   |   (0) comments


Telco Systems' Ariel Efrati (CEO) and Moshe Shimon (VP of Product Management) discuss virtualization and how the company's new Open Metro Edge solution utilizes the SDN and NFV concepts to accelerate and orchestrate service delivery through its innovative product portfolio and software applications.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Myths: Is NFV Still Several Years Away?

8|11|14   |   1:13   |   (0) comments


Some say that NFV (network functions virtualization) is still several years away from being implemented on mobile operator networks. This isn't the case. Operators can get started on their paths to NFV now, as this short video from Skyfire shows.
LRTV Custom TV
A New Security Paradigm in SDN/NFV

7|28|14   |   02:54   |   (0) comments


Paul Shaneck, Global Director Network Solutions for Symantec, discusses the evolving virtualized network, explaining how Symantec is leading the security discussion as it relates to SDN and NFV, and helping to ensure the network is protected and compliant.
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint's Network Evolution

7|24|14   |   14:59   |   (0) comments


Sprint's Jay Bluhm gives a keynote speech at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) about Sprint's network and services evolution strategy, including Spark.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE Keynote: The Software-Defined Operator

7|24|14   |   18:43   |   (1) comment


Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg explains the concept of the software-defined operator to the Big Telecom Event (BTE) crowd.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 23, 2014, Denver, CO
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
A survey conducted by Vasona Networks suggests that 72% of mobile users expect good performance all the time, and they'll blame the network operator when it's not up to par.
Today's Cartoon
Hot Topics
Rogers, Shaw Take Aim at Netflix
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 8/26/2014
Utilities to Pump $11.2B Into Smart Grid – Study
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 8/26/2014
Verizon Launches QR Code Security Solution
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/26/2014
Nokia's Maps Land on Samsung Devices
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 8/29/2014
Verizon to Launch HD VoLTE in 'Coming Weeks'
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 8/26/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed