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Comcast's X1 Gets a Multi-Room Partner

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

Broadcom Corp. has shed more light on the RNG150N, a client box that will serve as the multi-room partner for the initial version of the X1, a hybrid QAM/IP gateway that Comcast Corp. has already launched in five markets.

Like the X1, which is made by Pace plc, the RNG150N uses the Comcast Reference Design Kit (RDK), a pre-integrated software bundle for hybrid and IP-only video devices that's intended to help the MSO accelerate the product development cycle to a year or less. The RNG150, which is already shipping, is the first hybrid client device to use the RDK. (See Comcast's Set-Top Accelerator Gaines Traction.)

Broadcom says the RNG150N is powered by its BCM7125 system-on-chip (SoC), which includes a Docsis cable modem, MPEG-4 HD decoder, 1GHz tuner and Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) 1.1 capabilities. The first version of the Pace X1 gateway, with which the RNG150N would be paired, runs silicon from Intel Corp., but future versions of that primary gateway are expected to use Broadcom chips as well.

In addition to serving as the client device in multi-room DVR setups, the RNG150N also supports Comcast's new cloud-based user interface, search functions and apps that grace the X1 DVR/server. As first revealed by Light Reading Cable in November 2010, Comcast's RNG boxes can be "flipped" to become IP-capable set-tops. (See Comcast 'RNG' Set-Tops Have IPTV Potential.)

Broadcom didn't identify the maker(s) of the RNG150N, but Pace has a version called the Denali. Info about versions made by Cisco Systems Inc. and Motorola Mobility LLC is posted here and here.

Why this matters
The RNG150N will bring key multi-room DVR capabilities to the X1, a next next-gen video platform that Comcast is currently using to obtain new triple-play customers in markets such as California, Atlanta, Boston and Chattanooga, Tenn. The client-server setup also reduces capital expenditures, because it doesn't require Comcast to deploy pricey set-tops with on-board storage with every TV in a subscriber's home.

The X1-RNG150N combo also appears to be a precursor to a more advanced system in the works at Comcast that will feature gateways that can be paired with the Xi3, a lower-cost, IP-only HD client box that doesn't require a separate (and expensive) CableCARD slot and module. Pace and Humax Co. Ltd. are among the early known developers of the Xi3. Comcast has not commented on its deployment plans for the IP-only box.

For more

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/7/2013 | 3:15:18 PM
re: Comcast's X1 Gets a Multi-Room Partner

Comcast sent along some additional details about the RNG150N

- it's available in all markets where the X1 service is now launched.
- The RNG150N is the only box that Comcast's deploying as a client to the XG1, which is the multi-tuner DVR made by Pace (X1 refers to the UI).
- The XG1 DVR and the RNG150N run the same version of the RDK (1.1)
- Pace is the maker of the RNG150N that Comcast is currently deploying.-áHowever, Comcast's other announced suppliers of the RNG150N are Samsung, Motorola and Cisco, but the MSO hasn't announced launch plans for the devices made by these other manufacturers.


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