Video services

Operators Flock to Comcast's IP Set-Top Kit

Welcome to the broadband and cable news roundup, T.G.I.F. edition.

  • "Dozens" of cable operators are considering deploying Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s reference design kit (RDK), a pre-integrated bundle of software for hybrid IP/QAM and IP-only video gateways and set-tops that will be integrated into chips by the likes of Entropic Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: ENTR), Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) and Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC). That's the view (shared in a research note) of Raymond James Financial Inc. (NYSE: RJF) analyst Simon Leopold, who met recently with Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), one of several box makers that have licensed the RDK. Charter Communications Inc. and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) are among the major U.S. cable operators to have licensed the RDK and have discussed product plans around the reference design. Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY) has licensed it for evaluation purposes, but its new Horizon platform is based on the NDS (now Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)) software platform. (See Comcast's Set-Top Accelerator Gains Traction and Comcast's IP Set-Top Club Expands.)

  • Liberty Global's next-gen video offering, dubbed Horizon, is off to a flying start, with demand 500 percent higher than the company originally forecast, company Managing Director of Strategic Marketing Peter Dorr said at this week's CTAM EuroSummit in Vienna, according to Broadband TV News. He said demand hasn't caused a shortfall on available set-tops, but is putting some stress on the MSO's ability to install orders. UPC Nederland, one of the first Liberty Global properties to get Horizon, said more than 45,000 people have downloaded the Horizon app, which lets customers stream TV to tablets over the home network. (See Liberty Global Embarks on New TV Horizon.)

  • Roku Inc. CEO Anthony Wood is the latest over-the-top video exec to predict the coming of a "virtual" MSO that would offer slimmed down subscription video services via broadband. "In the next 12 months in the U.S. you'll start to see a virtual MSO," that will distribute services via Roku and other broadband connected devices, Wood said at this week's Next TV Summit in San Francisco, reports Multichannel News. Boxee CEO Avner Ronin made a similar prediction in January, agreeing with Wood's notion that the companies likely to first embrace the virtual cable operator model will be traditional pay-TV provider that already has programmer relationships. (See A Virtual MSO Shall Rise, Boxee CEO Says.)

  • Comcast's thePlatform Inc. says its video publishing system is powering Shaw Communications Inc. 's TV Everywhere service, ShawGo, which has just launched. (See Shaw Lights Up TV Everywhere.)

  • Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) has made some enhancements to its FiOS TV video-on-demand platform that lets customers pre-purchase titles from a "Coming Soon" selection, and an option to preview the first 10 minutes of some movies for free.

  • The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) has created a working group that will develop recommended practices for the recycling of cable electronic equipment. The first meeting of the group, chaired by Colt Recycling VP of Sales and Marketing Peter Muscanelli, will take place at next month's SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in Orlando.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

  • AESerm 12/5/2012 | 5:20:36 PM
    re: Operators Flock to Comcast's IP Set-Top Kit

    This is either clever PR management or just an unusually long news cycle; if the latter, then I wonder if it's just meandering or heading toward a definitive moment when the RDK box has arrived. 

    AESerm 12/5/2012 | 5:20:35 PM
    re: Operators Flock to Comcast's IP Set-Top Kit

    I was thinking arrived more cross-industry, something beyond the mothership.

    Digit 12/5/2012 | 5:20:35 PM
    re: Operators Flock to Comcast's IP Set-Top Kit The X1 is one of these boxes in deployments, and there are several more STB Manufacturers with boxes ready for market, so how are we defining arrived?
    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:20:34 PM
    re: Operators Flock to Comcast's IP Set-Top Kit

    I get the sense that manufacturers are allowed to say they have a license when the question is asked...i.e. Arris and Evolution, among recent examples.  In the meantime, word is just getting out slowly in a PR here and there. So I have to believe that there's plenty more licensees out there on all fronts -- chips, box-makers and service operators (it's already been forwarded on these boards that Cisco and Technicolor are also in that mix, which is no big surprise). So as more come forward, it will be more of a non-event before more actual products come out and are followed by deployments.   And I'm  certain that Comcast's attitude on that is: The more the merrier! 

    As for defining "arrived," I think  it has in the sense that it's covered in the X1, but it's just a first important step here, i think.  

    In the meantime, I think there's something to be said for reporting that pushes the RDK story forward that isn't based on PRs, since this could turn out to be an important initiaitve for more than just Comcast.  JB 

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