AT&T Cuts the Cord
This time around, a new Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) box for AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) U-verse made its way through the hallowed halls of the Commission this week. It looks a lot like other Cisco-made IPTV U-verse boxes, but this puppy comes equipped with a 802.11n connection that would do well to shuttle video, perhaps even HD-quality video, around the house to iPads and other Wi-Fi-capable screens and serve as a wireless complement to AT&T's existing whole-home DVR system.
IMS Research noted that the device's 802.11n radio uses the Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) BRCM4717 chip, giving it a relatively inexpensive and less complicated design than AT&T's cable competitors will likely need to implement. [Ed. note: Is Ruckus Wireless Inc. still a factor at U-verse? (See AT&T's U-verse Gets Ready for Ruckus .)]
AT&T has yet to respond to questions, including when it plans to introduce the new box (called the ISB7005), but here's what it looks like:
In addition to 802.11n, the box also supports the usual stuff, such as ports for Ethernet, HDMI, S-Video and USB. Here's a copy of the user manual.
And consider this just the tip of the iceberg of what's to come as wireless becomes a more reliable way to send video around the house and work alongside Home Phoneline Networking Alliance (HomePNA) , Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) and other wired home networking technologies.
Among recent examples, Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY)'s "Horizon" gateway will use a Celeno Communications Wi-Fi chipset, and the Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS)-made gateway BendBroadband is set to launch this Spring also uses 802.11n. So consider this a new must-have, rather than a differentiating set-top feature from here on out. (See BendBroadband Rolls Arris's Video Gateway, Celeno Joins Liberty's Video Gateway Lineup and Arris IDs Its First Video Gateway Customer .)
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable