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

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

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


Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4
If it's a six tune device, and assuming it's required to use a CableCARD due to the FCC Separable Security thing, it can open up the door for TiVo to introduce a six tuner model and have the CableCARDs that are already deployed for years, put in it, and use all six of the video and audio streams it is capable of supporting which will benefit everyone. The Cisco PKM 908 is capable of supporting 8 video and audio streams which is even better...
--
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


telcodad
Premium
join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:15
reply to SpHeRe31459
said by SpHeRe31459:

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.

While it's somewhat confusing, from reading over those X2 articles again, it seems that the X2 just an enhanced version of the X1 interface/guide software, not new hardware.

From the LRC article "Comcast's 'X2' to Get Personal With the TV" »www.lightreading.com/middleware-···40149445
Comcast Corp. is adding enhancements to its cloud-based guide that will deliver personalized recommendations based on viewing habits and other data.

The product under development, internally referred to as "X2," will offer a "stronger editorial voice throughout the guide," said Rachel Lee, Comcast's senior director of product management, here Monday on a panel dedicated to cable's evolving video gateway strategy. The X2 will also use recommendations to assemble "collections" of video content based on customer interests.

Lee didn't say when Comcast intends to launch these enhancements, but the operator has dedicated a sizeable engineering team to the latest version of the cloud-based guide.

SpHeRe31459
Premium
join:2002-10-09
Sacramento, CA
kudos:2
Right, but at the same time the previous article also said new hardware would be on display from Pace running the X2 software.
»www.lightreading.com/network-dvr···40144700

quote:
A person familiar with X2 developments said it is indeed a revised version of the X1 HD-DVR made by Pace plc that currently uses Intel Corp. and Entropic Communications Inc. chips. The X2 will likely use Broadcom Corp. chips, though it's not clear if Intel and Entropic could also get a piece of that business, or if vendors beyond Pace could supply the box, the source said.

The X1 doesn't offer video transcoding and integrated Wi-Fi to help the gateway distribute to tablets, but those features could make it into the X2.

So once again Comcast is using the same code name for both software and hardware (at least for moment).


telcodad
Premium
join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:15
Yeah, that's true. Maybe the new hardware is the network DVR then?

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

4 edits
Yeah not sure, they don't make it very clear.

But from the language of "revised X1 DVR" and saying it's Broadcom based to me just says Pace went back to the more familiar, and probably more profitable, Broadcom SoC solutions and basically did a hardware revision on the XG1 (changing from Intel's SoC to Broadcom's).

But it's also just as likely the article is really referring to the XG5 which we know is all Broadcom based since it was announced as such back at CES. But that's not a typical DVR, since it's headless and it offers video transcoding standard (it's part of the Comcast RDK requirements to be an XG5 level device), whereas the article says transcoding may or may not be in the hardware they're talking about... *Sigh* so ambiguous!

Guess we'll have to see in June :-/


Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4
reply to telcodad
Another concern is what exactly is going to be put on the RNG200N Cisco/Pace/Motorola DVR's since Comcast has said they were going to put the X series software on them, Is it going to be the current X1 software that everyone is having problems with or a revised X1 software or is it going to be the X2 software?

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

3 edits
said by Mike Wolf:

Another concern is what exactly is going to be put on the RNG200N Cisco/Pace/Motorola DVR's since Comcast has said they were going to put the X series software on them, Is it going to be the current X1 software that everyone is having problems with or a revised X1 software or is it going to be the X2 software?

Mike re-read the stuff telcodad has been posting.
1. "X2" is not the official name, it's an internal codename. It's basically just a name for a new build of the X1 Guide that has more emphasis on recommendations. It's all considered "X1". So this version being shown in June will eventually be pushed out to all X1 capable hardware already deployed.

2. A small group of Pace RNG150N's that are being currently given out for extra bedrooms if people order the X1 DVR have the guide, however the X1 Guide hasn't been put on any RNG's that are already in people's houses. I'm sure they're waiting until they get their next generation guide the way they want it before doing any major deployment to the RNG series.

GTFan

join:2004-12-03
reply to telcodad
said by 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

LOL, they can't even deliver a non-buggy X1, can't wait to see how the X2 looks when it gets rolled out 5 years from now.

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

said by 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

LOL, they can't even deliver a non-buggy X1, can't wait to see how the X2 looks when it gets rolled out 5 years from now.

Doesn't anyone read the actual article or the comments here? X2 is just a codename for a new revision to the X1. X1 has been undergoing lots of revisions since it has come out. "X2" is just a further evolution of the existing guide. It integrates a recommendations engine, otherwise it's the same guide. Comcast isn't even planning on differentiating it, it will just be a new feature that gets added to existing the X1 platform at some point....


Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4
reply to SpHeRe31459
Yeah I know I just wasn't sure about which version was going to be deployed. thanks

GTFan

join:2004-12-03
reply to SpHeRe31459
said by SpHeRe31459:

said by GTFan:

said by 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

LOL, they can't even deliver a non-buggy X1, can't wait to see how the X2 looks when it gets rolled out 5 years from now.

Doesn't anyone read the actual article or the comments here? X2 is just a codename for a new revision to the X1. X1 has been undergoing lots of revisions since it has come out. "X2" is just a further evolution of the existing guide. It integrates a recommendations engine, otherwise it's the same guide. Comcast isn't even planning on differentiating it, it will just be a new feature that gets added to existing the X1 platform at some point....

Does it really matter? The point doesn't change, Comcast rollouts take an eternity and every DVR is a bugfest. They like to announce all sorts of what look to be decent features then fail to deliver a good product in a timely manner. It's an LOL that they're even talking about an X2 when the X1 is still only available to a very small part of their footprint, and it's buggy as hell.

Satellite has already lapped the field here, cable is slowly playing catchup but usually it's just a bunch of promises.

SpHeRe31459
Premium
join:2002-10-09
Sacramento, CA
kudos:2
But don't we already know to take anything from Comcast with a big grain of salt at this point?

The X2 build is just being shown to an industry trade show. It's not being shown to end-users and they already admitted there's no timeline for deployment of the feature. It's basically just an extra that they're developing along side the existing base X1 features. If you read the big X1 thread here there's almost weekly updates being pushed out to end users. So it's not like this has somehow derailed or stopped development of the main base X1.


Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4
True, I've already seen things about X3 ....

SpHeRe31459
Premium
join:2002-10-09
Sacramento, CA
kudos:2
Dude, you keep brining up X3. There is no X3 software, it's never been said anywhere.

You're confusing it with the "Xi3" reference design which is for the IP only client boxes. The Xi3 RDK was incorrectly reported as "X3" in a couple of news articles back in mid-2012. But it's never been used in reference to the guide software, it's was hardware only.


Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4
ah ok, good.


Mike Wolf

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

3 edits
reply to SpHeRe31459
Came across this video about XG5. I hope you guys like it.

»www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3bRqkAkqXg

--
I'm always up for a good chat and helping with tech problems.


FifthE1ement
Tech Nut

join:2005-03-16
Fort Lauderdale, FL
reply to SpHeRe31459
said by SpHeRe31459:

said by GTFan:

said by 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

LOL, they can't even deliver a non-buggy X1, can't wait to see how the X2 looks when it gets rolled out 5 years from now.

Doesn't anyone read the actual article or the comments here? X2 is just a codename for a new revision to the X1. X1 has been undergoing lots of revisions since it has come out. "X2" is just a further evolution of the existing guide. It integrates a recommendations engine, otherwise it's the same guide. Comcast isn't even planning on differentiating it, it will just be a new feature that gets added to existing the X1 platform at some point....

Five years! What are you smoking sphery?! The X1 has been in development since at least 2008 (6 years+) and it's still severely buggy and available to less than approx 5% of the Comcast footprint! If the X2 ever does come, even as a guide update it won't be for at least a decade. I mean Comcast has been using the current iGuide since 99/00 (13 years+). I would be happy with anything Comcast was wiling to push. I wish they would simply give up on their own project and use one of the guides provided which could be pushed out tomorrow and great.

Comcast doesn't need to compete therefore they have no incentive to release new guides or features. The only time they have conceded was when HBO Go wasn't available on the Xbox 60 and a big kerfuffle was made and they finally relented. But they still didn't allow access to HBO Go for Roku or Samsung users. Why, because there aren't enou8gh users to make a stink. Dish, U-Verse and DirecTV do not (in most areas) have the luxury of having huge contacts with areas and having monopolies or duopolies in 99% of their footprint. They have to fight for every customers, where Comcast basically has an "old" OG revenue stream. Comcast doesn't compete on much except phone service and in a few areas where u-verse and FIOS are available internet.

5th


Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4
Have you checked out the XG5 stuff?


cypherstream
Premium,MVM
join:2004-12-02
Reading, PA
kudos:3
said by Mike Wolf:

Have you checked out the XG5 stuff?

I did and it looks pretty nice. I thought that's what they were talking about on the front page today: »Comcast Unveils New Home Gateway

Though I read further and that one on the front page only bonds 16 channels. The one in the video bonds 24 channels for 900mbps throughput.

It's more on par with something like DirecTV's genie. Basically you have a main box with all the "real" tuners and then small clients on other TV's getting everything through IP over Moca.

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

3 edits
»Comcast Unveils New Home Gateway

That isn't XG5 since it doesn't do video. It's basically just a new wireless router with 5Ghz support and eMTA combo that will also support MoCA for networking, that customers can rent instead of just a basic cable modem or their standard (crappy) wireless router made by SMC for them.

Supporting MoCA for networking (instead of just for AnyRoomDVR) is first for Comcast I believe, and something Mike Wolf has been clamoring for

»www.businesswire.com/news/home/2···-Fastest

The keywords in the PR: Wireless Gateway and Internet service