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Acct101
Premium
join:2011-09-20
Bensalem, PA
reply to Acct101

Re: [Content] So does Comcast ever add channels?

There should be a law that cable companies can raise rates only if they add more HD channels.


BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
reply to Acct101

I'm stuck on a 650mhz system here in Groton, CT. We don't have Al Jazeera America, and we don't have ESPNU HD. We do have all kinds of crap in HD. So at this point, unless they decide to both to rebuild our system, we are at the point of swapping channels one for one. It's pretty amazing that two channels like that aren't on there, but all sorts of junk channels are. We have about 70 HD's versus the typical 110 HD's of most Comcast systems. Branford, CT has an 860mhz system, and they have Al Jazeera America as well as ESPN U in HD.

If it weren't for TiVo, I would move to DirecTV. Neither Comcast (650mhz system) or the local overbuilder (860mhz system that hasn't gotten rid of analog yet) don't have those channels. In fact, the local overbuilder is even worse than Comcast.

This talk of IPTV is kind of ridiculous. Comcast has TONs of capacity with 256-QAM. If they upgraded every system to 860mhz that hasn't been already, implemented 24x3 D3, put 5 HD's to a QAM with MPEG-4, added a couple of UHDTV channels with H.265, they would STILL be able to add a TON more HD channels before they had an 860mhz system completely crammed.

Currently systems, even the 860mhz ones, are only running around 750mhz worth of stuff. So there's about 18 QAM's open. Move the current 110 or so HD's on most systems to H.264 at 5/QAM. That's moving from 36 to 22 QAMs with better PQ, leaving 14 QAMs, or another 70 HD's open. Start with regular linear channels, and then do more premium and sports package channels. And with new adds, don't add the SD versions. Heck, maybe even just nuke some of the SD versions of some lesser-watched channels so as not to have them duplicated. That still leaves the 18 QAM's open on the top end. Moving from 8x3 to 24x3 D3 would require 16 of them, likely still leaving a few open. Also, moving VOD to MPEG-4 would allow a slight condensing of the VODs allocated to that as well.

See, it's not that hard. No need for IPTV or anything else.



motorola870

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

said by BiggA:

I'm stuck on a 650mhz system here in Groton, CT. We don't have Al Jazeera America, and we don't have ESPNU HD. We do have all kinds of crap in HD. So at this point, unless they decide to both to rebuild our system, we are at the point of swapping channels one for one. It's pretty amazing that two channels like that aren't on there, but all sorts of junk channels are. We have about 70 HD's versus the typical 110 HD's of most Comcast systems. Branford, CT has an 860mhz system, and they have Al Jazeera America as well as ESPN U in HD.

If it weren't for TiVo, I would move to DirecTV. Neither Comcast (650mhz system) or the local overbuilder (860mhz system that hasn't gotten rid of analog yet) don't have those channels. In fact, the local overbuilder is even worse than Comcast.

This talk of IPTV is kind of ridiculous. Comcast has TONs of capacity with 256-QAM. If they upgraded every system to 860mhz that hasn't been already, implemented 24x3 D3, put 5 HD's to a QAM with MPEG-4, added a couple of UHDTV channels with H.265, they would STILL be able to add a TON more HD channels before they had an 860mhz system completely crammed.

Currently systems, even the 860mhz ones, are only running around 750mhz worth of stuff. So there's about 18 QAM's open. Move the current 110 or so HD's on most systems to H.264 at 5/QAM. That's moving from 36 to 22 QAMs with better PQ, leaving 14 QAMs, or another 70 HD's open. Start with regular linear channels, and then do more premium and sports package channels. And with new adds, don't add the SD versions. Heck, maybe even just nuke some of the SD versions of some lesser-watched channels so as not to have them duplicated. That still leaves the 18 QAM's open on the top end. Moving from 8x3 to 24x3 D3 would require 16 of them, likely still leaving a few open. Also, moving VOD to MPEG-4 would allow a slight condensing of the VODs allocated to that as well.

See, it's not that hard. No need for IPTV or anything else.

another problem seems that Comcast is being lazy and not correcting issues with LTE interference and just abandoning those frequencies which is a no no they need to replace the bad cabling and clean the plant up the bandwidth is too precious not to do so.

It would actually make Comcast look better if they did add more HD channels in their 860MHz systems instead of wasting the bandwidth because of everyone has to be equal attitude. They could even add back the extra premium channels in HD lol! I mean they are probably sitting on 20 QAMs alone from 860MHz vs 750MHz and the 750MHz areas have a lot of open QAMs I hear has anyone actually checked to see exactly how many are open on their system?

Boston, San Francisco, parts of Philadelphia, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Chicago outskirts partial, and parts of other metro areas are all 860MHz.

BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

I think they should make everyone equal- with an 860mhz plant. And any upgrades they do now should be built to 1ghz, and run at 860mhz. They are still running a ton of little feudal fiefdoms, that all have slightly different equipment and different channel lineups. They did standardize the channel numbers nationally, but in some areas, some channels just don't exist, since they don't have the capacity for them. What they really should do is move to a model like Verizon does with SHEs, as opposed to local offices. They also have a few Sci Atlanta systems (mine included) that they should convert over to Motorola like everything else, although I'm not sure how you do that (force migrate everyone to the IP-based X1 platform???).


Os

join:2011-01-26
US
reply to Acct101

Charter is now showing they can run 200 HD channels easily on an all-digital platform, Comcast could join them in that.



wolf

@valassis.com
reply to Acct101

said by Acct101:

There should be a law that cable companies can raise rates only if they add more HD channels.

The law you're looking for is called antitrust. You know, to ensure fair competition that benefits you & I in our free marketplace. Wait until there's only one giant cable company left, you'll be wishing for these current rates. Ahh, the good old days of 200 bucks per month for 110 HD's!

BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
reply to Os

Are they running MPEG-4?



motorola870

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

said by BiggA:

Are they running MPEG-4?

Don't think so. the areas are either 750MHz or 860MHz that are getting 200 HD channels and it looks like they are stacking the systems full QAM wise save for 860MHz areas.

Os

join:2011-01-26
US
reply to BiggA

Cox and Blue Ridge Cablevision in PA are the only cable companies I know of running MPEG-4.



motorola870

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

said by Os:

Cox and Blue Ridge Cablevision in PA are the only cable companies I know of running MPEG-4.

hmm I believe that Cincinnati bell and New Wave Communications do as well but New Wave Communications acquired a company that had MPEG4 in place before they took over those systems that use MPEG4.

Os

join:2011-01-26
US

Cincinnati Bell is IPTV, not cable.


BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
reply to Os

FIOS is running MPEG-4 for a few channels. Not HFC, but regulated as cable nonetheless since it's 256QAM. 200 HD's on MPEG-2 is a lot. That's at least 400mhz of an 860mhz system.



motorola870

join:2008-12-07
Arlington, TX
kudos:3
reply to Os

said by Os:

Cincinnati Bell is IPTV, not cable.

they have some fiber areas that use Cisco boxes that are 8600 series and 4600 series boxes.

»www.cincinnatibell.com/customer_···s/video/

from the looks of Cincinnati Bell is a hybrid company of IPTV over VDSL2 and HFC/FTTH with QAM video for TV channels.

Joe12345678

join:2003-07-22
Des Plaines, IL
reply to BiggA

comcast should dump the XX channel range or have it be locals only (also ok to mirror local RSN there as well)

now comcast does have some analog only areas / small lineup digital SD only areas


BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

You mean dump SD? It wouldn't do a whole lot, and it would cost them a fortune in replacing equipment. If you're talking about analog, they already did that a while back. There is exactly one analog channel, it's the test pattern. Everything else is encrypted digital. Still, a 650mhz system just doesn't have enough bandwidth for everything in MPEG-2. They need to expand the system, and/or go to MPEG-4.



motorola870

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

said by BiggA:

You mean dump SD? It wouldn't do a whole lot, and it would cost them a fortune in replacing equipment. If you're talking about analog, they already did that a while back. There is exactly one analog channel, it's the test pattern. Everything else is encrypted digital. Still, a 650mhz system just doesn't have enough bandwidth for everything in MPEG-2. They need to expand the system, and/or go to MPEG-4.

hmm I don't know about Comcast abandoning traditional QAM for new channels they have demoed using 3 to a QAM Ultra HD channels using MPEG5 (HECV) so it is possible that Comcast could start using MPEG4 for new HD channels. I think Comcast could be reserving 10 QAMs for MPEG4? If they loaded them at 5 HD to a QAM they could easily get 50 HD channels added


SeanWhite

@comcast.net
reply to motorola870

Someone look up xi3 »www.theverge.com/2013/6/11/44188···in-cloud



telcodad

join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:7

said by SeanWhite :

Someone look up xi3

You can find details on the upcoming Xi3 box on this FAQ page: »Comcast Cable TV FAQ »What is X1 and X2?


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

1 edit
reply to Acct101

I think your going to see an eventual transition to the headless home gateway model. An Arris combined cable gateway that does your phone, internet and TV trans-coding / Moca all in one. I think they have m-cards in them and QAM tuners, so if you have all IP boxes, it can still tune and transcode channels that have not been migrated to IP in the interim.

Your future cable boxes will all be IP. They will talk Moca to the gateway. The gateway would be off the first split, just like an eMTA, so it always has the best signal. It would get all your TV signals as requested by the IP cable boxes or X1 platform.

Like how DirecTV uses SWM these days. The box doesn't have to manage a whole swath of 950-2400 MHz anymore. It just opens a swm channel to the single wire multiswitch built into the LNB. This way only whats asked for is sent down the wire.

Similar with Cable, but instead its IP and using MOCA frequencies. Having only one device (the gateway) needing connected to the outside plant means that you could focus all your signal there and maybe achieve the 40db SNR required for 1024QAM if they ever go that route in the future.

Once everything is provisioned IP, its a switched data network on the backend. Channels are just pulled off the video vlan from the CRAN when requested. Meaning a channel can be added or moved nationally. Like DBS a new channel comes out, it can be made available nationwide on the same day.

I think with this model, it can still run on 550/650/750 MHz networks, which is why you don't see them rushing to upgrade. Sure an older amplifier dies, it could be replaced with a newer one- but the whole system is not getting upgraded. Via IP they just need to focus on node sizes and how many CMTS ports are shared across nodes, plus the bandwidth into the CMTS.



camper
Premium
join:2010-03-21
Bethel, CT
kudos:1

 
The IPTV you describe is a few years down the road, at the earliest.

Do you think Comcast will add any more HD channels before then?


BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
reply to motorola870

What are you referring to as "traditional QAM"? Do you mean as opposed to IPTV. QAM is definitely around for the long haul. 3 UHDs in one QAM is a bit of a stretch, but maybe 2 per QAM is realistic, based on what Netflix is able to do. I'm hoping that they take their existing HD's, and move them over to MPEG-4 with 5 per QAM. MPEG-2 for SD, MPEG-4 for HD, and HEVC for UHD would allow far better utilization of system capacity than they have now, along with better services to offer.


BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
reply to cypherstream

With DBS, they still need linear capacity for it, so it's a little different than an IPTV model, where you have unlimited channel capacity. I just don't see the need to move to IPTV. The amount of QAM equipment out there is MASSIVE. Using that new standard for an open gateway to replace CableCard would sure be nice though.

They need to upgrade the plants. They did most of them, and then just sort of fell off the path. They made a stupid move by going to 860mhz as well. They should have pushed to 1ghz, although soon 1.2ghz gear will be available to support D3.1. They have to push up in order to compete with the likes of FIOS and satellite. 860mhz is probably enough though, with D3, MPEG-4 HD's, and the like, they could run 24x3 D3, 200+ HDs, and plenty of packages, all with 256QAM and entirely linear channels.



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

With the Arris gateway, it also supports traditional video and multistream m card. See spec sheet:
»www.ncube.com/product_catalog/_d···UN13.pdf

So I envision this being the go to box in the house where your internet, phone and IP set top boxes get information from. The IP boxes via Moca will get the channels they request from here. If its IP, ok then straight shot via the network. If it hasn't been migrated yet, this Arris box along with its M-Card will tune the QAM and trans-code the video to IP, shoot it back over the coax moca channel where it will be picked up by the IP box.

Even if they want to go to IPTV, they cant do it overnight. It will be like back in the day when ADS was being rolled out. A few channels here and there may be "simulcast" in the new format. They can't ever ditch regular video QAM's untill the billions of QAM boxes are removed. Which I don't see them ever "ditching" it due to the recent vast investment in DTA's. However newer HD may be delivered IP only. Who knows at this point.

Whats nice is that Arris gateway is 1 GHz wideband capture tuner, so it basically locks onto the entire plant and it can selectively pick and choose what it wants to narrow in on. Not like a DVR where you have 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. physical tuners that tune in a specific 6 MHz chunk of RF at a time.


BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

I don't think QAM is going anywhere on the network side. It just doesn't make sense to use IP multicast when you can just have linear QAM channels. They have so much farther that they can push QAM, thus I don't see IP coming for a decade or more, if even then. They still haven't done MPEG-4, and they haven't built all the systems out to 860mhz or higher. Those changes will allow them to be over 200 HD's, have tons of internet bandwidth, and will delay the use of any IP-based technology outside of the home. The gateway tuner concept could come around though, as it allows the network to be compatible with regular QAM boxes, but gives the customers who opt for it the IP experience in their house. A 12-tuner gateway would be pretty cool.

A transition would also be really, really hard, as you have to open space up for the IP streaming before you can shut down the QAM channels, and even moving to MPEG-4 and 860mhz, they just don't have THAT much space. You'd have to have hybrid equipment out there for a decade or more before you could actually convert.

What I could see is a few sports packages being only offered in HD only through the X1 platform, with streaming over DOCSIS, although at that point, it probably would make more sense to start deploying some SDV QAMs for sports packages only, and keeping everything else linear. SDV integrates nicely with existing equipment, while IP doesn't for the most part.



motorola870

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

said by BiggA:

I don't think QAM is going anywhere on the network side. It just doesn't make sense to use IP multicast when you can just have linear QAM channels. They have so much farther that they can push QAM, thus I don't see IP coming for a decade or more, if even then. They still haven't done MPEG-4, and they haven't built all the systems out to 860mhz or higher. Those changes will allow them to be over 200 HD's, have tons of internet bandwidth, and will delay the use of any IP-based technology outside of the home. The gateway tuner concept could come around though, as it allows the network to be compatible with regular QAM boxes, but gives the customers who opt for it the IP experience in their house. A 12-tuner gateway would be pretty cool.

A transition would also be really, really hard, as you have to open space up for the IP streaming before you can shut down the QAM channels, and even moving to MPEG-4 and 860mhz, they just don't have THAT much space. You'd have to have hybrid equipment out there for a decade or more before you could actually convert.

What I could see is a few sports packages being only offered in HD only through the X1 platform, with streaming over DOCSIS, although at that point, it probably would make more sense to start deploying some SDV QAMs for sports packages only, and keeping everything else linear. SDV integrates nicely with existing equipment, while IP doesn't for the most part.

I am really surprised that Comcast hasn't figured out how to do IP network communications using the internet for two-way communications for devices such as Tivo as most of the cable card devices are connected to the internet and they could make it to where Internet capable devices could use either a tuning adapter or just use a dedicated communications tunnel over DOCSIS via the ethernet port. I mean DOCSIS based SDV tuning is already active on TWC as they use traditional QAMs for SDV channels but the newest boxes use the DOCSIS modem to request the SDV channel


telcodad

join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:7

1 edit
reply to cypherstream

said by cypherstream:

Even if they want to go to IPTV, they cant do it overnight. It will be like back in the day when ADS was being rolled out. A few channels here and there may be "simulcast" in the new format. They can't ever ditch regular video QAM's untill the billions of QAM boxes are removed. Which I don't see them ever "ditching" it due to the recent vast investment in DTA's. However newer HD may be delivered IP only. Who knows at this point.

This sounds like what Buckeye CableSystems is proposing to do according to this article on the MCN site today:

Buckeye Cablevision Seeks FCC Waiver For Hybrid Set-Top Box
Wants QAM/IP Combo To Serve As ‘Linchpin’ Of All-IP Transition

By Jeff Baumgartner, Multichannel News - March 6, 2014
»www.multichannel.com/distributio···x/148711
quote:
Buckeye Cablevision, which sells services under the Buckeye CableSystem brand, appears to be the first U.S. cable operator to seek a special waiver from the FCC that would pave the way for the MSO to deploy a new QAM/IP hybrid set-top box that uses both integrated security and a downloadable form.

Buckeye, an Ohio-based MSO with 130,000 video subscribers, argued in a waiver request filed Monday (March 3) that the proposed hybrid device ... would accelerate its all-IP migration plan and eliminate the need to execute a “flash cut” that would require a massive upfront investment.
 
This is also what JeepMatt See Profile has already theorized what Comcast is doing with its X1 platform: »Re: [Content] So does Comcast ever add channels?


motorola870

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

said by telcodad:

said by cypherstream:

Even if they want to go to IPTV, they cant do it overnight. It will be like back in the day when ADS was being rolled out. A few channels here and there may be "simulcast" in the new format. They can't ever ditch regular video QAM's untill the billions of QAM boxes are removed. Which I don't see them ever "ditching" it due to the recent vast investment in DTA's. However newer HD may be delivered IP only. Who knows at this point.

This sounds like what Buckeye CableSystems is proposing to do according to this article on the MCN site today:

Buckeye Cablevision Seeks FCC Waiver For Hybrid Set-Top Box
Wants QAM/IP Combo To Serve As ‘Linchpin’ Of All-IP Transition

By Jeff Baumgartner, Multichannel News - March 6, 2014
»www.multichannel.com/distributio···x/148711
quote:
Buckeye Cablevision, which sells services under the Buckeye CableSystem brand, appears to be the first U.S. cable operator to seek a special waiver from the FCC that would pave the way for the MSO to deploy a new QAM/IP hybrid set-top box that uses both integrated security and a downloadable form.

Buckeye, an Ohio-based MSO with 130,000 video subscribers, argued in a waiver request filed Monday (March 3) that the proposed hybrid device ... would accelerate its all-IP migration plan and eliminate the need to execute a “flash cut” that would require a massive upfront investment.
 
This is also what JeepMatt See Profile has already theorized what Comcast is doing with its X1 platform: »Re: [Content] So does Comcast ever add channels?

seems like an oxymoron they say they want to keep supporting cable card devices but what happens when they don't support IPTV? It is going to be more pain than it is worth for Buckeye to do an IPTV transition too quickly as they plan. There could be a chance the FCC swats the proposal down to due to third party devices not having full support for IP. Looks like Buckeye may be getting a little to quick in judgement? They still have analog cable so there is the bandwidth they need for new internet services and it looks like full IP isn't even needed as they have SDV in use and are 860MHz they would be better off doing an MPEG4 transition instead of IPTV.

GTFan

join:2004-12-03
reply to motorola870

said by motorola870:

I am really surprised that Comcast hasn't figured out how to do IP network communications using the internet for two-way communications for devices such as Tivo as most of the cable card devices are connected to the internet and they could make it to where Internet capable devices could use either a tuning adapter or just use a dedicated communications tunnel over DOCSIS via the ethernet port. I mean DOCSIS based SDV tuning is already active on TWC as they use traditional QAMs for SDV channels but the newest boxes use the DOCSIS modem to request the SDV channel

They have, it's how the Comcast VOD app works on Tivo - IP up to the headend to select/nav a stream then send it down a QAM to the box. No native IP delivery to the box though, it's still the old school tune a channel to get your VOD stuff. Also no need to go out over the internet, it's all in Comcast's network.


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

said by GTFan:

They have, it's how the Comcast VOD app works on Tivo - IP up to the headend to select/nav a stream then send it down a QAM to the box. No native IP delivery to the box though, it's still the old school tune a channel to get your VOD stuff. Also no need to go out over the internet, it's all in Comcast's network.

Thats exactly how SDV should work. IP to the headend to request the channel, then the headend tells you which QAM to look for the channel on.

Why are operators fumbling with tuning adapters when IP could accomplish it. A PC speaks IP natively, so even Windows Media Center with a small driver or app should be able to do the same thing.

BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
reply to GTFan

Exactly. And this system could support SDV.