The first generation, which features cover art and other fancier elements not found on cable's older grid-based interactive program guides, is already up in parts of Syracuse, Los Angeles and Dallas, TWC Chairman and CEO Glenn Britt said on Thursday's third-quarter earnings call. "We expect to roll it out broadly in the next several quarters." (See TW Cable Sheds Video and Voice Subs .)
He didn't identify which boxes are sporting the new navigation system. Samsung Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) are TW Cable's primary box suppliers, though the MSO does operate a few markets that run the Motorola Mobility LLC platform.
Cable operators are turning to cloud-based program guides to make flagging video products more graphically rich and intuitive systems. Cloud-based guides also let MSOs make changes on the fly, avoiding the lengthy regression testing required on set-top-based IPGs. The emergence of boxes equipped with the IP-based Docsis Set-Top Gateway (DSG) is starting to make this possible. TWC and other MSOs are already using this kind of architecture to feed new navigation systems that grace their iPad apps.
Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is testing a similar approach with Xcalibur, which will be deployed widely in 2012. Rovi Corp. has also developed a cloud-based IPG called TotalGuide that also feeds data to the box via DSG connections, with BendBroadband expected to be among the first cable operators to deploy it. (See Comcast to Swing Xcalibur Wide in 2012 and Rovi Brings TotalGuide to Cable.)
Other nuggets from today's earnings call.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable