dslreports logo
site
 
    All Forums Hot Topics Gallery
spc

spacer




how-to block ads


Search Topic:
uniqs
11962
share rss forum feed


JeepMatt
C'mon the U
Premium
join:2001-12-28
Wilmington, DE
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
·Comcast

1 edit

[HD] FIOS Moving to MPEG-4 HD

I've known this for some time, but FIOS officially alerted their customers this week that they are migrating existing HD channels (and adding new ones) in MPEG-4 format only. This will allow for a nice HD addition for our friends at Verizon (4 HD's to a QAM)

As a result, customers that had some older STB's that can't decode that format need to exchange them for new ones.

Anyone know if Comcast is planning something similar? I am continually told more HD is coming this year - but never can get much more than that.

Based on the fact there are now 60-70 HD channels Comcast doesn't provide - there's quite a bit of room to grow.



mikedz4

join:2003-04-14
Weirton, WV

they'll just compress the hd even more unless they haven't encrypted all analog yet.


GTFan

join:2004-12-03

Comcast just freed up a ton of bandwidth by retiring the analog channels, so they probably don't feel the need to pay for upgrading all those 64xx DVRs etc. still out there. I'm sure they'll move to mpeg4 eventually but don't think they're feeling a crunch now.



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

The only cable operator I know that is using MPEG4 is Blue Ridge Cable. They are using it for all the secondary screens of HD channels of HBO, CineMax, Showtime and Starz.

If you do not have an MPEG4 compatible HD set top, you get an on screen message telling you to swap it out. They are using SDV, MPEG4, and I believe up to 1 GHz to add the additional HD screens. I think its MPEG4 because a user with a WMC + Ceton card setup said that when tuning one of those channels, Media Center prompted to download additional codecs. Once downloaded the channels were viewable.

More cable operators should take advantage of MPEG4 and even consider layering it with other technologies (SDV / 870-1000 MHz band). Might as well be efficient.

Here is what they are able to offer with MPEG4+SDV along with a resonable 55+ channel analog lineup.

550 HBO 2 HD (HBO required)
551 HBO Signature HD (HBO required)
552 HBO Family HD (HBO required)
553 HBO Comedy HD (HBO required)
553 HBO Comedy HD (HBO required)
554 HBO Latino HD (HBO required)
555 HBO Zone HD (HBO required)
556 WMax HD (Cinemax required)
557 MoreMax HD (Cinemax required)
558 ActionMAX (Cinemax required)
559 ThrillerMAX HD (Cinemax required)
560 @MAX HD (Cinemax required)
561 5 StarMAX (Cinemax required)
562 OuterMAX (Cinemax required)
565 Showtime 2 HD (SHO required)
566 Showcase HD (SHO required)
567 Showtime Extreme HD (SHO required)
568 Showtime Beyond HD (SHO required)
569 Showtime Next HD (SHO required)
570 Showtime Women HD (SHO required)
571 The Movie Channel HD (TMC required)
572 The Movie Channel Xtra HD (TMC required)
575 Starz Edge HD (Starz required)
576 Starz in Black HD (Starz required)
577 Starz Kids & Family HD (Starz required)
578 Starz Cinema HD (Starz required)
579 Starz Comedy HD (Starz required)
580 Encore HD (Starz required)
581 Encore Drama HD (Starz required)
582 Encore Action HD (Starz required)

The bandwidth savings are there. Proof is in the pudding. The system doesn't even require DTA's. Think of how much MORE room Comcast would have since they are all digital now.

Os

join:2011-01-26
US
reply to JeepMatt

Cox has a lot of MPEG-4 HD. The Plus Package channels have been MPEG-4 from the start, and the channels 1100 and up (HD channels of digital cable channels) are going to be moved to MPEG-4 this year in many markets.

Comcast just doesn't seem to be interested in adding new HD channels.


SpHeRe31459

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

4 edits
reply to JeepMatt

HBO's feed is actually delivered in MPEG4-AVC and has been since 2008. »www.engadget.com/2007/06/22/hbo-···it-rate/
So it's being transcoded back to MPEG2 for legacy sake by MSOs.

While I understand some reluctance to move to MPEG4 on cable TV providers part, I've never understood why they didn't phase it in over time. The sat providers both did (though out of necessity since they don't have any analog reclamation to get back bandwidth). Why not do what Dish did? start using MPEG4 for new HD channels and then slowly start converting all HD channels to MPEG4. Since the concern is with legacy receivers that don't do MPEG4, those are usually going to SD-only anyway.

So phase in MPEG4 by transitioning HD channels to it, especially when channels like HBO are actually delivered to Comcast in it.

Unlike sat, all boxes are rented anyway, so it's not even a cost to the end-user to swap a box for a newer one. So they'd just phase in newer boxes for HD HBO subs, then other channels, etc.

----------------

All Moto DCX models, Cisco 86xx and 164x models and recent Pace boxes all decode MPEG4 (i.e. anything that Comcast re-labels as an RNG box).


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

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.


SpHeRe31459

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

4 edits

Well yeah, but notice many other TV providers have taken the hit... Of course, none are as big as Comcast.

Again it would be something Comcast would do in phases, their corporate accounting wizards I'm sure could come up with a plan to write off most of the costs in phasing out the cable boxes as some kind of business "change management" expense over multiple years.

If they had started this process back when HBO started delivering MPEG4 natively, they could have a significant footprint of MPEG4 ready STBs.
While not explicitly the reason for it, they already do have a pretty large footprint of MPEG4 STBs, since anything labeled "RNG" supports it. For example in January there was a PR that said there already 8 million RNG150's in the field (that would include both the Cisco branded RNG150/150N and the Motorola DCX3200M/P2 rebranded as RNG150N), it does not include the new Pace RNG150N that is being deployed in extra rooms with the X1 DVR (as that's partially what the PR was about). That also doesn't include the RNG200 level (i.e. Cisco RNG200N and Motorola DCX 3400/3501's) DVRs, nor the Pace RNG 110's out there.


BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
reply to JeepMatt

I hope they do... I just hope they go to 4 HD's per QAM, not 6. The whole 3 MPEG-2 HD's per QAM is ridiculous, and results in terrible PQ in some instances. With upwards of 70 HD's on the system right now, if they went to 4 per QAM, they would gain 20-25 more HD's, which would be a good thing for sure. Knowing Comcast, they would put 5 or 6 per QAM though.

They have a lot of MPEG-4 boxes out there, and they need to move on some day.



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

You could do 5 HD's in MPEG4. 7.76 Mbps is enough with today's advancement in encoder technology. Not all channels are demanding peak rates at the same time anyway. You just carefully choose which services coexist on one frequency.


GTFan

join:2004-12-03
reply to andyross

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.


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

One often overlooked pro of going MPEG4 is much better use of DVR storage. You certainly can hold a lot more recordings in MPEG4 vs MPEG2 in the same amount of space. This goes for today's traditional DVR or the futures Cloud based DVR.


SpHeRe31459

join:2002-10-09
Sacramento, CA
kudos:2
reply to GTFan

said by GTFan:

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.

You hit the nail on the head. They've stopped adding HD channels, at least here is Northern California. Ironically, they in fact removed HD channels about a year after the final analog reclamation process went through. I've seen reports of this happening all over Comcast's areas. They removed all alternate feeds of premiums (west vs. east, etc) and basically only kept the main channel and removed secondary premium channels and extra timezone feeds.

Moving to MPEG4 would mean MORE channels for customers, not less. But that's Comcast's typical modus operandi.... Give them a little but not a lot more...

Comcast seems to think they can remove those extra HD linear channels because of their OnDemand offerings for the same channels. Which as we know is not equivalent for multiple reasons.


telcodad

join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:5
reply to SpHeRe31459

said by SpHeRe31459:

All Moto DCX models, Cisco 86xx and 164x models and recent Pace boxes all decode MPEG4 (i.e. anything that Comcast re-labels as an RNG box).

And the new HD-DTA that Comcast is starting to deploy now can decode MPEG-4 also (»www.motorola.com/staticfiles/Vid···2011.pdf).

SpHeRe31459

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

said by telcodad:

said by SpHeRe31459:

All Moto DCX models, Cisco 86xx and 164x models and recent Pace boxes all decode MPEG4 (i.e. anything that Comcast re-labels as an RNG box).

And the new HD-DTA that Comcast is starting to deploy now can decode MPEG-4 also (»www.motorola.com/staticfiles/Vid···2011.pdf).

Oh yeah forgot about that new guy. And there's the new Evolution fellas too.
»www.evolutionbb.com/cable/Univer···495.html
»www.evolutionbb.com/cable/HD-uDT···521.html

Love that wall plate Evolution HD DTA! Is Comcast using that anywhere yet?

Basically any new cable TV product would decode MPEG4, after all any SoC that powers cable boxes has MPEG4 decoding built in. And if any equipment vendor wants to sell their products to other MSOs that use MPEG4 it had better have MPEG4 decoding.

BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
reply to SpHeRe31459

Yeah, they will eventually figure it out though. For a while, Comcast was advertising "1,000 HD Choices" when they had basically locals, ESPN, HBO, and HD Theater in HD, while DirecTV was pushing over 100 HD's, so they do like to tout VOD. However, hopefully the competition will force them to push more. With FIOS going MPEG-4, they will have incredible capacity, and U-Verse, while fundamentally crippled, does't have channels in the first place, so they can carry as many streams as they want. Not to mention satellite which has quite a bit of HD.



Streetlight

join:2005-11-07
Colorado Springs, CO
reply to GTFan

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.
--
There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.

Sherlock Holmes in
The Boscombe Valley Mystery
A. C. Doyle
Strand Magazine, October 1891

SpHeRe31459

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

said by Streetlight:

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.

Yes that's exactly what I referring to in my post a few posts up, it's pretty ridiculous!


Streetlight

join:2005-11-07
Colorado Springs, CO

said by SpHeRe31459:

said by Streetlight:

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.

Yes that's exactly what I referring to in my post a few posts up, it's pretty ridiculous!

We're absolutely on the same page here. I think I missed your post, but I think I gave some more perspective on it.

In addition I have not been sure whether converting to MPEG4 delivery of content could be done with a software firmware update on older boxes or it needs completely new hardware. It seems from reading this thread that a System on a Chip (SoC) is required or at least the best way to accomplish this. Do the new X1 boxes have this built in? They're apparently testing them here in Colorado Springs, but I certainly haven't been approached. It also seems CC is handing them out to folks who have triple play, and I just have Cable TV and HSI.
--
There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.

Sherlock Holmes in
The Boscombe Valley Mystery
A. C. Doyle
Strand Magazine, October 1891

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

The Motorola DCX series, and I'd assume any box released within the past year or two, supports MPEG4 natively in hardware. It may be possible to add MPEG4 to older boxes, but it might require running in software, which may be too much for most. Maybe a non-DVR DCH could do it, but the extra overhead of DVR or older models would probably choke it.


SpHeRe31459

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

4 edits

said by andyross:

The Motorola DCX series, and I'd assume any box released within the past year or two, supports MPEG4 natively in hardware. It may be possible to add MPEG4 to older boxes, but it might require running in software, which may be too much for most. Maybe a non-DVR DCH could do it, but the extra overhead of DVR or older models would probably choke it.

Yes as I mentioned a few posts back in this thread, anything Comcast calls an "RNG" decodes MPEG4 (this includes the Moto DCX series). And the new (not being used by Comcast just yet) HD DTAs do too.
»Re: [HD] FIOS Moving to MPEG-4 HD

And no, there is no way to add it the older boxes, the boxes have very limited CPU resources as-is, they rely on dedicated video decoding silicon. So they're stuck the way they are.
That's why Comcast made the "RNG" specifications to tell their cable box vendors (Cisco, Motorola and Pace) what minimum specs for future proofing must be. All the boxes that are labeled RNG by Comcast will eventually get the X1 Guide software ported over to them.

SpHeRe31459

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

4 edits
reply to Streetlight

said by Streetlight:

It seems from reading this thread that a System on a Chip (SoC) is required or at least the best way to accomplish this. Do the new X1 boxes have this built in? They're apparently testing them here in Colorado Springs, but I certainly haven't been approached. It also seems CC is handing them out to folks who have triple play, and I just have Cable TV and HSI.

FYI: SoC is a term for a highly integrated processing solution, it combines what in years past would be separate chips to make a system (in this case a cable box). Hence the term system on a chip.

For example: the set-top box oriented SoC solutions from Broadcom integrate: a low power general purpose CPU, video and audio processing/decoding, a SATA interface for a hard drive (DVR), and all common audio/video output circuitry (HDMI, component, composite, stereo audio), and more.

And yes the X1 DVR has state-of-the-art stuff under the hood.

Comcast isn't deploying anything new that does not decode MPEG4. All the semiconductor companies making the chips (SoC) that power the cable boxes all have MPEG4 decoding built-in now.


LeeDeMarco

@comcast.net
reply to GTFan

said by GTFan:

Comcast just freed up a ton of bandwidth by retiring the analog channels, so they probably don't feel the need to pay for upgrading all those 64xx DVRs etc. still out there. I'm sure they'll move to mpeg4 eventually but don't think they're feeling a crunch now.

I'm more afraid that Comcast will go the switched digital video route rather then go the MPEG4 route. Would be interesting if they go the route of raising the frequencies from the 700MHz range to the 2GHz range.

I'd love to find out if TiVo and other customer owned equipment can support this MPEG4 format.


Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Comcast

2 edits
reply to Streetlight

I agree that the Cisco and Motorola RNG and DCX set top equipment support MPEG4 codec. I'm curious if TiVo supports MPEG4 as well and if it is capable of supporting the full range of its HD feed or if it’s limited. Also wondering why H264 isn't being used.
I have no problem with older equipment being mandatorily replaced to support MPEG4; after all it's the provider's property so for a customer it's a simple swap without having to purchase anything. Hooray for a free upgrade.


ajwees41
Premium
join:2002-05-10
Omaha, NE
reply to LeeDeMarco

cox is doing both mpeg 4 and going to be doing SDV in my area, so why couldn't comcast?

Yes the Tivo premiere and newer support mpeg 4.


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

said by LeeDeMarco :

I'm more afraid that Comcast will go the switched digital video route rather then go the MPEG4 route. Would be interesting if they go the route of raising the frequencies from the 700MHz range to the 2GHz range.

2GHz would be a real stretch. Most currently produced equipment supports up to 1GHz, although I don't think many areas really support that yet. Generally, the 850MHz-1GHz seems to be mainly used for in-home MoCa stuff, with a filter used to block it from leaking back into the system.


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

Apparently only Tivo Series 4 support MPEG4 in the U.S. Everything earlies is SOL: »List of CableCARD equipment MPEG-4 support status

None of the Tivos support 2 Ghz, nor do any of the cable boxes, modems, splitters, amplifiers, etc. There's ZERO chance Comcast would go to 2 Ghz of spectrum, since nothing they have supports it.

Why the reluctance for Comcast to use SDV? TWC, Cox, and Charter all use it to great benefit. More Comcast gear supports SDV, than MPEG4...
--
Two is one, one is none. If it's important, back it up... Somethimes 99.999% availability isn't even good enough.



motorola870

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

said by andyross:

said by LeeDeMarco :

I'm more afraid that Comcast will go the switched digital video route rather then go the MPEG4 route. Would be interesting if they go the route of raising the frequencies from the 700MHz range to the 2GHz range.

2GHz would be a real stretch. Most currently produced equipment supports up to 1GHz, although I don't think many areas really support that yet. Generally, the 850MHz-1GHz seems to be mainly used for in-home MoCa stuff, with a filter used to block it from leaking back into the system.

moca uses bandwidth near the 1.5GHz range not in between 860MHz to 1GHz which is reserved for future use as TV or internet channels on cable.


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

MOCA bands A, B, and C use frequencies between 850 and 1000 MHz. MOCA band D is above 1000 MHz.

»www.mocalliance.org/ANGA/files/M···MoCA.pdf



Mike Wolf

join:2009-05-24
Beachwood, NJ
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 edit
reply to ajwees41

SDV is the thorn in everyone's backside. It's aggravating, well loathed, and unnecessary. It's literally one of the reasons why I'll only live in a Comcast serviced area.
Anyway I brought the question up about MPEG4 and the Premiere because of this thread I came across with people having issues with Cox. »www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/sh···t=458185