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Comcast's Internet + TV Set-Top Surfaces

Jeff Baumgartner

Recent documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reveal that Pace Micro Technology has indeed developed an Internet-connected gateway box called "Xfinity Spectrum" that's being used to power a technical trial that Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) kicked off recently in Augusta, Ga. (See Comcast Tests Broadband-Fed Xcalibur Service.)

Those documents, first uncovered by Wireless Goodness, seem to confirm a Light Reading Cable report that posted an image of the purported gateway device, code-named "Parker." (See Rumor: Is This Comcast's 'Parker' Box?.)

Spectrum Front Spectrum Back According to the documents, the four-tuner device, dubbed the Pace RNG210N, is capable of blending traditional cable TV with social networking apps like Facebook , as well as YouTube Inc. content, and contains a USB 2.0 port and a IEEE 1394 connection. As reported here earlier, the box also comes equipped with a CableCARD slot, tru2way middleware, and an Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) processor. (See What's Inside Comcast's Parker Box?)

"You can experience Internet video, Internet radio, email and more, all on one device, while enjoying a completely immersive social experience," notes the user guide that comes with the device.

The guide for the box also shows off renderings of a new, more capable user interface that's believed to be central to Comcast's Augusta trial. Comcast has yet to say if or when it plans to offer the box on a commercial basis. (See Comcast Tests Broadband-Fed Xcalibur Service.)

Guide Guidance Another View A source familiar with the project says Samsung Corp. 's already been selected as a second source for the Spectrum box, and that Comcast will need to significantly price-reduce the box before it's ready for a large deployment.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner
12/5/2012 | 4:15:28 PM
re: Comcast's Internet + TV Set-Top Surfaces

Just a heads up... looks like this Xfinity-branded box is just the tip of the branding iceberg.  Comcast, we're told, wants to brand all leased boxes, modems, handsets, and DTAs as such.  Keep an eye out for much more on this one. JB

12/5/2012 | 4:15:26 PM
re: Comcast's Internet + TV Set-Top Surfaces

No mention as yet of any Slingbox-style feature but the nickname "Parker" implies it, I think.

Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner
12/5/2012 | 4:15:26 PM
re: Comcast's Internet + TV Set-Top Surfaces

We are starting to hear about a new box called a mediamover that could be worked into the mix... but the question is whether any content that's placeshifted using that would stay on-net (in the context that it would only be shuttled around the customer's home network), or if it would be allowed to be sent off-net in a full-fledged Slingbox-like fashion. My guess is it would be the former. JB

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