dslreports logo
site
 
    All Forums Hot Topics Gallery
spc

spacer




how-to block ads


Search Topic:
uniqs
32
share rss forum feed


gar187er
I do this for a living

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

1 recommendation

reply to telcodad

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

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

join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:3

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



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

join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:3

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:3
Reviews:
·Comcast
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

join:2002-10-09
Sacramento, CA
kudos:1

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:3
Reviews:
·Comcast

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

join:2002-10-09
Sacramento, CA
kudos:1

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:3

Came across this as well. »www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collate···-AAG.pdf ASIC ?


SpHeRe31459

join:2002-10-09
Sacramento, CA
kudos:1

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

join:2002-10-09
Sacramento, CA
kudos:1

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

join:2002-10-09
Sacramento, CA
kudos:1

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

join:2002-10-09
Sacramento, CA
kudos:1

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

join:2002-10-09
Sacramento, CA
kudos:1

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).


telcodad

join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:3
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

join:2002-10-09
Sacramento, CA
kudos:1

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:3
Reviews:
·Comcast

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

join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:3
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

join:2002-10-09
Sacramento, CA
kudos:1

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

join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:3

Yeah, that's true. Maybe the new hardware is the network DVR then?


SpHeRe31459

join:2002-10-09
Sacramento, CA
kudos:1

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:3
Reviews:
·Comcast
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

join:2002-10-09
Sacramento, CA
kudos:1

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.