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

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

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.


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.

BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

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.


Mike Wolf

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

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.



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..."