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Final Gems from The Cable Show: DTA, j-Guide and More

Inevitably at trade shows I pile up notes and photos of things I’d like to cover, and yet I never get around to posting on everything. With that in mind, here are a few of the items that slipped through the cracks at The Cable Show.

Motorola Digital Transport Adapter
This puppy got a lot of attention at the show. And for all that, it’s just a simple converter for translating digital signals into analog. The reason the adapter got so much attention is the fact that it will be a useful tool during operators’ transition to all-digital broadcasting. Operators will have to provide a solution for analog subscribers. This pared-down adapter fits the bill.

TV Guide’s j-Guide
TV Guide apparently had this new tru2way electronic program guide (EPG) showing in several booths. The pics here show one of the main menu guides and the search interface.

USB WiMAX
Motorola had a WiMAX network up and running in the booth and used it to show off super-fast wireless connections. Among the demos was a laptop with a USB WiMAX dongle. Don’t get too excited; this is not a product on the market. It was just used to highlight laptop use on the WiMAX network.

eMTA for MDUs
One of Motorola’s announcements during the show was a new voice-and-data modem gateway (officially called an embedded Multimedia Terminal Adapter, or eMTA) designed for multi-dwelling units (MDUs). Why is this important? Two reasons. First, it gives cable operators a way to pipe services into apartment buildings and offices. Second, it comes in a nifty “ruggedized” cabinet so it can be placed outside rather than indoors. That means no one has to be home for a service rep to stop by.

15 Responses

  1. Nice! I can’t wait for that J-Guide! Will that run on existing DCT and DCH style set tops, or is it primaraly for Tru2Way TV’s, off the shelf DVR’s and new boxes like the DCX series?

    The DTA looks pretty slick too. Nice small package. Do they get away from the FCC’s separable security mandate by not doing encryption, or is there a cable card slot on there somewhere?

  2. I know the DCH boxes are OCAP (now tru2way) capable, so presumably (although don’t hold me to this) the j-Guide would work on them. I can find out for sure.

    No CableCARD in the DTA. Its feature set is extremely basic. Channel up, channel down. No EPG. No premium services at all.

  3. I must say, I am very impressed by the J-Guide photos. From the looks of it, I can see it’s 16:9 ready, and the search engine built in to the guide looks at linear channels and On Demand content at the same time.

    I would hope the guide comes out as soon as possible. The current I-guide is bland, out of date, and, in my opinion, lacks in functionality that competitor guides such as Passport Echo and the IMG 2.0 have.

    Is there any time frame for the J-guide? Or is it still in a testing phase?

    Concerning the DTA, whenever Comcast does go all digital in my area I can definitely see myself having at least 3 of those boxes in my house. What would have been great would be if Motorola came up with a similar product to BroadLogic’s TeraPIX. 1 box per house, just like the ONT for fiber optics.

  4. Thanks Mari. I love your posts here and over at zatsnotfunny.

    I’m guessing the DTA’s most likely do unencrypted QAM. MSO’s could locate QAMs in the spectrum around traps in order to prevent the ‘basic’ or ‘data only’ subscriber from steeling full expanded service with an off the shelf TV with built in QAM tuner. Also the ‘expanded basic’ or whatever 70-80 channel tier that these boxes are designed for would most likely have to remain broadcast, rather then switched. I doubt there’s enough flash memory for an SDV client, or talk back ability via ALOHA or DSG.

    The thing that concerns me about the J-Guide on current set tops, is that older style DCT’s (5100,6200,6400) don’t have 16:9 HD graphics overlay support as far as I know. Perhaps the Phase 3 DCT-6416 and later *might*, but that’s ok. When the DCX-3400 comes out, I’ll be first in line ;-)

  5. cypher, I think what MSOs might do is have the B1 tier as analog still. Then convert the B2 tier to digital, and place that in the QAMs above the analog channels (aka QAM 37-45). Keep those out of the SDV part, and SDV can be used for everything above that.

    And you won’t be first, I will ;)

  6. 99% sure you’re right about the no SDV client. This is as basic as basic can be.

    DCX is sweet, isn’t it? Hoping to have more news there soon.

  7. [...] Spangler has the scoop this morning that Comcast has announced it will order up to six million digital terminal adapters (DTAs) in 2008 from Motorola, Pace and Thomson. The DTA move suggests Comcast has gotten serious about [...]

  8. [...] Revisiting the Modular eMTA Posted on July 7, 2008 by Mari Silbey Back in May when Motorola announced the new Modular embedded Multimedia Terminal Adapter (M-eMTA), I made a mental note to go back and study the product in more detail. DOCSIS 3.0 devices [...]

  9. [...] (i.e. non-public) showings. When complete it will house a lot of the technology typically only on display at trade shows, including next generation set-tops, TV on-demand and advanced advertising applications, voice [...]

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