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Multi-Channel News: Out-of-the-Box with Comcast Anyplay, powered by Televation

If you’re a regular reader or a Comcast Xfinity customer in Denver or Nashville, you’ve probably heard about Comcast’s new AnyPlay service, which launched in January and uses Motorola’s Televation box to stream live cable TV to your tablet. 

Leslie Ellis at Multi-Channel News recently got her hands on it and took down her first impressions. Here are some excerpts:

-“That’s where AnyPlay is different, and I’ll say it, better..”

 – “…it’s an extension of the TV programming you already pay for…”

- “It’s a standalone box. No video outputs. Coax in, Ethernet out to the modem/wireless router, and voila: Television on the iPad. (Droids and other devices to come.)”

- “How does AnyPlay compare to the other lab streamers? Put it this way. The lab stuff is in a back room. All those screens, all those services, no TV at the desk! Until now. (I expect my quality of work to degrade precipitously.)”

Read the full story here: http://www.multichannel.com/blog/Translation_Please/33073-Inside_a_Comcast_AnyPlay_Installation.php

And find out more about Comcast AnyPlay at www.xfinity.com/anyplay.

Top 5 Tech Articles You Might Have Missed – Week of Jan. 30

What good are your favorite TV shows, songs and photos if you can’t share them? Motorola Mobility’s Larry Robinson discusses how the company has opened the floodgates for content delivery and sharing.  He highlights the company’s efforts to transform DVR recording units into home video gateways, designed to stream content to other IP-connected devices in the home.

The way we consume content has certainly changed as we grow more and more attached to our second screens. In fact, survey results show that the average Super Bowl viewer will check their mobile device up to 10 times during the game and almost a third of viewers will have their devices in hand while they watch the big game! Specifically, advertisers are leveraging social media as an opportunity to advocate their brands and keep viewers engaged. The value of these channels can be seen in Facebook’s public filing this week as the company seeks to raise a whopping $5 billion. Do you plan on using Facebook or Twitter during the big game?

1. Motorola’s New Strategy Brings Content to your Tablet (Jan. 28) By Jillian, PadGadget: Motorola has the details on how they would change the face of DVRs by replacing those recording units with home video gateways designed to move content between all of your devices and technology (including gaming consoles, computers, tablets, smartphones or other set-top boxes).

2. Super Bowl Viewers Will Check Phones 10 Times During the Game (Feb. 1) By Sam Laird, Mashable: Nearly half of Super Bowl XLVI viewers will check their mobile device as many as 10 times during the game, and almost a third of viewers under age 45 will watch the game “with device in hand.”

3. Super Bowl advertisers seek buzz on social media (Jan. 29) By Yinka Adegoke, Reuters: In the age of Twitter and Facebook, many Super Bowl viewers will use the commercial breaks to go online and see what people are saying about the game. This year, advertisers want them to tweet about their favorite commercials as well.

4. Facebook Seeks to Raise Up to $5 Billion in Biggest Internet IPO on Record (Feb. 2) By Brian Womack, Bloomberg: Facebook Inc., the social-networking website that in eight years changed the way the world communicates, filed to raise $5 billion in the largest Internet initial public offering on record.

5. TV’s Next Target: 4K Displays (Jan. 30) By Todd Spangler, Multichannel News: The next big leap in high definition TV is so eerily realistic, watching it is almost like looking out a picture window.

In The Middle of Super Bowl Action – Right From Your Couch

What will you be doing when the Giants take the field versus the Patriots for Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday? Gathered around a TV with friends and family, or catching the game while on the move? This year viewers will be able to watch the game in thrilling new ways, while enjoying rich, deep content — stats, clips, interviews and more – on every screen in the house.

How the times have changed. In 1967, fans watched the Packers demolish the Chiefs in the first-ever Super Bowl. It was probably like watching NASA video from the moon: grainy, scratchy, black-and-white. Now, fans can be immersed in a maxed out experience with video streams of action, background information, stats for fantasy league challenges and behind-the-scenes access. All this can be delivered to tablets, smartphones and screens in HD, 3D and DD 5.1. This Super Bowl is the first of many events in a new era of integrated experiences for fans at home.

So, how will you watch? Will you take the game with you as you walk around your house and hang out with friends in the kitchen? This is possible with Motorola Televation, which lets you stream your full channel line-up to your tablet, live, over your home network so that you can watch it anywhere in your house. Or will you stay on the couch and use your tablet to stream highlights or re-watch favorite commercials? Perhaps you’ll even use your smartphone to post a status update with your thoughts on the game. 

Whatever your plans include, learn more about the evolving fan experience and how rich content is being delivered today in the video below. Let us know what you’d like to see in your future entertainment experiences!   

IPv6 Webinar for Cable Operators

 
Join Motorola Mobility on February 8th @ 1pm EDT  for a Webinar on “Making the IPv6 Transition for Cable” hosted by Light Reading. Geared to cable operators, this Webinar will cover transition challenges, trade-offs, and strategies for upgrading from Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) to IPv6. Mike Patrick, Motorola Data Networking Architect, will discuss the routing issues associated with ISIS vs. OSPFv3 and what it means to secure the host access verification with prefix delegation.  Click here to REGISTER.

Three Reasons 2012 Should Be a Good Year for Cable VOD

Author: Bob Scheffler, Director, Next-Generation Video Solutions

With all of the TV Everywhere buzz, it’s easy to let growing levels of cable VOD services slip under the radar. That’s a mistake. Here are three reasons why video-on-demand should have a banner year in 2012.

Narrowcast QAMs are getting cheaper and easier to deploy.

New high-density edge QAMs mean cable operators can implement additional narrowcast video QAMs more cost effectively and in greater quantities than ever before. At the same time, the cost of video QAMs used for VOD and other edge QAM-based services is falling rapidly.  Video QAMs have dropped below the $100-per-downstream level, making it less CAPEX-intensive (from a QAM perspective) to add more VOD channels, and, for the time being, more cost effective than adding Internet capacity to support TV Everywhere services.

Canoe has big plans for VOD ad insertion this year.

According to Vice President Bruce Dilger, two to three cable operators are planning to deploy Canoe’s new platform for dynamic VOD ad insertion this year. Instead of waiting days or weeks to swap out a VOD ad, these operators will be able to switch up content within a 24-hour window, and they’ll be able to target specific audiences based on viewer demographics rather than just geography. The new ad platform means new revenue, and new revenue means more cable VOD growth.

VOD comes in HD.

While TV Everywhere services are multiplying, there is still no guaranteed Quality of Service (QoS) for HD content delivery. Online video is still a best-effort proposition and in some cases it faces downstream constraints found in lower throughput legacy broadband networks.  On the other hand, because VOD is delivered over a managed network, cable operators can ensure the quality of HD content comes through to the intended audience. For the many viewers who want to take advantage of their HD flat-screen TVs, cable VOD will continue to have a leg up over online or over-the-top video for some time to come.

Resources:

Delivering the Most Advanced Digital Cable TV Network in Malaysia

Motorola Mobility will provide Malaysia’s Asian Broadcasting Network (ABN) the equipment and services to launch the country’s most advanced digital cable TV network in the second quarter of 2012.

Within the next five years, the new network will give six-million households access to more than 200 channels of news, education, entertainment, movies, sports and local programming. Motorola Mobility’s technology will enable ABN to also support future services such as video-on-demand, social TV and interactive gaming, alongside high-speed Internet and voice services, establishing ABN as a true triple-play provider. For more information, read the full press release.

From CPU to Silicon – Video Transcoding Reaches a Tipping Point

Author: David Hopkins, Director of Product Marketing – Video Processing

In some ways, video transcoding for mobile delivery has grown a lot simpler of late. Thanks to lightweight video wrappers, we don’t need to create as many primary mobile streams as we once did. We can consolidate the heavy lifting part of the transcoding process, and leave the video wrapping to simple servers distributed around the edge of the delivery network. However, this shift in technology means we also need to re-evaluate our video transcoding tools. Instead of a CPU-based system, silicon increasingly makes more sense for the initial video transcoding process. Silicon is less flexible, but more robust than CPU-based transcoding. It’s also more cost-efficient.

To take a step back, video transcoding for mobile delivery has been tricky from the outset. Varying bandwidth limitations, screen resolutions, streaming protocols, and DRM requirements have made it difficult to reach a broad mobile audience with a quality video experience. A content provider might need one or two high-resolution streams, and 20 additional low-res versions just to deliver a single piece of source content to Smartphone and tablet audiences.

However, we are now at a tipping point. Because of new video wrappers, also called containers, we have begun to separate primary transcoding from the lighter-weight process of creating envelopes that make streams readable on different mobile devices. In other words, our one-step transcoding system is evolving into a two-step process. Instead of needing to transcode source video into dozens of different streams, we can now transcode it into only a handful of primary streams, which are then handled by wrappers at the network edge.

Here’s why the change is important. First, silicon can handle higher bit rates than a CPU-based system. As screen resolutions on mobile devices continue to improve, the ability to deliver HD streams grows more important. A CPU-based transcoder won’t be able to keep up. Second, silicon is becoming more cost efficient. As fewer primary streams are needed, silicon-based video transcoding can deliver a lower cost per stream than its CPU counterparts.

As operators look to compete with ­mobile video, they’re also looking for ways to make mobile delivery less expensive. Silicon promises to make video transcoding more efficient, and, in the process, it has the potential to make the mobile business model as a whole a lot easier to sustain.

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