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Jim77yaol

@verizon.net

[STB] Guidework interface phasing out?

Is the Guidework interface going to be phased out in 2013 in favor of X1 interface?

If yes, does that mean old settop boxes in field will be updated with X1 interface?


Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4
Never heard of this before, so it's quite possible that they are. Comcast seems to be rolling out the A30 software for Motorola, the S26 software for Cisco/SA, and X1 for their new fleet of boxes and eventually the high end Cisco/SA and Motorola boxes.
Would you happen to have any images of what this Guidework interface looks like?

stoli412

join:2003-02-12
UK
I believe Guideworks is just the company/division that develops the current iGuide EPG.


Jim77yaol

@verizon.net
reply to Mike Wolf
It is the common blue and yellow comcast interface that we have since ages on Comcast set top boxes. I saw the new fancier X1 version interface and was wondering how long existing set top box customers with limited capacity have to wait to get that on their set top boxes without changing the set top box

The Q

join:2008-06-26
Collegeville, PA
reply to stoli412
»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GuideWorks

In 2010, Rovi, the corporate descendent of Gemstar-TV Guide, pulled out of the venture. GuideWorks is now wholly owned by Comcast.

SpHeRe31459
Premium
join:2002-10-09
Sacramento, CA
kudos:2
reply to Jim77yaol
said by Jim77yaol :

Is the Guidework interface going to be phased out in 2013 in favor of X1 interface?

If yes, does that mean old settop boxes in field will be updated with X1 interface?

Yes and No.

Yes eventually the X1 Guide will be deployed to the newer more powerful existing Motorola and Cisco boxes (rule of thumb are those models made in the last 2-3 years), but don't expect that to happen for at least 2-years.

No, because older boxes will never be capable of running X1, so Comcast will be keeping the iGuide around for quite sometime now.


Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4
reply to stoli412
I thought the company that designed the iGuide was Rovi »www.rovicorp.com/products/discov···overview

The Q

join:2008-06-26
Collegeville, PA
said by Mike Wolf:

I thought the company that designed the iGuide was Rovi »www.rovicorp.com/products/discov···overview

the wikipedia link I provided had a short history, reposted below:

GuideWorks, LLC is the joint venture of Comcast and Gemstar-TV Guide International that was formed in April 2004 for the purpose of creating navigation software (also known as Interactive Program Guides) for digital cable television. Comcast owns a majority stake in the venture.

The software developed by GuideWorks is widely deployed in Comcast digital cable systems throughout the USA, and delivers both Video On Demand and Digital Video Recorder features to consumers. Gemstar TV Guide markets the GuideWorks software to other cable companies.

Prior to the formation of the joint venture, Gemstar-TV Guide International, Inc developed and marketed the navigation software to Comcast and other cable operators. During this period, the name i-Guide became associated with the products, which gained a reputation for strong promotion of advertising similar to the ads that appear on web pages today. This advertising aspect underwent significant deemphasis after the formation of the GuideWorks joint venture in 2004.

In 2010, Rovi, the corporate descendent of Gemstar-TV Guide, pulled out of the venture. GuideWorks is now wholly owned by Comcast.[1]


Mike Wolf

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

Russ6

join:2011-03-17
Houston, TX
kudos:1
reply to SpHeRe31459
Comcast is currently updating the Motorola A28 Guide with the A30 update and the SA/Cisco S25 Guide with the S26 update. I think this means that the set top boxes that can't run the X1 Guide will be around a long time.

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

1 edit
said by Russ6:

Comcast is currently updating the Motorola A28 Guide with the A30 update and the SA/Cisco S25 Guide with the S26 update. I think this means that the set top boxes that can't run the X1 Guide will be around a long time.

Yep for sure. I said that in my post.
I know in my market Comcast is still re-using ancient Motorola DCT-2000 series STBs (originally produced circa 2000-2003) and almost as old DCT-6412 DVRs (circa 2005) to those who don't know any better.

said by SpHeRe31459:

...older boxes will never be capable of running X1, so Comcast will be keeping the iGuide around for quite sometime now.



Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4
Is there any picture quality difference or performance difference between those DCT-2000's and DCT-6412's and the brand new latest Motorola's?

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

3 edits
said by Mike Wolf:

Is there any picture quality difference or performance difference between those DCT-2000's and DCT-6412's and the brand new latest Motorola's?

You know that's a good question. Probably not tons, if any. Since decoding MPEG2 is a fairly trivial matter these days.

The differences would be in the deinterlacing and scaling of channels to a different resolution (i.e. setting the cable box to scale 480i to 720p, etc.). The newer DCX models are supposed to be better at it.

The real issue is of course what else they cannot do. They have limited memory for holding guide data, they have far less processing power to handle UI rendering. The old DCT-2000's have a low power, low speed (27MHz ?) Motorola 68000 series CPU (the same CPU architecture as the first Macintosh computers).

As I recall, I've heard stories about the DCT-2000 being so unsophisticated that it has been known to have a memory overflow and crash itself with too much guide data since the underlying core firmware is so simplistic it doesn't do memory management/cleanup.

And of course any series before the DCX cannot decode MPEG4/AVC, which is something that MSOs are starting to look into. In fact HBO has delivered their feed in MPEG4 since 2008, and it has to be transcoded by the cable companies into MPEG2. So that could effect image quality because of compression/re-compression artifacts in the future.

There's a good FAQ here at DSLReports that I just came across that shows the differences in specs:
»Comcast Cable TV FAQ »Comcast Motorola Equipment


Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:4
mmm too bad we can't force cable companies to pass the MPEG4 untouched on set tops that are capable of it.