& cplSiteName &

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        ADD A COMMENT
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
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 Interviews
Can Cable Climb Upmarket?

12|7|16   |     |   (0) comments


Carol Wilson and Alan Breznick assess cable's prospects for winning more enterprises in a landscape rocked by corporate M&A activity.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
TalkTalk Exec: Find Your North Star at Work

12|7|16   |   3:38   |   (0) comments


Women need to find their purpose, a professional North Star, and create a personal board for themselves, according to Alex Tempest, director of partners at TalkTalk Business.
LRTV Interviews
Verizon: Beware Unknown Unknowns

12|7|16   |   04:58   |   (0) comments


Chris Novak, director of the Verizon Enterprise Solutions Risk Team, explains that enterprises who don't conduct a thorough audit of their assets often leave some things unprotected because they don't know they exist. Many times these unprotected assets are part of corporate M&A activity but left unshielded they can become a hacker's playground, he tells Light ...
LRTV Interviews
ETSI's CTO Talks NFV, 5G & NGP

12|5|16   |   09:45   |   (0) comments


Adrian Scrase, CTO at standards body ETSI, talks about the various initiatives and specifications developments related to NFV, 5G and NGP (next-generation protocols) that will underpin next-gen networks.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Korn Ferry Consultant: How to Find, Cultivate & Be the Best Talent

11|30|16   |   4:10   |   (2) comments


Erin Callaghan, a managing consultant for Korn Ferry Futurestep, shares strategies for companies to improve how they recruit and for women to ensure they don't get lost in the pipeline.
LRTV Custom TV
We Can Make the World More Sustainable

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


GeSI is a global e-Sustainability Initiative organization bringing together 40 big multinational companies around the world. According to GeSI's report, information and communication technology can make the world more sustainable. Luis Neves, chairman of GeSI, shared with us his opinion at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Finding a New Way to Engage Customers & Drive Revenue

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Mobile revenues are declining. Digicel, a player in the Caribbean telecommunications/entertainment space, has found a new way to engage customers and drive revenue. John Quinn, CTO of Digicel, shared with us its story at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016)
LRTV Custom TV
Do You Really Need Gigabit Infrastructure?

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Altibox is the biggest fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) player and the largest provider of video and TV in Norway. They started out with zero customers in 2002. Now they have close to half a million households and companies attached to their FTTH business. Nils Arne, CEO of Altibox shared with us their story and insight on 5G at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
BTís Openreach Strategy & Its Updates in 2016

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


A lot of developments at Openreach this year in terms of strategy and planned investments. Peter Bell, CIO of Openreach BT, shared with us the updates of Openreach at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
ITU: The Broadband Is Our Future

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


At Ultra-broadband Forum, Houlin Zhao, Secretary General of ITU, discussed how important it is for countries, companies and everybody to be working together to help to build the broadband and digital economies (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Tackling 5G in Dallas

11|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


Here are our highlights of the 5G North America show in Dallas, Texas with Light Reading's Dan Jones.
LRTV Interviews
Cox Prepping for Virtualization Trials

11|14|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this video interview, Cox's Jeff Finkelstein discusses MSO's plans to test managed business services in early 2017 and tackle Distributed Access Architectures.
Upcoming Live Events
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Cable Nodes Becoming a Choke Point
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 12/5/2016
WiCipedia: After-School Coding, Salary Probing & Pro-Parenthood Companies
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 12/2/2016
Consolidated Snaps Up Fairpoint for $1.5B
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/5/2016
Altice FTTH Bill Could Hit Almost $9.6B in US
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/1/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Even when there's a strong pipeline of female talent in the comms industry, it tends to leak all the way to the top. McKinsey & Company says women experience pipeline leakage at three primary points: being unable to enter, being stuck in the middle or being locked out of the top. Each pipeline pain point presents its own challenges, but also opportunities to stop the leak. Wireless operator Sprint is making a conscious effort to improve its own pipeline from new recruits to the C-suite, and it wants the rest of the industry to do the same. In this Women in Comms radio show, WiC Board Member and Sprint Vice President of Enterprise Sales Nelly Pitocco will give us her take on the industry's pipeline challenges. Pitocco, who joined Sprint in May and has spent 20 years in the comms industry, will also offer solutions, share how Sprint is tackling the challenge within its own organization and take your questions live on air.