Entropic Surges Off Comcast DVR Scuttlebutt
Shares in Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) chipmaker
Entropic Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: ENTR) rocketed more than 14 percent Friday as evidence mounted that Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), the nation's largest MSO, is close to launching a whole-home DVR service that uses the speedy home networking platform.
Comcast recently began touting a whole-home service called AnyRoom DVR on the Web but has yet to say where and when it will introduce it. A source familiar with those plans says the MSO already has some significant marketing trials underway, with local market launch announcements "imminent."
A Comcast official confirmed that the MSO does have the service up in a few still-undisclosed areas as it prepares to introduce it on a market-by-market basis but would not reveal any costs associated with the product. Comcast has already booted up a multi-room video-on-demand (VoD) product that also carries the AnyRoom brand. (See Multi-Room VOD.)
However, message board postings at DSL Reports note that the service could be out by mid-July or earlier and run in the neighborhood of $19.95 per month.
When Comcast does launch it, the operator will finally have a whole-home DVR product in hand to match up with those already introduced by several competitors, including Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), and, most recently, DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV).
Entropic goes sky high
Entropic shares began to creep higher after the The Wall Street Journal reported that Comcast was closing in on the AnyRoom DVR launch and and that the chipmaker is well positioned to benefit because the MSO is a known adopter of MoCA, a platform that just ratified a 2.0 version that promises speeds as high as 1 Gbit/s. (See MoCA Is Go for 2.0.)
Entropic shares were up 14.08 percent (80 cents) to $6.48 each in late-day trading Friday.
Comcast, however, has not announced whether it will use MoCA silicon from Entropic or Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), or a mix of both. Pacific Crest Securities Inc. analyst Ruben Roy told the paper that if only 1 percent of its subs signed up for the AnyRoom DVR service, Entropic could see quarterly revenue jump about $6 million. The vendor notched $37.5 million in the first quarter. (See Entropic Reports Q1.)
Last week, Entropic told Light Reading Cable that it has already shipped more than 30 million MoCA 1.1/1.0 chips, and that the company expects the overall market for MoCA silicon to grow by four to five times its current size by the end of 2011.
Entropic owns most of the MoCA chip market, but Broadcom will be providing some fierce competition soon. It hasn't released any MoCA shipment figures, but a Broadcom spokeswoman said the chipmaker expects to start shipping MoCA chips in "in high volume production" or for set-tops that integrate MoCA by the second half of 2010.
After a slow start, the cable industry is starting to show signs of mass whole-home DVR deployments, a move that will help out Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), and Pace Micro Technology -- the domestic cable sector's key suppliers.
Cox Communications Inc. , Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI), Mediacom Communications Corp. , and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) are among some of the larger North American MSOs that are already deploying or getting ready to deploy whole-home DVR setups that use MoCA. Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY), which has a significant cable presence in Europe, has also announced it will use MoCA in next-gen set-top gateways. (See Liberty Global Reveals IP Gateway Partners, Cox, Entropic MoCA Deal Not Exclusive , and Cox Launches Cisco's Whole-Home DVR .)
In a note issued today, Merriman Curhan Ford analyst Scott Searle said Cox should have two whole-home DVR launches underway this quarter, with the service offered across the board by the end of 2010. He expects TWC to initiate a "soft launch" in June and follow with broader launches by the end of July. Mediacom, meanwhile, has been getting its version up and going in some systems in Iowa and Illinois. (See Mediacom Rolls Whole-Home DVR.)
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable