Social TVoip Has Arrived: Comcast's Xfinity HD Video Calling Solution Enables Video Chatting While Viewing TV

written by: Richard Kastelein

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Last week, Comcast rolled out its consumer widescreen High-Definition (HD) video calling experience made possible through advanced technology provided by Technicolor , a worldwide technology leader in the media and entertainment sector and Entropic Communications , a world leader in semiconductor solutions for the connected home. Technicolor provided the custom-developed adapter, powered by Entropic's integrated broadcast system-on-a-chip (SoC) solutions, to give Xfinity customers an interactive video calling experience – making video or audio calls with friends and family while watching the same TV program simultaneously – over their existing set-top box, TV or wireless LAN network.

"There is a large and growing market for interactive applications over broadcast TV," said Jason Blackwell, director, Service Provider Strategies, Digital Consumer Practice at Strategy Analytics. "Technicolor and Entropic's video chat over live TV solution represents one of the first in a new wave of Social TV applications that will drive operator services and increases in ARPU (Average Revenue per User) with triple-play services."

Comcast's experience delivers an unparalleled two-way video communications dialogue over a live broadcast stream. The Technicolor 720p HD telepresence adapter leverages the media processing power and performance from Entropic's ARM(R) Cortex(TM)-A9 CPU (PNX8471) of SoC solutions. This solution showcases Entropic's innovation to integrate a new value-added service, a HD video call, on its platform by augmenting a web-enabled technology with traditional broadcast. Specifically, Entropic's client-based SoC technologies act as a HDMI pass-through that connects to a live event (the HD video conference) from a remote connection (the cloud); affording Comcast the ability to have video as an overlay on top of its TV content, or as a picture-in-picture.

"We selected the Technicolor and Entropic solution because their joint vision and ability to execute proved valuable in allowing us to integrate new digital services, like video conferencing, into our traditional service packages," said Steve Reynolds, senior vice president of Premise Technology for Comcast. "The device developed by Technicolor uses the advanced capabilities of Entropic's ARM-based SoC to enable us to quickly develop and deploy new video-centric applications."

"Comcast is at the forefront of mass adoption of video services," said Barbara Bessolo, senior vice president of Technicolor's Set-top Box Division. "We have been working with our long-term partner, Entropic, to deliver a powerful telepresence experience that uses advancements in HDMI pass-through technology to overlay the remote video with a local preview while watching Comcast's TV service."

"Social TV has arrived, and we are proud to have worked with Technicolor and our ecosystem partners to drive a movement to where video chat over live TV exists," said Mark Samuel, senior vice president, Set-top Box Group, Entropic Communications. "We combined the best of broadcast with broadband technologies to enable Comcast to securely deliver high-quality HD video calls with superior picture quality."

Key Technical Features:

– The Technicolor adapter includes an HDMI input and output, Gigabit Ethernet, WiFi, RF4CE (Radio Frequency for Consumer Electronics) control, external USB and SD card slot, and an integrated external camera and microphone. – Entropic's PNX84xx integrated broadcast SoC family includes all the major building blocks needed to develop next generation set-top box and client applications for global cable, satellite and IPTV networks. Key highlights include: superior video and audio quality, best web browsing through the ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, an advanced 3D GPU, flexible content decoding, advanced 3DTV processing, efficient power management, and support for Linux and Google Android(R) Operating Systems.

Availability

Comcast began its national rollout of its Xfinity HD video conferencing service on May 15th. For more information regarding availability, please visit www.comcast.com/skype . The technology will be demonstrated at The Cable Show 2012 in Boston, May 21-23, 2012.


 

 

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