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telcodad
Premium
join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:15

1 edit

[X1-X2] The New X2 - The "Evolution" of the X1

Looks like Comcast is working on the "X2" now:

Comcast Execs Talk Up X2, Cloud DVR
By Jeff Baumgartner, Light Reading Cable - December 11, 2012
»www.lightreading.com/document.as···lr_cable
Comcast Corp.'s plans for a new IP-capable video gateway and a cloud DVR service were among the topics MSO execs discussed Monday during an internal video broadcast to introduce employees to the company's new corporate branding.

Comcast cable-unit CEO Neil Smit noted during the talk that a new device called the X2 is in testing, "looks fantastic" and will offer more personalization, according to a Twitter user, who confirmed he was privy to the contents of the broadcast....

A Comcast spokeswoman confirmed that the X2 came up during the broadcast, but would only say that the product represents an "evolution" of the X1, a hybrid QAM/IP platform with a cloud-based user interface.


FifthE1ement
Tech Nut

join:2005-03-16
Fort Lauderdale, FL

Re: [X1] The New X2 - The "Evolution" of the X1

What are they smoking? The X1 is in less than 1% of their install base and they are working on a sequel to something that never came out? Lol, it's like Activision working on Call of Duty Black Ops 7, coming soon Summer 2016! Lol!
--
"The relationship between what we see and what we know is never settled..."


telcodad
Premium
join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:15
Given the time it took "Xcalibur" (now named "X1") to make it to market, it will probably be a while until we see the X2 released.


cast sucks

@dsl.net
reply to telcodad
said by telcodad:

Looks like Comcast is working on the "X2" now:

Comcast Execs Talk Up X2, Cloud DVR
By Jeff Baumgartner, Light Reading Cable - December 11, 2012
»www.lightreading.com/document.as···lr_cable

Comcast Corp.'s plans for a new IP-capable video gateway and a cloud DVR service were among the topics MSO execs discussed Monday during an internal video broadcast to introduce employees to the company's new corporate branding.

Comcast cable-unit CEO Neil Smit noted during the talk that a new device called the X2 is in testing, "looks fantastic" and will offer more personalization, according to a Twitter user, who confirmed he was privy to the contents of the broadcast....

A Comcast spokeswoman confirmed that the X2 came up during the broadcast, but would only say that the product represents an "evolution" of the X1, a hybrid QAM/IP platform with a cloud-based user interface.

just what we need the full guide with a VOD control lag


gar187er
I do this for a living

join:2006-06-24
Dover, DE
kudos:4

1 recommendation

reply to telcodad
its not like these rollout fast, so yes they are always working on the next product/enhancement.
--
I'm better than you!

JoeSammamish

join:2009-06-10
Sammamish, WA
I think part of the reason Comcast is rolling out this new platform is to make it easier to update the software. Right now Comcast has so many different boxes and architectures that getting software to run on all of them must be a nightmare. Once Comcast has their subscriber base on a more consistent platform, the development cycle should accelerate.

We hope...


telcodad
Premium
join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:15
An article on the LRC site yesterday with the latest update on the "X2" development:

Comcast's 'X2' to Get Personal With the TV
By Jeff Baumgartner, Light Reading Cable - February 26, 2013
»www.lightreading.com/middleware-···40149445


Spiderman865

join:2005-12-27
Joliet, IL
X2?? Hell, most subs can't get X1! LOL..
--
Yesh


egeek84
Premium
join:2011-07-28
Livermore, CA
reply to telcodad
I love my X1 but damn do I want the X2 now! Cloud Based DVR?! /DROOL


BigBearsFan

join:2009-08-01
Galesburg, IL
reply to telcodad
Will that X-2 have the capability of working with the older boxes so Comcast won't have to replace all the boxes that are now in customers homes ?There was an article somewhere about cloud based capabilites being brought to older boxes.


telcodad
Premium
join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:15
Well, it says it that article:

[Rachel] Lee [Comcast's senior director of product management] told Light Reading Cable that the enhanced, more personalized X2 guide is made to run on devices that support the first iteration Comcast's cloud-based guide. For now, that includes the Pace plc-made XG1 HD-DVR and the RNG150N client box.

Previously, Comcast has said that they plan on supporting the X1 guide on the latest Cisco (RNG150 & RNG200) and Motorola (RNG spec'ed?) boxes, so the X2 should be able to run on those too.


Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4
reply to FifthE1ement
said by FifthE1ement:

What are they smoking? The X1 is in less than 1% of their install base and they are working on a sequel to something that never came out? Lol, it's like Activision working on Call of Duty Black Ops 7, coming soon Summer 2016! Lol!

I've already read about the X3 which is supposed to be entirely IP based. I'm just wishing they'd roll out some X software onto the current set of RNG equipment.
--
I'm always up for a good chat and helping with VoIP testing so my contact info is below.
Gigaset.net: Michael Wolf
Callcentric: 17772288600
SIP URI: sip:226976325024#9@sip.gigaset.net and sip:17772288600@in.callcentric.com
Skype: MikeWolf051


Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4
reply to JoeSammamish
said by JoeSammamish:

I think part of the reason Comcast is rolling out this new platform is to make it easier to update the software. Right now Comcast has so many different boxes and architectures that getting software to run on all of them must be a nightmare. Once Comcast has their subscriber base on a more consistent platform, the development cycle should accelerate.

We hope...

Technically what I was told from somewhere on the Comcast forums is that the X software is first going to be on the Pace X1 boxes first then roll down onto only the RNG Motorola, Pace, and Cisco boxes and nothing older then that.
--
I'm always up for a good chat and helping with VoIP testing so my contact info is below.
Gigaset.net: Michael Wolf
Callcentric: 17772288600
SIP URI: sip:226976325024#9@sip.gigaset.net and sip:17772288600@in.callcentric.com
Skype: MikeWolf051

SpHeRe31459
Premium
join:2002-10-09
Sacramento, CA
kudos:2

2 edits
reply to JoeSammamish
said by JoeSammamish:

I think part of the reason Comcast is rolling out this new platform is to make it easier to update the software. Right now Comcast has so many different boxes and architectures that getting software to run on all of them must be a nightmare. Once Comcast has their subscriber base on a more consistent platform, the development cycle should accelerate.

We hope...

The one small glimmer of hope in there is that all the Motorola and Pace boxes (excluding the X1 DVR which uses an Intel CPU) are MIPS instruction set compatible CPUs, so hopefully porting to one of them should make it easier for them all. What little I can find about them says that newer Cisco boxes are also MIPS based. Older SA/Cisco used SPARC instruction set CPUs. So I assume those older ones aren't part of the Comcast "RNG" spec compliant boxes then.


Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4

1 edit
I get conflicting information. The internal OS on the Cisco RNG200N says SA8600HDC which comes up as
Processors
Application/CPU: 700 MHz (1000 MIPS)
Video/Graphics: Dual 400 MHz VLIW CPUs
Audio: 250 MHz DSP CPU
DOCSIS CPU: 333 MHz CPU
Network CPU: 400 MHz CPU
»www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collate···625A.pdf

Where as the Cisco website itself says the Cisco RNG200 says
Processors
Application/CPU: 600 MHz (800 MIPS)
Video graphic: Dual 400 MHz VLIW CPUs
Audio: Dual 250 MHz DSP CPUs
DOCSIS: 200 MHz CPU
»www.cisco.com/web/consumer/produ···ications

SpHeRe31459
Premium
join:2002-10-09
Sacramento, CA
kudos:2

3 edits
said by Mike Wolf:

Cisco RNG200N (SA8600 series) processor
Application/CPU: 700 MHz (1000 MIPS)
Video/Graphics: Dual 400 MHz VLIW CPUs
Audio: 250 MHz DSP CPU
DOCSIS CPU: 333 MHz CPU
Network CPU: 400 MHz CPU

Right but it doesn't actually say what the CPU used is. The problem is that there two different things called MIPS that relate to computer processors.

MIPS (Million instructions per second) is a measurement of processor speed.
It is also the name of a RISC CPU instruction set/architecture called MIPS (Microprocessor without Interlocked Pipeline Stages).
They are not otherwise related.

All the Broadcom SoC based designs use a MIPS architecture compatible CPU they call "Zephyr".
All the Motorola designs do as well.
From what little real meaty details I can find about newer Cisco stuff (link), it looks like they moved to Broadcom SoC designs now too.


Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4
Came across this as well. »www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collate···-AAG.pdf ASIC ?

SpHeRe31459
Premium
join:2002-10-09
Sacramento, CA
kudos:2
In the context of the usage here ASIC is effectively just a synonymous acronym for SoC (system on a chip). Technically ASIC stands for Application Specific Integrated Circuit. So it's no help. It's just another generic term for their cable box CPU.

As I said, Cisco is being very vague about what they actually use in their boxes. I can't find anything specific outside of that one press release PDF for their new residential gateway.

Any SA/Cisco region user want to open up their RNG200N and look around? LOL

SpHeRe31459
Premium
join:2002-10-09
Sacramento, CA
kudos:2

2 edits
Another hint that pretty much any box labeled RNG150 is Broadcom based in in this news article from May 2012
»www.multichannel.com/content/cab···tops-too

quote:
But at some point, Comcast plans to deploy the X1 guide and applications to set-top boxes based on Broadcom's BCM7420 system-on-a-chip. The MSO has 7 million to 8 million such boxes in the field, which conform to its RNG 150 gateway specification, Werner said, adding, "It remains to be seen how fast we move on those."
The only two vendors making RNG150's at the moment are Cisco and Pace.

EDIT:
Just found this PR from January 2013
»www.screendigest.com/news/2013_0···iew.html

quote:
A more unexpected development with implications for the overall North American cable industry is the announcement of the ability of Comcast's RNG150n's to function as an RDK-based thin client to the X1 multimedia home gateway. While the Broadcom announcement applies specifically to new shipments of RNG150n's based on the BCM7125, Comcast has promised separately to bring the X1 guide experience (delivered via the RDK) to its 8-million unit installed base of RNG150n's based on the BCM7420. The implication is that Comcast should be able to extend the service life of its existing RNG150n's by turning them into thin clients connected to an X1 or XG5.
It confirms that all RNG150's are Broadcom based.


cypherstream
Premium,MVM
join:2004-12-02
Reading, PA
kudos:3
The TiVo Premier specs for comparison are
CPU: Broadcom BCM7413 400MHZ dual core 1100 Dhrystone MIPS vs. TiVo HD's 400 DMIPS

Some people may be familiar with the performance of the HD GUI running at 1100 MIPS on the BCM7413 so that's what to expect.

SpHeRe31459
Premium
join:2002-10-09
Sacramento, CA
kudos:2
said by cypherstream:

The TiVo Premier specs for comparison are
CPU: Broadcom BCM7413 400MHZ dual core 1100 Dhrystone MIPS vs. TiVo HD's 400 DMIPS

Some people may be familiar with the performance of the HD GUI running at 1100 MIPS on the BCM7413 so that's what to expect.

Just found some info that says the Pace RNG110 uses the BCM7405 which is a slight step down from the 7413 in the TiVo.
Both are 32-bit SoC. While apparently Motorola has been using 64-bit capable CPUs for a while now (the DCX series) for whatever it's worth...


cypherstream
Premium,MVM
join:2004-12-02
Reading, PA
kudos:3

1 edit
Another performance hog in the Tivo is the use of the Adobe Flash Lite for TV and integrated SoC's. (Early 2009 press release : »www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/pressro···com.html )

Its been criticized time and time again that some of the UI slowness in the Tivo Premiere's HD graphics has to do with Adobe Flash. Also I'm not sure if it ever was optimized for multi-core or multi-threaded SoC's.

Perhaps the X1 (and upcoming X2) are not flash or adobe air based? If so then comparing it to the performance a BCM7413 provides running the Tivo HD UI is not a direct comparison.

I still think that an SoC designed around ARM cores could of provided better performance. However the ties between Broadcom and MIPS and the long term development of that platform does not make it seem like this will change anytime soon.

What's interesting to note is that these STB's have around a 400 MHz dual core MIPS based CPU. But then the average smart phone you buy today for $100 - $200 on contract has more than twice that power, plus more efficiency with ARM. A cell phone like an iPhone 5 for example is a dual core clocked at 1.3 GHz paired with a PowerVR SGX543MP3 graphics processor. Yet it is designed to run in the palm of your hand on a small battery pack. There have been millions of iPhones sold, billions of smartphones in general.... sort of like billions of set top boxes. Something just doesn't add up there. I mean I know Broadcom creates some slow, low powered chips due to cost and mass productions... but again billions of smartphones worldwide is one hell of a mass production as well.

I have an iPad 2 which is considered old now by todays standards. It runs on a CPU based on an 800MHz power optimised dual core Cortex A9. It reaches 4000 Dhrystone MIPS while sipping 500mW and occupying 4.6 mm2 die size. In comparison, a single core 1GHz Cortex A8 processor - used in the iPhone A4 - in comparison consumes 590mW, reaches 2000 Dhrystone MIPS, with an area with L1 cache of less than 4mm2.

There you have it. A device that fits in the palm of your hand, iPhone 4 which is FREE at Best Buy with 2 year contract - is TWICE as fast as some of these poorly performing set top boxes.

Interesting read on the rise of mobile processors (which I think STB's should use for efficiency, processing and power): »www.pcpro.co.uk/features/378712/···ocessors


mikedz4

join:2003-04-14
Weirton, WV
I did see somewhere on the comcast.net user forums they mentioned that comcast wants to have a "cloud dvr" available nationwide by the end of 2013.

SpHeRe31459
Premium
join:2002-10-09
Sacramento, CA
kudos:2

4 edits

1 recommendation

reply to cypherstream
said by cypherstream:

Perhaps the X1 (and upcoming X2) are not flash or adobe air based? If so then comparing it to the performance a BCM7413 provides running the Tivo HD UI is not a direct comparison.

The X1 is not Flash based. I don't think anyone is making that mistake again. What Comcast says is that it is HTML5 based, which is pretty vague, but we know it isn't Flash based

said by cypherstream:

I still think that an SoC designed around ARM cores could of provided better performance. However the ties between Broadcom and MIPS and the long term development of that platform does not make it seem like this will change anytime soon.

Yep ARM should absolutely be the next generation platform for sure. However, as I've found, nearly all the cable boxes around use a MIPS architecture. So to make a huge change like that would be to break all legacy compatibility.

Perhaps in a few product cycles after the initial X1 guide roll out, when the guide codebase isn't so closely tied to the platform its running on, we'll see set-top box vendors move on to other CPU architectures.

The other issue is that Broadcom makes a perfect SoC for digital video boxes (IPTV, Cable, Satellite, media streaming), because it has every input and output possible for a set-top box integrated into it and dedicated decoding blocks for MPEG2 and MPEG4-AVC.

Looks like Marvell might be the "go-to" vendor for an ARM SoC for a cable/satellite set-top box.
If you look at the guts of the Vizio Co-Star GoogleTV unit it uses a Marvell Armada 1500 1.2Ghz dual-core ARM CPU which is ready to be used in an number of set-top box configurations including a cable box. The Armada has a graphics unit in it that is certainly better than the Broadcom solutions, since it is made to run Andriod. And it integrates some level of Marvell's excellent QDEO video scaling/processing.

Just need the software to be liberated from being so closely tied to the metal. That was the whole goal behind Tru2Way. Which for Comcast is the X1 Guide.


cypherstream
Premium,MVM
join:2004-12-02
Reading, PA
kudos:3
The BCM7445 is quad core ARM based, exactly what were looking for. 21,000 DMIPS and can decode 4K UHDTV.

»www.broadcom.com/products/Cable/···/BCM7445

The writing is on the wall. ARM is the way to go and eventually there should be a migration to it in the embedded SoC space.

SpHeRe31459
Premium
join:2002-10-09
Sacramento, CA
kudos:2
said by cypherstream:

The BCM7445 is quad core ARM based, exactly what were looking for. 21,000 DMIPS and can decode 4K UHDTV.

»www.broadcom.com/products/Cable/···/BCM7445

The writing is on the wall. ARM is the way to go and eventually there should be a migration to it in the embedded SoC space.

Mmm that's some good stuff right there! I'd like to see that powering a 6-tuner whole home DVR.

ARM is certainly the most viable low power, yet powerful, architecture currently (and for the foreseeable future).

aguiar0016

join:2006-01-23
New Bedford, MA
reply to telcodad
Coud DVR is being tested here in Massachusetts. From what I've heard it is only a few employees and other High end executives/managers that have it.


Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4
Of course.


telcodad
Premium
join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:15
reply to telcodad
According to this article on the FierceCable site, the X2 will be unveiled at this year's Cable Show in June:

Roberts: Comcast will unveil new version of Xfinity X1 platform at The Cable Show
By Dan O'Shea, FierceCable - March 21, 2013
»www.fiercecable.com/story/robert···13-03-21

SpHeRe31459
Premium
join:2002-10-09
Sacramento, CA
kudos:2
Interested to see what the X2 specs will be. I assume it will be another 6-tuner product and multi-room capable. Given what's been popping up about the Comcast reference design, it may well be the new breed of ARM based designs from the likes of Evolution Broadband, ST Micro, Broadcom, etc.

Now we just need the Xi3 IP client boxes to actually start showing up for multi-room DVR with the X1/X2 DVRs