[opendtv] Re: Punching Above Its Weight, Upstart Netflix Pokes at HBO - NYTimes.com

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2014 10:19:28 -0500

On Feb 23, 2014, at 8:43 PM, "John Shutt" <shuttj@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> What I was saying, Craig, is that no new STB is necessary to deliver Netflix 
> through Comcast's walled garden.  All of the translations would occur 
> upstream from the STB.  All the STB would see it yet another VOD title.

In the case of Comcast this is true, as they have been moving VOD to the IP 
side of their plant since 2008. As you say, this would just be a software 
update, especially for their X-1 box. 

An interesting comment from the Comcast guy on the Streaming Media Panel. He 
said it could take a year, to a year and a half to implement a software update 
on a traditional STB, which I presume includes the hybrid box you are using. 
Then he said that they have downloaded more than 4000 updates to the X -1 STB 
in the past year; "your user experience gets better every day!"

> So then I guess we are in agreement.  Your original post made it sound as if 
> Time Warner had to deploy new hardware to the home in order to integrate 
> Netflix or other OTT service, which certainly isn't the case.  They will have 
> to deploy new hardware, but at their server farms.

Yes we are in general agreement. To the best of my knowledge, TW gas not 
deployed STBs that are IP capable, with a decoder that can handle h.264.

This article from last August states that TW has not deployed IP capable STBs, 
but they had joined with other MSOs to work together on a Reference Design Kit, 
originally developed by Comcast.


So yes, TW does need to deploy both IP capable STBs and the edge servers needed 
to feed them. Comcast is a bit further ahead, but even you will need to upgrade 
to the X-1 or X-2 to take full advantage of the new hybrid service.

The timing of the Comcast/TW merger is interesting, in that Comcast should have 
several million X-1 boxes in service by the time the FCC and FTC can decide on 
the merger. If they decide Comcast will have too much power and require them to 
open up the network to third party STBs, they will already have a sizable 
installed base. But unbundling of the STB would still be a huge win for the 

AT&T still makes wireline phones....


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