Light Reading

Comcast Expanding 'All-Digital' Domain

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
4/17/2009
50%
50%

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has started the "all-digital" process in parts of its Boston- and Atlanta-area systems as the MSO continues to free up space for more HD networks and the speedier Docsis 3.0 cable modem platform. (See Comcast Sets Wideband Goal .)

The MSO says it's already starting to migrate some analog channels to the digital domain in Winder, Ga., with plans to do the same in nearby North Fulton County in the next month or so, according to Comcast spokeswoman Alana Davis. The MSO will continue doing that in the Atlanta area on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis.

Comcast isn't that far along yet in the Boston area, but it has started the "marination" process in Newburyport. In that early, preparatory phase, the MSO is proactively installing digital boxes and simpler, one-way digital terminal adapters (DTAs) during routine truck rolls before the market is "on the clock" for the analog-to-digital channel migration.

Marination is also underway in the MSO's Philadelphia region. The initiative, dubbed internally as "Project Cavalry," is already started or completed in the Bay Area; Portland and Salem, Ore.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; and Seattle and other parts of Washington. (See Comcast Sends In the All-Digital 'Cavalry' and Comcast 'Cavalry' Rides Into NoCal .)

A key goal of Cavalry is to move about 40 analog channels from the operator's expanded basic programming tier to digital, while leaving its basic "B1" tier (about 20 channels, depending on the market) in analog. In those markets, the MSO is giving each expanded basic customer two DTAs and one entry-level, interactive set-top (so it supports the MSO's interactive program guide and video-on-demand apps) for no additional cost for as long as they remain Comcast customers. (See Comcast Seeds Digital Shift With Free Boxes.)

Comcast, responding to pressure from the likes of DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) and Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH), is already starting to beef up its HD lineup using reclaimed analog spectrum capacity. In Salem and Eugene, for example, the MSO launched 30 new hi-def networks last month after it completed the digital migration there. In Chattanooga, meanwhile, the MSO is starting off by packing in 22 new hi-def channels and booting up a 50 Mbit/s (downstream) Docsis 3.0 service.

Cisco cometh
So far, all of Comcast's all-digital moves have occurred in markets based on Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT)'s digital platform, where the MSO is deploying DTAs from that suppler, as well as from Thomson S.A. (NYSE: TMS; Euronext Paris: 18453) and Pace Micro Technology .

Comcast expects to start the process in some initial Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)-based markets by mid-2009 or later, according to Comcast VP of video services Jay Kreiling.

That timing will likely hinge on how rapidly Cisco polishes off its own DTA product and a headend component that can control it. Just ahead of the recently concluded cable show in Washington, D.C., Dave Clark, director of product strategy and management for Cisco's set-top product unit, told Cable Digital News that his company expects to start delivering DTA samples to MSO customers by June.

"It's definitively a real product. We're about finished with the development phase on this," Clark said.

Cisco, he noted, has developed a specific model for Comcast, called the DTA30, that houses some unique frequency specs for the device's remote control. Another model, the DTA50, is for other MSOs.

Comcast had previously indicated that it will need up to 25 million DTAs to complete the project across the board.

In a video interview at the cable show, comcast chief technology officer Tony Werner said he's been pleased with the performance of the DTAs so far, and that Comcast is on track to have about half its markets started down the all-digital path by the end of 2009. Werner's comments about the DTAs appear at the six-minute mark of the video, embedded below:



— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Flash Poll
From The Founder
The Swedish vendor has undergone a significant transformation during the past few years, adjusting to the demands of next-generation communications companies.
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.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Du Puts Its Faith in Huawei's Routers

4|9|15   |   3:42   |   (0) comments


Adnan Masood, director of Enterprise MS Solutions Marketing at du, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) operator also known as Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, explains why his company chose to use Huawei's multifunctional AR routers as part of its managed enterprise services.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Gets Active in the Data Center

4|9|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


With enterprise users looking to maximize the use of their data center assets, Huawei’s Chief Architect & Technical Director of IT Data Center Solutions, Bruce Su, explains how the company's six-layer active-active data center solution is eradicating the need to deploy passive, redundant data center assets.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Blue Consult & Huawei for a Better Solution

4|8|15   |   4:01   |   (0) comments


Martin Rott, CEO, and Marc Metzler, head of sales virtualization, from Germany's Blue Consult discuss their collaboration with Huawei and TrendMicro to develop a secure, scalable IT platform that can meet the needs of the most demanding enterprise users.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Beach Petroleum on eLTE & Mining

4|8|15   |   3:09   |   (0) comments


Network systems integrator Jeremy Hamlyn explains how Huawei's secure packet-based trunking communications system, eLTE, can help remote communities and companies in the mining, oil and gas sectors, deploy efficient communications networks that are perfect for video and data as well as voice.
Upcoming Live Events
May 5, 2015, Hyatt McCormick Place, Chicago, IL
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
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network Instruments, a JDSU division, shares results from its 2015 State of the Network, a global survey on security.
Hot Topics
Verizon Scores New OTT Content Deals
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/16/2015
Can WiFi Calling Find Its Voice?
Iain Morris, News Editor, 4/13/2015
Senator Proposes New 'Title X' for Net Neutrality
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/13/2015
Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent in Merger Talks
Iain Morris, News Editor, 4/14/2015
Nokia & Alcatel-Lucent: What's Going On?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 4/15/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
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 ...
LR CEO and Founder Steve Saunders sits down with the head of Qosmos to talk about the changing state of the art in deep packet inspection technology, including its role in SDN and NFV architectures.
Cats with Phones
Steve's Phone Click Here
Steve Saunders's personal phone.