Comcast implementing a new video compression scheme next year.

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by morac, Oct 5, 2007.

  1. Oct 5, 2007 #1 of 61
    morac

    morac Cat God TCF Club

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    There is an interesting article over at Light Reading, where a senior VP at Comcast states that they plan to reclaim 240 Mhz of bandwidth by using SDV and a new compression scheme.

    The new compression scheme will be rolled out everywhere next year and is supposed to "improve bandwidth efficient by 50%". It also goes on to mention that Comcast plans to implement MPG4 compression. Is the S3/HD compatible with either this new compression scheme or MPG4?

    It also mentions the planned rollout of SDV. It lists Cherry Hill, NJ as a test market (which is a Scientific Atlanta area). My area is a Motorola area so they aren't the same market, but I spoke to a local tech and they expect SDV to be in my area by the end of the year. TiVo mentions that the dongle should be available before SDV is widely deployed, but that date is fast approaching.
     
  2. Oct 5, 2007 #2 of 61
    bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    The Series3 and TivoHD both include decoders with MPEG-4 support. However, that is something Tivo would have to enable, because it not supported by the Broadcom driver [software] they are using as of 8.x.
     
  3. Oct 5, 2007 #3 of 61
    morac

    morac Cat God TCF Club

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    How about the new compression scheme that Comcast is implementing which they say is compatible with existing set top boxes (meaning it's not MPG4)?
     
  4. Oct 5, 2007 #4 of 61
    bicker

    bicker bUU

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    Is that what that means, though?
     
  5. Oct 5, 2007 #5 of 61
    dt_dc

    dt_dc Mostly Harmless

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    Ahhh yes ... the magical codec that provides better compression but is fully backwards compatible with existing MPEG-2 equipment. Let me know who's got the patent / making / selling this because ... lots of (very) smart people tried ... couldn't do it ... and moved on. The $$$ potential is absolutely staggering.

    Note: "improved compression" "compatible with existing MPEG-2 set-tops" does not neccesarily (and almost certainly does not) mean simply a new / better codec (ie, AVCs ... MPEG-4, VC-1, H.264, etc.)

    Tony Werner (VP/CTO Comcast) has been talking "better compression" since he got to Comcast earlier this year (from Liberty BTW). For example:
    http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=118591&p=irol-InvestorDay
    http://media.corporate-ir.net/media_files/irol/11/118591/AnalystDay2007/schanz2.pdf
    http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=123046&site=cdn
    http://imagine-com.com/pdfs/Edgy_Issues.pdf
    http://imagine-com.com/pdfs/Cable360_062507.pdf
    etc.

    VBR (variable bit rate) encoding, dual pass / closed loop encoding ... basically, better smarter encoding and stat-muxing (to MPEG-2) at the head-end. Heck, Werner has even (specifically) called out ICE (Interchangeable Compressed Elements) PAC (Personalized Adaptive Coding) which are Imagine Communications' buzzwords for their better / smarter stat-muxing / u-EQaM / "better compression" techniques:
    http://imagine-com.com

    Werner even highlighted the "50% capacity increase" and "240MHz of spare capicity" (same as the most recent article) using these techniques to investors (back in May) without any use of AVCs / MPEG-4:
    http://media.corporate-ir.net/media_files/irol/11/118591/AnalystDay2007/schanz2.pdf

    Since that time ... however ... BigBand and Imagine have gotten into a nasty patent / "brain drain" / everything and the kitchen sink lawsuit / contersuit / etc. so ... understandable that Werner is going to be a little cagey and not want to get into specifics (unless he's looking to get deposed):
    http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=125698&site=cdn
    http://www.bigbandnet.com/index.php/news_releases/release_id/59.html
    http://www.eetimes.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=201201525

    "Better compression" via better stat-muxing, VBR encoding, u-EQaMs / BMRs / etc. (and not neccesarily new codecs) is a hot topic for cable right now.
     
  6. Oct 5, 2007 #6 of 61
    jlib

    jlib Lean Forward

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    Does this mean we can expect Comcast's version of HD-lite? :rolleyes:
     
  7. Oct 5, 2007 #7 of 61
    bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    Exactly.
     
  8. Oct 5, 2007 #8 of 61
    jlib

    jlib Lean Forward

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    There are alot of mights and coulds in there. SDV should not be allowed to deploy until such a device is designed and built.
     
  9. Oct 5, 2007 #9 of 61
    moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

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    That still wouldn't help all UDCPs without USB 2.0 ports and/or the ability to easily receive firmware updates (i.e. Most CableCard TVs).
     
  10. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

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    Those will allow lower bit rates. Does this include CDMA type schemes where variable bit rates and dynamic allocations allow for more efficient bandwidth use as well?
     
  11. MickeS

    MickeS Active Member

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    Sorry to do a thread-crap...

    I have no idea what all this technical talk means, but it seems clear that we as cable customers can expect more crappier channels with crappier picture quality.

    I'm so so glad we got Hi-Def... :rolleyes:
     
  12. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

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    Maybe not; there is a huge amount of bandwidth available from freed analog channels that could be used to provide tremendous (infinite) numbers of HD and SD digital channels. The technology won't be hear all at once, but 3-5 years from now it will all be available for the cable plant to install.

    Some of the major cable players have expressed interest in going whole hog eventually and intentions to be aggressive in the next 18 months or so.

    You might recall the articles I wrote like:

    http://hdtivo.wordpress.com/2007/05/16/should-cablecard-be-abandoned/

    http://hdtivo.wordpress.com/2007/05/10/docsis-30-cometh/
     
  13. jlib

    jlib Lean Forward

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    Carmel...
    That is true. But the user experience with most cable card TVs is not significantly different than with a set top box. But the TiVo experience is significantly different than with cable company provided DVRs. There are an insignificant number of CableCard TVs out there that actually use CableCards anyway, so I don't care about them. I only care about me and my TiVo. Everyone remembers when the S3 first came out. You would call Comcast to setup up an install and the first response was usually "What is a Cable Card?" because they rarely ever installed them and few had any experience or training with them.
     
  14. qz3fwd

    qz3fwd Member

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    Maybe he was referring to the reclamation of the analog lineup which they eventually will be able to devote to digital channels? Does the 2009 analog shutoff have anything to do with this new compression scheme? (Analog interlacing compression -> Digital MPEG2 compression)???
     
  15. morac

    morac Cat God TCF Club

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    There were a few methods of reclaiming bandwidth. The analog reclamation is one method, the compression is another method and SDV is a third. They are doing all 3 do reclaim as much bandwidth as possible to support increased modem speeds.
     
  16. jlib

    jlib Lean Forward

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    Carmel...
    Just turning off analog will give a 200% increase in digital bandwidth. That should be the first stage.
     
  17. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

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    Absolutely. Indeed it probably frees so much bandwidth you could turn the cable network into a virtual switched network, at which point there is theoretically an infinite increase in channel capacity.
     
  18. murryamorris

    murryamorris Member

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    And they still don't have training.
     
  19. morac

    morac Cat God TCF Club

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  20. Cyrl

    Cyrl New Member

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    Hmm analog stations are like 6mhz per channel, I have 70 analogs on my lineup. So I can expect 420 mhz being freed up? If I recall they can fit 5 or 6 digital channels per analog or 2 HD's. So assuming we need to get those 70 channels back as digital, and going conservative 5 digitals per 6 mhz we need to reclaim 14 channels worth of that 420 so 84 mhz to get those 70 back in digital form...

    That frees up like 336 mhz worth of room for new channels and other things. or 56 analog channels worth of space, again the 5 or 6 digitals or 2 hd's per analog giving us 280-336 new digital channels or 112 new HD's, or some combination etc. I'd personally prefer it if they avoid adding standard def digitals and try their best to add only HD's to that reclaimed bandwidth.

    Feb '09, you can't come soon enough =P
     

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