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 New IP is actually bigger even than business. Like another hugely important tech that Light Reading is digging into right now, the New IP has the potential to change the world by fundamentally advancing what it is possible for people to achieve with communications.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Shares Its Vision of the Future of Mobile Networks Innovations

2|26|15   |   2:30   |   (0) comments


Mobile broadband is changing our lives. It's reshaping the Internet, industry, and society. It allows us to freely connect with one another anytime, anywhere. At this year's Mobile World Congress, Huawei will share its latest insights and newest ideas and technologies that will shape the future of MBB. They will showcase their end-to-end MBB solutions that will ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerate Digitizing, Boost Digital Business

2|26|15   |   6:14   |   (0) comments


A new digital revolution is leading us to a better connected world. Together with millions of digital partners, Huawei will help CSPs to build their digital service ecosystem and aggregate a wide variety of digital services. In this video, we find out how Huawei is going to help CSPs implement digital operations.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Secret Recipe to Enabling Hyper-Growth Industries

2|26|15   |   3:38   |   (0) comments


With a number of successful cases on network capability exposure, Huawei is going to share the secret recipe to enabling hyper-growth markets with a step-by-step approach.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE 2015 Is Bigger & Even Better

2|25|15   |   03:13   |   (2) comments


This year's Big Telecom Event (BTE) in Chicago is going to provide more opportunities than ever for networking, getting to grips with key industry challenges and opportunities and, equally as important, having some fun.
LRTV Interviews
Light Reading ICT Leaders Roundtable at MWC 2015

2|12|15   |   1:07   |   (2) comments


On Sunday March 1, 2015, Light Reading will host an ICT Leaders Roundtable in partnership with Huawei. At this half-day event, CIOs, analysts and researchers will discuss key industry trends like virtualization in the cloud with a specific focus on new business models. Located at the luxurious Renaissance Hotel near the Fira Barcelona, space is limited so please ...
LRTV Documentaries
Going Green in 2015

2|12|15   |   02:04   |   (0) comments


Energy efficiency is set to be an incredibly hot topic in the telecom industry this year.
LRTV Custom TV
SDN & NFV: Where Are We Going From Here?

2|11|15   |   11:27   |   (0) comments


Vitesse Semiconductor CTO Martin Nuss gives his perspective on why SDN and NFV should be tightly interconnected and how he sees the industry moving forward.
LRTV Documentaries
Time for Gigabit Europe?

2|9|15   |   01:27   |   (4) comments


Gigabit broadband networks are springing up all around the US and they'll soon become more commonplace in Europe.
LRTV Interviews
Brocade Brings New IP Vision to 2020 Vision Executive Summit

2|3|15   |   4:23   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading gathered telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Brocade's Kelly Herrell shared his company's strategy at ...
LRTV Interviews
Brocade's Kelly Herrell on the New IP

2|2|15   |   12:36   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Brocade VP of Software Networking Kelly Herrell at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Brocade's approach to the New IP, the future of the telecom industry, and more.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Dr. Dong Sun Talks About Carriers' Digital Transformation & Huawei’s Telco OS

1|29|15   |   6:28   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dong Sun, Chief Architect of Digital Transformation Solutions at Huawei, discusses how telecom operators can become digital ecosystem enablers and deliver optimal user experiences that are in real-time, on-demand, all-online, DIY and social (ROADS).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Chief Network Architect Talks about Network Experience & Operators’ Strategies

1|29|15   |   3:39   |   (0) comments


In the digital age, network experience has become the primary productivity especially for telecom operators. In this video, Wenshuan Dang, Huawei’s Chief Network Architect, discusses how carriers can tackle the challenge of infrastructure complexity in order to enhance business agility and improve user experience.
Upcoming Live Events
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Net neutrality, broadband services and the current outlook on data consumption, as presented by the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Hot Topics
Cyber Security Expert Warns: You're Doing It Wrong
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/23/2015
10 Weirdly Useful IoT Devices
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 2/24/2015
Small Cells Enabling Location Services
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/25/2015
Is FCC Weighing Net Neutrality Changes?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 2/25/2015
MWC: Let the Madness Begin
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 2/23/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Check out Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he had to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.
G'day! And welcome to an entirely new feature on Light Reading -- our weekly "CEO-to-CEO" interview.