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Cable/Video

CES 2021: DOCSIS 3.1 shipments soar, TV makers gravitate to Google TV

The all-virtual/all-digital CES confab gets underway today. Before we dive into some news nuggets from the event, here's a message of longing from the city of Las Vegas, the event's long-time host:

Here's a snapshot of CES-related news to start off the week:

  • Technicolor said it has shipped more than 20 million DOCSIS 3.1 gateways so far, including 8.1 million shipped in 2020 alone and roughly doubling its D3.1 output in 2020:

    (Source: Technicolor)
    (Source: Technicolor)

    DOCSIS 3.1, a widely deployed CableLabs-specified platform, has paved the way to deliver 1-Gig services on hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) networks. Jeff Heynen, VP of broadband access and home networking at Dell'Oro Group, estimates that 76% of all DOCSIS consumer premises equipment (CPE) shipped in Q3 2020 were DOCSIS 3.1 devices.

    CableLabs issued the multi-Gig DOCSIS 4.0 specifications last March. Some initial D4.0 product prototypes could emerge before the end of 2021.

  • CommScope has introduced a new wave of Arris SURFboard products that include a pair of whole-home mesh devices that use Wi-Fi 6 – the Arris SURFboard mAX and the Arris SURFboard mAX Express. The SURFboard mAX, available now, is a triband and Wi-Fi 6 mesh system. The mAX Express, set to launch in Q1 2021, is a single extender unit that is bundled with the SURFboard mAX.

    The SURFboard mAX Express is a tri-band Wi-Fi 6 wall-plug unit that is bundled with the SURFboard mAX.  
(Source: CommScope)
    The SURFboard mAX Express is a tri-band Wi-Fi 6 wall-plug unit that is bundled with the SURFboard mAX.
    (Source: CommScope)

  • Netgear introduced the Nighthawk RAXE500, a Wi-Fi 6E router that looks like it is aerodynamic enough to get some decent lift when thrown across the room.

    The Nighthawk RAXE500 carries an MSRP of $599.99.
(Source: Netgear)
    The Nighthawk RAXE500 carries an MSRP of $599.99.
    (Source: Netgear)

    Netgear's new wares will carry a manufacturer's suggested retail price of a lofty $599.99. However, cable operators and other service providers are also exploring use cases for Wi-Fi 6E, including for in-home video distribution and premium-level broadband offerings.

  • Top TV makers issued a wave of product announcements as CES gets going:

    • Long-time Roku partner TCL is branching out with products that run on the new Google TV platform. Sony also supports the new Google TV platform, as does Google in its latest iteration of the Chromecast streamer.
    • LG Electronics has teamed up with Google to bring its Stadia online gaming service to select smart TVs outfitted with the webOS platform in the second half of 2021. LG, which is also adding support for Google TV, said Stadia would be available only on its smart TVs running webOS 6.0 at launch, with TVs with webOS 5.0 set to get access to Stadia later in 2021.

  • On the wireless front, the CBRS Alliance has rebranded as the OnGo Alliance, adding OnGo branding that's been used to promote initiatives focused on the shared 3.5GHz spectrum band. The rebranding of the organization aims to promote and share best practices for a wider range of cellular technologies and services in shared spectrum (not just 3.5GHz), the group said, noting that the FCC and other government agencies are actively considering other bands for sharing and that it has been fielding interest from international organizations about the Alliance's doings.

  • Firstlight Media, a startup formed last year following the acquisition of AT&T's QuickPlay assets, has teamed with Ssimwave on a platform that uses AI-powered elements to help measure, manage and optimize video quality at multiple points in the delivery chain. They'll pitch it to OTT And pay-TV service providers for on-demand video and live TV.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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