Parks Associates Blog

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Comcast CES Keynote Highlights

Amongst Bill Gates' funny video, CES President Gary Shapiro's advocate for free trade, Intel Paul Otellini's showcase of mobile broadband communication across the continents, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts' keynote at CES on Jan. 8th stood out to be the most informative as it touched many facets of the telecom and entertainment businesses and also the hippest as it shows how Comcast is right on track to provide content to users whenever and wherever they go. This entry provides highlights of his 70-minute long presentation.

In our recent report U.S. Broadband Update 2007, we explained how telcos are making inroads and stealing away cablecos' premium customers by deep fiber deployments. We also noted in the report that cable MSOs are not sitting still. For example, Comcast's CAPEX increased 24% in 2007; a slew of new technologies are developed by CableLab to enable higher speeds and better services. From CES keynote, it is obvious that Comcast does have a lot on its plate and the plans are ambitious. They can be summed up in three themes: 1) ultra-fast broadband will be deployed before telcos' fiber get there; 2) content is not "king enough" unless customers can get it on their own terms. Comcast is making content accessible across TV, PC and CE devices; Tru2way, the new Fancast and VoD are all part of this large picture; 3) plenty of HD content will be provided soon.

It looks like cable industry has shifted to higher gears and 2008 will sure test its capability of retaining and attracting customers.


Keynote Highlights
1, Comcast's position as the No.1 multi-service provider in the US.
  • Fact: It has nearly 25 million video customers, over 15 million of those taking digital video services. It is No.1 provider of residential high-speed Internet services with more than 13 million customers. It is the fourth largest, and fastest growing, residential phone company.
2, Open cable platform is re-branded Tru2way™.
  • Benefits for consumers: when a consumer buys a device built with tru2way technology, they can bring it home, plug it in, and it will support ALL interactive two-way cable services. It's simple and easy. For many consumers, a tru2way device can mean no more cable set-top box.
  • Benefits for manufacturers: tru2way means that cable now offers an open platform for innovation. It's Java-based with open APIs.
  • Who are in the camp: Panasonic, Samsung, Intel, Cisco, LG, Microsoft, Motorola, TiVo, Sun Microsystems. Cable is working together with Microsoft and others in the PC industry to enable tru2way on future Windows Media Center PCs. This will let end users receive all cable services through their Media Center PCs without a separate set-top box.
  • Panasonic has the first portable DVR/DVD combination available to consumers with tru2way capability, which is called AnyPlay portable DVR-DVD.
3, Video On Demand
  • Comcast is now the largest provider of On Demand television programming in the world. Only digital cable customers get this service, which means 15 million of its 25 million cable homes can get the service now. And 90% of their On Demand content is available at no additional charge. Now they have 275 million views a month.
  • In 2008-2009, they will increase the VoD offerings to 1,500 choices.
  • By the end of 2008, they will begin to roll out a new system architecture that will enable them to offer 6,000 movies to its customers every month, half of which will be HD.
4, HD content
  • They will put over 1,000 HD choices in virtually every Comcast HD home by the end of 2008.
  • HD movie download will come to Fancast website soon.
5, Convergence
  • Two initiatives. First, they will be offering Caller ID to the TV, so users can see who’s calling without reaching for the phone. Secondly, they will provide integrated voicemail + email messaging on the Web, a feature dubbed SmartZone.
6, Fancast
  • Now it makes personalized recommendations.
  • The "find-it" feature takes users to downloads from stores like iTunes and Amazon, or rent DVDs from Netflix.
  • Upcoming DVR feature in Fancast which can send instruction to the DVR to record video programs. Then users can watch it whenever they want, acting like the ultimate global remote control.
  • It can also send e-mail reminders to those who don't have DVRs. And for users who are not Comcast cable customers, Comcast is planning to offer the remote DVR feature to other cable operators.
7, DOCSIS 3.0
  • This technology can enable Comcast to deliver speeds of up to 100 Mbps over the next two years.
  • By the end of 2008, DOCSIS 3.0 will be rolled out in front of millions of homes in Comcast service areas.
  • They will maintain the edge in bandwidth as no competitors by then will have such speeds in front of so many homes.

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1 Comments:

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6:02 AM  

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