Comcast has been named in the recent Xbox TV lineup and some other interesting Internet TV deals. But now, they seem to just be going it alone on their own IPTV service, according to what they stated to the FCC, along with a device that will wireless stream the content in subscriber homes to be ready sometime soon.
Comcast IPTV Service
This was all in a filing to the FCC in order to help fend off AllVid, the spiritual successor to the CableCard. Basically, they don't want the government to regulate or mandate anything. Instead, they tried to show that they're already working on several things with hardware manufacturers to tie their system and Internet video together.
They're teaming with TiVO to get Xfinity ON Demand to TiVO CableCard-based devices. Another initiative is set to be in trials for content delivery via IP to PCs and Macs. Doing away with all the extra set top boxes they're also working with Samsung, and the Motorola Mobility AnyPlay to connect iPads and Xooms. Also named in what I've been reading were LG and Roku.
It seems like it's always the same companies in these lists when I am talking about Internet TV in the home. It's always the Samsungs, the LGs and the Motorolas. It's always about connecting the iPad and the Android tablets like the Xoom.
And it's usually Comcast in the lead. Sure, Time Warner Cable did offer up an iPad app, which then got slapped down and had a lot of content pulled from it. But still it remains, and they still seem a fair distance behind Comcast on their willingness to work with other hardware vendors for the most part.
It sucks that it takes the threat of further governmental interference for all of this to come to light or perhaps it's just a knee jerk reaction to the FCC beginning to ponder something new.
You see, AllVid, like CableCard before it which was created in the 1996 Telecom Act, is meant to be a universal adapter for premium video content, whether it be on Internet or from an MSO like Comcast, Cox, Time Warner.
What I think really frightens the MSOs is that it could open the way for their subscribers to obtain content from other providers while still using their network. That is something I would be 100% down with.
I pay about $100 a month for cable and Internet. That's mostly cable. I would much rather have less cable and more Internet and then get my video entertainment from there instead.
More Details On The Upcoming Comcast IPTV Service
It does have some support, namely Google, TiVo, Best Buy and Sony. Of course, you can see yet another reason right there why the MSOs would be against it. From the sounds of it, the device will be able to hook into any system, so no more monthly rental fee on a set top box. Plus, it would be a more open system that would offer a universal interface.
Here are some other specifications:
- Gateway device capable of decoding six video streams and feeding through a home network to various devices.
- Adapter device capable of decoding two video streams and feeding directly to a television or consumer electronics device.
- Physical connection using 100BaseTX Ethernet.
- Internet Protocol as a communications protocol between the AllVid gateway and end devices.
- Encryption and authentication using the DTCP-IP standard used by the Digital Living Network Alliance.
- Content ordering and billing for VOD and PPV services may be handled via gateway generated screens but additional options are requested.
- Service discovery may use Universal Plug and Play, as suggested by TiVo, but other proposals are invited.
- Content encoding is proposed to support multiple codecs to allow devices flexibility in choice of video formats without requiring transcoding by the gateway.
That last one is quite intriguing to me because it could mean Flash and HTML5 capable streams through the devices and a host of other things. It could also be why the MPAA is against it. With multiple codec support I imagine they think everyone will be watching unlimited pirated video streams.
Personally, it almost sounds like a lot of the OTT boxes we've got now and that's why you see very few MSOs wanting this to go through.
It could facilitate cord cutting because more content could suddenly be more readily available to the less tech savvy consumers. If you could go buy a box at Best Buy and it would connect to every service available in the States and that is what seems to scare them.
Once the MSOs start loosing their monopoly-like grip on regions they're going to have to work much harder to keep subscribers because right now, they don't work hard at all really as there is so little competition in some markets. When the Internet becomes the market and broadband is widespread, then the MSOs haven't got all the power anymore.
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