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Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:3
reply to Cthen

Re: [HD] FIOS Moving to MPEG-4 HD

Cool. Speaking of Home Improvement, it's interesting that only Tim Allen, Patricia Richardson, Richard Karn, Pamela Anderson, Blake Clark, and Zachery Ty Bryan continued acting where as Jonathan Taylor Thomas continued until 2006, Taran Noah Smith continued until 2002 and Earl Hindman continued until 2003 upon his passing.


BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
reply to Joe12345678

But if they are sports packages, and they can manage them remotely, and they push them through every node, I don't think they need SDV. SDV is used for a whole bunch of channels that are always available at the node, but only pushed down from the node onto the RF when someone is actually watching one.



DrDrew
That others may surf
Premium
join:2009-01-28
SoCal
kudos:15

said by BiggA :

SDV is used for a whole bunch of channels that are always available at the node, but only pushed down from the node onto the RF when someone is actually watching one.

SDV switches channels for groups of nodes at the headend, not the node. It's all streamed on the network to the headend and turned on the nodes when someone requests it. The node itself is just a media converter from fiber to coax and back.

Sports channels and other part time channels like porn, PPV, and international channels are great uses for SDV. As are mostly day time (sprout, disney, other kids channels) vs. nighttime (HBO, Cinemax, Starz, other adult channels) groups of channels. It works pretty well when good management and reporting is implemented.

Most people and most techs have no idea the channels they're looking at are SDV when it's done right.
--
Two is one, one is none. If it's important, back it up... Somethimes 99.999% availability isn't even good enough.

BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Ok, that's a technicality. Why do you need SDV for sports? Just put them on and off at the head-end, and if they're off, they're just not tunable at that point in time. SDV is only really useful for channels that are always broadcasting, but aren't often watched.



DrDrew
That others may surf
Premium
join:2009-01-28
SoCal
kudos:15

4 edits

Putting them on and off means constantly pushing out channel maps to the boxes or the boxes generate errors which generate trouble calls. Neither case is good for the cable operator or thier customers.

Often it also means reconfiguring large amounts of equipment across multiple sites and pushing it out to a large area.

It's prone to mistakes and doesn't really net the operator anything but problems and a scheduling nightmare.

You don't need SDV for sports. SDV is just a good way to handle bandwidth shortages at the edge by switching channels that aren't watched full time by a large number of users. It allows the operator to use that channel space on a dynamic basis for other channels customers may want to watch. It automates and manages all that on off switching you're suggesting on a much finer scale to the point where it's seamless for the vast majority of users.

Comcast chose to drop analog and was required to push DTAs or cable boxes to all of it's customers. Other providers decided to keep analog and use SDV like Charter, Cox, and TWC. While others did neither and are short on bandwidth... cough, FIOS, cough...

The ironic thing is that Comcast is a driving force pushing the industry to develop the equipment that makes SDV possible, high density edge QAMs and modular DOCSIS 3, through it's CMAP now CCAP standards and designs. Soon the only thing Comcast sites will be missing is the SDV manager server, but a similar server will pop up when their CCAP sites start switching DOCSIS and video channels on demand... so SDV in another form.



FifthE1ement
Tech Nut

join:2005-03-16
Fort Lauderdale, FL

1 edit
reply to Streetlight

said by Streetlight:

said by GTFan:

said by andyross:

It may not cost the end-user, but it costs Comcast a ton of money. Just like any business, they want to milk all equipment for as long as possible. Hell, they still give out those ancient DCT-2000 series boxes!!

Just imagine how many DCT and DCH series boxes are out there, and SA equivalents.

Yeah I'm pretty sure they did the math and found out it's a whole lot cheaper to give people DTAs for 2 years and clear all that analog space (and then start charging for them to recoup the expense), than it was to spend a ton of money upgrading full STBs and DVRs.

I don't think they have a lot of channel bandwidth pressures now (at least on 850mhz systems), because they're not adding much new HD anymore.

What I and a lot of other folks have commented on in these forums is the CC has been removing premium HD channels and adding channels that have advertising. For instance, according to a flyer in our recent bill, The only Starz HD channel we have is Starz HD, but six Starz SD channels, four HBO HD channels but eight HBO SD channels, one Cinemax HD channel but nine Cinemax SD channels, one Showtime HD channel but six Showtime SD channels. We used to have most of the premium channels in HD. Not anymore. The excuse given by Comcast is that the stuff that's shown on the premium SD channels can be found as HD in On Demand. This is clearly a profit opportunity for them. They get fees from the new channels with advertising and the opportunity to sell single views of HD premium content to folks not subscribing to the premium channels. They also get the same or higher fees for those subscribing to the premium channels without providing them in HD as linear channels.

And what sucks worse is we are paying a fortune for the premiums and the excuse that the channels shows can be found on OnDemand which is BS. Someone compared the shows on the real channels versus what is available OnDemand and only approximately one quarter of the content could be found on Comcast OnDemand. So you are basically losing 3/4 of the shows you are already paying for! Not to mention OnDemand's quality is horrid compared to the real channels. Take almost any real channel and compare the picture quality of the OnDemand version and there is no comparison as the real channel looks a million times better. And what makes it even worse is that Comcast is blocking services such as HBO Go and other premiums on certain devices such as Samsung and other smart TVs and Roku devices. I wish I had a viable alternative to Comcast!

Also the DTA think is a complete rip off and it drives me nuts! Comcast called and offered me two DTA's for my home, I told the guy I didn't want or need them and he said to take them as you never know when you might need to setup a temp TV and either way they are both FREE so why not! Well I agreed and recently they started charging $2 a month per box! I called for them to come get them and they won't as I have to bring it to them and I just don't have the time. They are scammers as someone implied before.

My RNG boxes (and everyone I know even miles away from my house) that have those boxes always have issues with the screen auto zooming and OnDemand always giving the please pull the plug issue. Most don't know what to do or are afraid to unplug in fear it will do something worse to their TV's or other hardware. They are a pain and OnDemand never works right!

Do any of you think the DCX3400's will ever get an upgrade to the newer guides like the X1 or fabled X2? Someone said only the RNG boxes?

I don't want SDV if it's going to be anything like OnDemand's picture quality. Comcast's high definition in general is pretty bad in terms of PQ. Comparing a Blu-ray in 720p to the same movie on HBO (or pretty much ANY movie) you finally see how bad Comcast's PQ is. A 720p Blu-ray shouldn't be a million times better than 1080i HBO channel (or any HD but it seems the premium channels have a better PQ then other HD's such as G4TV, ETC).

Thanks,

5th
--
"The relationship between what we see and what we know is never settled..."


Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:3
reply to Mike Wolf

Came across some info on the TiVo Premieres. Found it to be an interesting read. »mysite.verizon.net/~fiosdvr/prem···w_01.pdf


BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
reply to DrDrew

FIOS went all-digital a number of years back, so I don't know what you're talking about. They were years ahead of Comcast.

Why would you need to re-map channels? Just leave them mapped all the time, and pull the stream out from behind them...

Analog and SDV is an idiotic combination when analog is clearly from the past. Getting rid of analog is the FIRST thing every cable provider should do, THEN MPEG-4, and finally, if they're still short on bandwidth, SDV.

What is Comcast driving the equipment development for VOD? They seem to love VOD WAY too much.

Why is Comcast trying to kludge their way around the simple solution of going MPEG-4?

I found out that my local Comcast system is 650mhz and that's why we're missing so many HDs... man I hope the other cable company gets their ass in gear and dumps analog, and gets faster internet speeds, as when they do, they can just wipe out Comcast.



Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:3

I don't think Comcast would ever get wiped out by another cable provider. They are too big and powerful. I wish Comcast would just lead the industry in technology and services and move everything to MPEG4 and be done with it.

I do wonder if the picture quality of MPEG4 is truly that much more amazing then MPEG2. Is it really that noticeable?



DrDrew
That others may surf
Premium
join:2009-01-28
SoCal
kudos:15
reply to BiggA

said by BiggA:

FIOS went all-digital a number of years back, so I don't know what you're talking about. They were years ahead of Comcast.

Sorry got a bit mixed up in my description. You're right that FIOS went all digital years ago, but FIOS is pretty much out of video bandwidth due to the way it handles distribution of local and ad insertion feeds. They're slowly going MPEG4, but even though they're several years later into the digital video arena than Comcast they also have a large mass of MPEG2 only equipment they need to replace. They were rumored to be going IPTV but that's run into lots of delays for all the video providers.
said by BiggA:

Why would you need to re-map channels? Just leave them mapped all the time, and pull the stream out from behind them...

If you just pull the video stream, you leave the QAM slot in place. That generates errors on the boxes and edge QAMs. To pull the QAM you have to turn it off at the Edge QAM. To put another channel in it's place you'd have to reconfigure the Edge QAM. If the provider is inserting ads and/or stat muxing the channels so 3 HDs or 10 SDs fit nicely in the available bandwidth, then even more has to be done.

Either way, it's a REAL UGLY way to switch channels to save bandwidth especially if it's done frequently, since "just pulling the stream" doesn't really work.

said by BiggA:

Analog and SDV is an idiotic combination when analog is clearly from the past. Getting rid of analog is the FIRST thing every cable provider should do, THEN MPEG-4, and finally, if they're still short on bandwidth, SDV.

Lots of cable customers still use analog. Getting rid of it drives TONS of complaints and more than a little churn. It also drives providers to boxes purchases, which in todays market of massive guide changes and the requirements to run the new guides, isn't cheap or quick. Also SDV can still run on DCT boxes without a problem unlike MPEG4 or channels above 860 Mhz, which is why OTHER providers have embraced SDV.
said by BiggA:

What is Comcast driving the equipment development for VOD? They seem to love VOD WAY too much.

I didn't say anything about VOD, but it's getting dragged along too since it's generated by the Edge QAM type equipment, same as normal linear QAMs, SDV QAMs, and soon to be DOCSIS QAMs. The backend is very different though.
said by BiggA:

Why is Comcast trying to kludge their way around the simple solution of going MPEG-4?

MPEG4 requires all DCT, DCH, and many CableCARD devices to be replaced along with various pieces of headend gear. Again, not cheap or quick and messing with the usefulness of CableCARD devices usually draws out FCC actions.

The huge installed base of MPEG2 only gear is the main reason why MPEG4 is so slow in being deployed.
--
Two is one, one is none. If it's important, back it up... Somethimes 99.999% availability isn't even good enough.

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

said by Mike Wolf:

I do wonder if the picture quality of MPEG4 is truly that much more amazing then MPEG2. Is it really that noticeable?

It's not that it's more noticeable per-say, it's that it allows more efficient compression at a given bitrate than MPEG2, so hopefully it will help with the macroblocking in fast motion on over compressed HD channels. Another major benefit is that more linear channels can be carried in a given QAM. Of course you can choke the bitrate of MPEG4 in the name of carrying more channels just like you can with MPEG2, but you'd get at least another channel or two for each QAM frequency out of it before that would happen with MPEG4.


FifthE1ement
Tech Nut

join:2005-03-16
Fort Lauderdale, FL
reply to DrDrew

Any of you have any info on my questions? Would they have to change the complete software on the DCX4300 to do MPEG-4 HD?

Thanks in advance,

5th
--
"The relationship between what we see and what we know is never settled..."


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

3 edits

said by FifthE1ement:

Any of you have any info on my questions? Would they have to change the complete software on the DCX4300 to do MPEG-4 HD?

Thanks in advance,

5th

I assume some software patch would have to be made yes, it would apply to any STB that can potentially decode MPEG4.
I assume the legacy iGuide software/firmware cannot handle MPEG4 transport streams. But I don't know about that for sure.

Realistically, I have a feeling any move to MPEG4 would only come with a newer more flexible and updatable guide like the X1 Guide.

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

2 edits
reply to DrDrew

said by DrDrew:

MPEG4 requires all DCT, DCH, and many CableCARD devices to be replaced along with various pieces of headend gear. Again, not cheap or quick and messing with the usefulness of CableCARD devices usually draws out FCC actions.

A few points...
1. If you read back on the first page Comcast actually has a pretty big footprint of MPEG4 capable boxes out in the field already.
2. As with other providers, If MPEG4 is used only for HD channels (excluding the locals), that leaves all legacy hardware able to decode the SD channels without issue. This will satisfy a lot of legacy users, who either don't have HD equipment or don't care about HD channels (I know quite a few people that have no idea/don't remember that the HD versions even exist). If a person does tune to an HD channel, they'll just get a little error that tells them to swap out their cable box.
3. CableCARD in-and-of itself has nothing to do with the codec used. It's simply an access control/decryption hardware key. Again as I and others have pointed out, if Comcast followed what other TV providers have done, by phasing in MPEG4 channels, it would allow people time to change their hardware. The MPEG4 problem would only affect 3rd generation TiVo users. That's part of the downside to owning your own hardware. Unfortunately, to Comcast, it seems TiVo users are really quite a niche group at this point. They would always have access to the SD version of course, since they stay MPEG2. So I serisouly doubt it would cause a problem that the FCC would care much about, especially the current FCC which is a sad group of people in the pocket of the telecom industry it seems.
4. Are you sure the head-end equipment needs much of any changes? I'm no expert in the exact workings of a cable head-end but doesn't it in effect just pass on MEPG transport streams at a given QAM assignment with the right compatible encryption schema for the equipment (SA or Moto)? Why would that equipment care about the codec used inside of the transport stream?
I assume the feeds are prepared/compressed at the master headend for the regional area, not at the local head-end.


DrDrew
That others may surf
Premium
join:2009-01-28
SoCal
kudos:15

1 edit
reply to FifthE1ement

said by FifthE1ement:

Any of you have any info on my questions? Would they have to change the complete software on the DCX4300 to do MPEG-4 HD?

Thanks in advance,

5th


No, no need for a complete software change. TWC has some MPEG4 video streams running on DCX boxes with iGuide software


DrDrew
That others may surf
Premium
join:2009-01-28
SoCal
kudos:15
reply to SpHeRe31459

Yes the can certainly do a phased roll out based on tiers of service, not sure why they haven't started that yet. TWC and others have...

Equipment that would care about the codec would include statistical multiplexers, ad splicers, encryptors, local channel encoders, and MPEG analyzers, among other things. Some of it is regional, some of it local.
--
Two is one, one is none. If it's important, back it up... Somethimes 99.999% availability isn't even good enough.



Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:3
reply to SpHeRe31459

said by SpHeRe31459:

(I know quite a few people that have no idea/don't remember that the HD versions even exist).

These people are my mortal enemy.


Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:3

1 edit

Do I have to move to a FiOS area just to get MPEG4 ? Come on Comcast


GTFan

join:2004-12-03

1 recommendation

You need some help, man.


andyross
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-04
Schaumburg, IL
reply to SpHeRe31459

said by SpHeRe31459:

I assume some software patch would have to be made yes, it would apply to any STB that can potentially decode MPEG4, I assume the legacy iGuide software/firmware cannot handle MPEG4 transport streams. But I don't know about that for sure.

I don't think iGuide may even care about the MPEG format. That is up to the firmware of the device it's installed on. iGuide just works through an API to that to control the tuners and stuff.


motorola870

join:2008-12-07
Arlington, TX
kudos:3

said by andyross:

said by SpHeRe31459:

I assume some software patch would have to be made yes, it would apply to any STB that can potentially decode MPEG4, I assume the legacy iGuide software/firmware cannot handle MPEG4 transport streams. But I don't know about that for sure.

I don't think iGuide may even care about the MPEG format. That is up to the firmware of the device it's installed on. iGuide just works through an API to that to control the tuners and stuff.

Yes MPEG4 is supported on iGuide boxes as TWC has ESPN3D sent out over SDV in my area using MPEG4. It is evident with TWC where they don't have ESPN3D in most cases they don't have digital simulcast which is required in Motorola areas for MPEG4 as DCX boxes are required for it.


PaulGo

join:2005-01-29
Gaithersburg, MD
reply to andyross

I believe Comcast is already using MPEG-4 on some 3D content. In my area only the boxes that were capable of MPEG-4 could be enabled for 3D.


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

3 edits
reply to motorola870

said by motorola870:

said by andyross:

said by SpHeRe31459:

I assume some software patch would have to be made yes, it would apply to any STB that can potentially decode MPEG4, I assume the legacy iGuide software/firmware cannot handle MPEG4 transport streams. But I don't know about that for sure.

I don't think iGuide may even care about the MPEG format. That is up to the firmware of the device it's installed on. iGuide just works through an API to that to control the tuners and stuff.

Yes MPEG4 is supported on iGuide boxes as TWC has ESPN3D sent out over SDV in my area using MPEG4. It is evident with TWC where they don't have ESPN3D in most cases they don't have digital simulcast which is required in Motorola areas for MPEG4 as DCX boxes are required for it.

Oh yeah, cool. iGuide sort of blurs the line between firmware and software (a lot of iGuide seems to have some pretty low level code to make it work on old memory limited boxes, hence the issues porting to platforms other than Moto i.e. the SA/Cisco boxes and their "S Guide" port) so I wasn't sure what affects the use of MPEG4.
But that makes sense, since an MPEG transport stream is an MPEG transport stream as far as the guide and tuning, etc. go.

said by PaulGo:

I believe Comcast is already using MPEG-4 on some 3D content. In my area only the boxes that were capable of MPEG-4 could be enabled for 3D.

Oh yeah quite right, I forgot about 3D since it's such a non-starter. From checking around it seems some of the 3D channels were delivered in MPEG2 and some were MPEG4.


CAST SUCKS

@comcastbusiness.net
reply to DrDrew

said by DrDrew:

said by BiggA:

FIOS went all-digital a number of years back, so I don't know what you're talking about. They were years ahead of Comcast.

Sorry got a bit mixed up in my description. You're right that FIOS went all digital years ago, but FIOS is pretty much out of video bandwidth due to the way it handles distribution of local and ad insertion feeds. They're slowly going MPEG4, but even though they're several years later into the digital video arena than Comcast they also have a large mass of MPEG2 only equipment they need to replace. They were rumored to be going IPTV but that's run into lots of delays for all the video providers.
said by BiggA:

Why would you need to re-map channels? Just leave them mapped all the time, and pull the stream out from behind them...

If you just pull the video stream, you leave the QAM slot in place. That generates errors on the boxes and edge QAMs. To pull the QAM you have to turn it off at the Edge QAM. To put another channel in it's place you'd have to reconfigure the Edge QAM. If the provider is inserting ads and/or stat muxing the channels so 3 HDs or 10 SDs fit nicely in the available bandwidth, then even more has to be done.

Either way, it's a REAL UGLY way to switch channels to save bandwidth especially if it's done frequently, since "just pulling the stream" doesn't really work.

said by BiggA:

Analog and SDV is an idiotic combination when analog is clearly from the past. Getting rid of analog is the FIRST thing every cable provider should do, THEN MPEG-4, and finally, if they're still short on bandwidth, SDV.

Lots of cable customers still use analog. Getting rid of it drives TONS of complaints and more than a little churn. It also drives providers to boxes purchases, which in todays market of massive guide changes and the requirements to run the new guides, isn't cheap or quick. Also SDV can still run on DCT boxes without a problem unlike MPEG4 or channels above 860 Mhz, which is why OTHER providers have embraced SDV.
said by BiggA:

What is Comcast driving the equipment development for VOD? They seem to love VOD WAY too much.

I didn't say anything about VOD, but it's getting dragged along too since it's generated by the Edge QAM type equipment, same as normal linear QAMs, SDV QAMs, and soon to be DOCSIS QAMs. The backend is very different though.
said by BiggA:

Why is Comcast trying to kludge their way around the simple solution of going MPEG-4?

MPEG4 requires all DCT, DCH, and many CableCARD devices to be replaced along with various pieces of headend gear. Again, not cheap or quick and messing with the usefulness of CableCARD devices usually draws out FCC actions.

The huge installed base of MPEG2 only gear is the main reason why MPEG4 is so slow in being deployed.

Dish and directv turned off there MPEG2 HD a few years ago

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

2 edits

Way to auto quote the entire post, how 'bout you just select the portion you're replying to...

I think Dish may still have some national MPEG2 HD channels around, and I'm pretty sure the HD locals are MPEG2.

»support.dish.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=20
From March 2012:

quote:
Hi, DISH has no plans to end MPEG2 technology for our customers. We do have certain area designated as MPEG4 only upgrade areas. If and when a customer decides to upgrade to HD in these areas they will be moved to an Eastern Arc Installation which is all MPEG4 but customers will still be able to use their MPEG2 set-ups for a SD installation. Please let us know if you have any additional questions or concerns, thank you!

BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
reply to DrDrew

FIOS has way more bandwidth than Comcast, they just took the high road with not turning HDs into a pile of compression artifacts. What does local ad insertion have to do with anything? That would be handled regionally before the signal is turned into an 860mhz RF signal running over fiber.

Churn to WHERE? Here in Groton, CT, yes, we have another cable company who is still living in the dark ages, but 99% of places don't. The people who complain are a bunch of old people who aren't that profitable anyways, as they don't have real cable boxes, don't subscribe to a lot of stuff, and don't use XoD.

Right, but what's driving the edge QAM equipment? XoD? That's the main culprit for bandwidth on their systems from what I gather.

The only CableCard devices that don't work with MPEG-2 are TiVo Series 3 because TiVo won't put the software update out for them, and some obscure old MCE tuner cards. TiVo Premiere, the Ceton InfiniTV, and the HDHR series all work fine with it.

There are a decent number of DCT and DCH boxes out there, but it wouldn't be that hard to move channels over block by block to force people off of the old hardware slowly. It's archaic anyways. Sure, there will be a few unhappy campers, but tough nuggies. Comcast could write it off over the course of a few years, and in the whole scheme of their business, it wouldn't cost them much at all. They could also recycle the boxes as SD DVRs, if anyone still subscribes to those. It would really be better to get them out of the houses though, as they are energy hogs, don't provide advanced services well, and require more support since they break all the time.

MPEG-4 would look a lot better, because Comcast wouldn't have to compress the snot out of it to fit in on their system. They could go to 5 HD's per QAM with much higher quality than the current 3 HD's per QAM.

The DCX3400 from Motorola supports MPEG-4. They already work on MPEG-4, as some markets use it for 3D content. There's nothing stopping them from putting more MPEG-4 channels on tomorrow except that some users wouldn't be able to get them, as they have older hardware.


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

said by BiggA:

There are a decent number of DCT and DCH boxes out there, but it wouldn't be that hard to move channels over block by block to force people off of the old hardware slowly. It's archaic anyways. Sure, there will be a few unhappy campers, but tough nuggies. Comcast could write it off over the course of a few years, and in the whole scheme of their business, it wouldn't cost them much at all. They could also recycle the boxes as SD DVRs, if anyone still subscribes to those. It would really be better to get them out of the houses though, as they are energy hogs, don't provide advanced services well, and require more support since they break all the time.

Totally possible, other providers have done exactly that. I've been saying this exact thing since page 1 of this topic, before it got derailed on SDV.

The other added (eventual) benefit to end users to upgrade is that newer boxes are also going to be X1 Guide software capable.

BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

One of many, yes.



DrDrew
That others may surf
Premium
join:2009-01-28
SoCal
kudos:15

3 edits
reply to BiggA

said by BiggA :

FIOS has way more bandwidth than Comcast, they just took the high road with not turning HDs into a pile of compression artifacts.

Look at the HD selection of FIOS. Many in the FIOS forums are complaining of missing many HD channels others like Comcast carry. Example: »[HD] Maybe this means more HD will follow....
FIOS has toyed with 3 HDs per QAM and still runs a few that way, otherwise they can't add much HD without taking other channels away. They've recently started pushing toward MPEG4 to help with the situation: »Verizon is Offering to Change STB because of Lineup changes

said by BiggA :

What does local ad insertion have to do with anything? That would be handled regionally before the signal is turned into an 860mhz RF signal running over fiber.

FIOS has about 16 regional headends where the RF is generated. Those each serve multiple cities and DMAs. To provide the local channels and advertising each DMA wants, they use multiple QAMs not available for national feeds. Some are for local ads, some are for local channels, some are for PEG channels, others are set aside for channel insertion at apartments and businesses. Around 24 QAMs just for that... It means not every area has 135 QAMs available in that 860Mhz of space for channels customers can watch, more like 110 QAMs. Couple that with the 2 video streams per QAM vs. 3 per QAM many other cable ops use and you've got limited channel space. See this channel lineup: »Re: Verizon is Offering to Change STB because of Lineup changes or this thread: »Verizon is now using 8 QAM channels for local commercials
said by BiggA :

Churn to WHERE?

Churn to Dish, DirecTV, OTA, FIOS, Uverse... what ever other video provider is in the area. Since new customers to other providers often get promo deals on startup, it frequently comes out cheaper than adding multiple boxes on Comcast.
said by BiggA :

Right, but what's driving the edge QAM equipment?

Not sure I understand the question...
Comcast and other providers want more dense equipment that takes up less space, with more ports per RU, and more QAMs per port. It used to be 1 QAM per RF port, then 4 QAMs per port, now 96 QAMs per port can be had. It allows them to make smaller service groups and provide more targeted bandwidth delivery with less combining and other gear needed. The plans are to make 1 device that generates the multiple QAMs from a port which can be used for linear channels, VOD, SDV, and DOCSIS channels, with possible switching on demand between them. Fewer independent, dedicated function devices make for easier, faster, and cheaper upgrades. »www.multichannel.com/node/139977
said by BiggA :

The only CableCard devices that don't work with MPEG-2 are TiVo Series 3...

You're missing all the CableCARD tvs people are holding on to from 2002-2007. It's not many, but everytime a provider does something that limits the usefulness of CableCARD devices, the FCC seems to get involved. It's the tech that almost no one wants, but we can't seem to get past. FCC rules from 2011 require CableCard customers get all linear channels. That's difficult if your CableCard device doesn't do MPEG4 and the channel is MPEG4: »www.fcc.gov/guides/cablecard-kno···r-rights

Add that to the collection of DCT/DCH boxes which number in the millions and it's a big chunk of change to buy and replace them. Add that to the whole situation with X1 and X2 guides, not even running well on some of the MPEG4 capable boxes. It would seem the whole Comcast cable box situation is really fluid right now. Depending on how things play out they may have to replace everything older than 2 years to support the Guide they want to advance. With other providers hitting the same situation do the box makers have enough capacity? Moto had issues when the whole mandatory CableCard rule went into effect a few years ago. All these little things make mass box changes ugly for providers and customers, and it slows them down to molasses speed.

This can be all moot anyways... I've heard rumors of several open QAMs and growing in many Comcast areas. Doesn't seem like there's a big bandwidth crunch in most Comcast systems at the moment.
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Two is one, one is none. If it's important, back it up... Somethimes 99.999% availability isn't even good enough.


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rough visio diagram
Wow 96 QAMs per port? Thats 3724.8 Mbps worth of data. I guess you have to have a 10GigE input interface (likely dual for redundancy)?

Its kind of like what virtualization does for the IT world. I mean I used to have to manage 25+ physical servers. That's 25 or more pieces of equipment taking up rack space, needing switch ports, power outlets, generating heat, costing energy, etc.. Now I have that consolidated into 3 servers taking up 6U of rack space and a quarter rack of shared storage. Amazing how technology lets us consolidate so much. I have empty racks now

As far as the older set tops running X1... it can be done, though they aren't actually "running" x1. They run a 100kb client from ActiveVideo networks. A server pool actually hosts the guide and the thin client in the box transmits the button presses and displays the output. Think of like how Citrix works or Microsoft Terminal Services / Remote Destkop.

»www.activevideo.com/company-pr-s···p?id=146

I mean businesses are starting to virtualize the desktop now with VDI, so simple thin clients can be deployed to end users. They actually connect to a VDI session in the data center that runs their applications. If this is working for businesses maybe this model could evolve into something in the Cable TV world.

I'm guessing this would require some of those dense eQAMS because it sounds like each set top has its own QAM stream.
Lets say the tuners are all in the headend, and you allocated 3 set top boxes per QAM. In 110 narrowcast QAMs, a node could support 330 individual set top boxes.

That is a bit of expense to re-engineer the plant so all the tuning was done in the headend and the output was just streamed and assigned to a frequency on your particular node. Not sure how that plays out. Almost be easier just to replace all the set tops?

But think of it this way... all the tuning is done in the headend... so its just picking streams off IP... you really have unlimited bandwidth and can launch any channel you have rights to launch at that point.