Canadians appreciate Arris’ Moxi
TORONTO – Borrowing an event from CableLabs, the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers held an Innovation Showcase at its Canadian Summit here, and the product voted most likely to succeed was the Moxi home media gateway from Arris.
Arris focused on the navigation capabilities of the Moxi box. Once subscribers have multiple sources of information, including the cable company, over-the-top providers and their own PCs (or other devices), how can they navigate through all of that?
The Moxi guide provides “filters” – sources and categories of content that scroll by on the horizontal. These categories can include cable channels (or sets of cable channels), VOD content and other products delivered directly by an MSO, and then also content from other sources. That can include video, sports, weather or other applications from the Web, as well as photos and music resident on a subscriber’s PC brought in through the home network.
The demo showed how once a subscriber chooses one of those filters, options within that filter (e.g., a list of the cable channels, a list of available VOD content, a list of video sources on the Web) come up on the vertical, and subs can scroll through on the vertical.
“The Moxi HD DVR and Moxi Mate products provide a very compelling solution for cable operators,” said Steve Irvine, vice president of technology for EastLink Cable Systems and the contact for the Innovation Showcase. “Providing MSOs with the ability to convert SD and HD broadcast video to IP within the home, and to offer whole-home DVR, remote recording, access to online content and an award-winning guide, makes the Moxi solution a very attractive prospect.”
The other four participants were Kindsight, Motorola, Sandvine and Vecima.
Motorola demonstrated its Transport Media Gateway, a hybrid box designed to be a single point of QAM termination in cable subscribers’ homes, bringing together not only video and data, but also providing a bridge to other devices in subscribers’ homes, networking in those other devices.
The box integrates a single wideband tuner for data and four narrowband tuners for video, as well as four Gigabit Ethernet ports and an 802.11n Wi-Fi port. It also includes what Motorola called a “Wi-Fi-pairing button,” a means of letting the device recognize and talk to other devices in the home.
With its mix of tuners, the current box is essentially a hybrid box, but the mix of tuners can be changed to support all-IP services. Other options include USB 2.0 ports and the choice of an internal SATA memory device and/or a port for external SATA (e-SATA).
Kindsight is an Alcatel-Lucent company that developed a new Internet security product that operators can offer to their customers. The product detects increasingly common Trojans that anti-virus software typically misses.
Anti-virus software fails when a subscriber is tricked into approving a Trojan masquerading as an innocuous executable – the example was the Shark program, said to be readily available on the Internet for anyone to download. The demo showed how, using Shark, anybody can get full access to subscribers’ computers, allowing them to steal passwords and other sensitive data.
Kindsight sits on the network and detects this information. Cable operators could charge a fee for the service – the suggestion was $3.95 per month. Alternately, the operator could offer the service for free, and if a subscriber chooses to opt in, perhaps they are allowed to do so in exchange for allowing the operator to evaluate usage data – data that could be used for targeted advertising.
Sandvine showed the ability to monitor subscriber bandwidth usage, give subscribers access to that data, and also give them the option to buy more bandwidth beyond their monthly allotments.
During the demonstration, Sandvine showed how an operator could put policies in place to automatically, in real time, drop a subscriber’s connection speeds the moment that subscriber exceeded his or her bandwidth allotment.
Vecima showed a product called Terrace, described as a headend in a box, specifically for customers in MDUs, including hospitals and hotels.
The Terrace integrates multiple M-Cards that would take in a feed from a single QAM and decrypt them for the entire site, so each room at the customer site would not require its own separate set-top box. The company estimated that it can cut the cost of providing service to such a property by as much as six to seven times.