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Cable Technology Feature Article

April 15, 2013

Comcast Makes DTA Feed Available for Boxees's Cloud DVR

By Michael Guta, TMCnet Contributing Writer

Not too long ago cable was the only way to go if you wanted TV programming outside of public broadcasting. Then came satellite and the Internet, which brought a whole slew of options for the consumer. In order to protect their market share, cable companies have been fighting back by protecting the licensing structure they have with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC (News - Alert)) and building alliances with new companies.

Comcast, one of the largest providers in the country is introducing Digital Transporter Adapter (DTA) to select markets for eligible Boxee (News - Alert) customers.

The new DTA is designed to feed an encrypted form of Comcast’s basic digital video tier to Boxee’s Cloud DVR product. Basic cable was encrypted until December, 10 2012, when the FCC lifted the ban, which gave cable companies better protection measures for their broadcasting in all-digital systems. The largest cable companies in the U.S. agreed to give IP-based product receive basic TV tiers without having to use a CableCARD, but with future licensing option into their products.

This ruling gives companies such as Boxee the ability to offer the basic TV tier with its own interface and line of products. Boxee’s Cloud DVR provides consumers with multiple recording options without the storage limitations of ordinary DVRs. Even though storage prices have come down, the Cloud DVR offers unlimited storage capability for $9.99 a month. This premium version lets a user access the recorded content on their PCs, smartphones, tablets and TVs from virtually anywhere by storing the content permanently. The company also offers a free version which allows for up to five hours of DVR playback each month, but the content is only stored for 90 days and the playback option is limited to TVs.

Ethernet-Digital Transport Adapter (E-DTA) is a device with an internal IP mini server which allows encrypted Quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) video channels to be viewed without a CableCARD. This content can be shared using Boxee with a connection that has Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) technology with Digital Transmission Content Protection over Internet Protocol (DTCP-IP) content protection. 

The convergence of multi system operator (MSO) Comcast (News - Alert) and over the top (OTT) video service provider Boxee is a natural step in the evolution of TV entertainment. At the moment, they need each other to provide services to consumers who are increasingly moving away from traditional viewing methods.

Edited by Jamie Epstein

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