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Comcast deploys HD DTAs, ponders TR-069

Wed, 12/19/2012 - 1:09pm
Mike Robuck

Comcast has started a phased deployment of HD digital transport adapters (HD DTAs) in subscribers’ homes ahead of ultimately having the devices across its entire footprint.

Back in August, Comcast’s Steve Reynolds, senior vice president of CPE and home networking, said the cable operator was in the process of wrapping up a large-scale trial of HD DTAs prior to deploying them in customers’ homes this year.

Reynolds said then that the HD DTAs represented the last piece of its analog-to-digital conversion, which is known internally as “Project Cavalry.” Comcast expects to have the all-digital project wrapped up by the end of next year, which includes the rollout of HD DTAs from vendors such as Pace, Technicolor, Motorola and Evolution Digital. (Evolution Digital’s wall-mounted HD DTA is also attractive to cable operators because it cuts down on theft.)

HD DTAs allow customers to access HD signals without the frills of VOD, pay-per-view or more expensive equipment in the home. By using an HDMI connection, customers can opt for an analog-type viewing experience on their new HDTVs through the use of HD DTAs. In addition to providing a low-cost HD service for subscribers, HD DTAs are also ideal for hospitality, multi-dwelling units, fitness centers, and bar and restaurant deployments.

Comcast spokeswoman Jenni Moyer confirmed that the HD DTA deployments were underway but didn’t provide any additional details.

Moyer also confirmed that Comcast was looking at the TR-069 standard, which is also known as the CPE WAN Management Protocol. Comcast hasn’t deployed TR-069, but, like a lot of other cable operators, it is moving toward it for remote configuration and management of devices.

TR-069 is a standard built around providing better visibility into a home network environment. In order to build troubleshooting apps, the cable industry and its vendors need to align themselves with standards, such as the emerging TR-069. With home networks becoming more complex, tools need to be developed to provide remote status and diagnostics, as well as provide field forces and customer service reps with the information to efficiently diagnose and repair issues. (For more on TR-069, check out CableLabs senior OSS engineer Eduardo Cardona’s presentation and paper from the SCTE Digital Home Symposium.)

The Broadband Forum has developed a TR-069 certification program, which is handled by the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL). The Broadband Forum provides a list of TR-069-certified products.

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