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Cable Technology Feature Article

June 11, 2014

Lending a Global Vote of Confidence, CableLabs Joins MoCA

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

CableLabs (News - Alert) has joined the Multimedia over Coax (MoCA) Association, keeper of one of the many standards for home entertainment networking. The addition of the creator of DOCSIS to its roster as a full contributing member is a vote of confidence for MoCA, which is popular in North America for supporting higher-end multimedia gateways, but which has struggled in other markets.

The two organizations have been working together for years as part of a technical liaison relationship. But membership in MoCA as a contributing member enables CableLabs to provide more input and direction early in the specification development process.

"We have always worked well with MoCA and our membership further establishes and strengthens the relationship," said Ralph Brown, CTO at CableLabs, in a statement. "We look forward to continuing our joint efforts in support of cable operators and the broader cable ecosystem."

The news comes as the market drivers are coalescing for the MoCA 2.0 standard. It enables multi-screen connected home offerings, supporting multiple streams of content - including HDTV, 3D, gaming and over the top content (OTT) via an IP-over-coax connection to numerous in-home devices.

Silicon providers like Broadcom and Entropic (News - Alert) have been building it into their systems for hybrid home gateway gear, which a number of vendors have commercialized. However, they ship primarily in North America. Trials are underway in Western Europe for MoCA, and a MoCA deployment in Brazil this year will mark the first for Latin America—but so far the technology has been very region-specific.

"Operators in North America and Western Europe are deploying higher-end gateways and set-top boxes with integrated wireless and wired technologies to distribute video to multiple devices in the home, driving a secondary market of MoCA set tops and HomePlug (News - Alert) adapters for connecting TVs, Blu-ray players, game consoles and a growing list of peripherals to home networks,” said Jeff Heynen, principal analyst for broadband access and pay-TV at Infonetics (News - Alert).

He added that opportunity exists globally. "Like broadband CPE, home networking devices continue to grow as fixed broadband subscribers increase around the globe. The types of services being delivered over data networks are growing as well, with the most important being multiscreen video."

CableLabs’ deeper involvement in the group could help spread the MoCA gospel further beyond North American shores. Last year, it went global by adding 14 new MSO members from across Europe, Asia and Latin America, with the merger of Cable Europe Labs into its Louisville, Colo.-based operations.

The two now represent together a global cable technology consortium, tasked with researching emerging technologies, developing specifications and spearheading vendor certification testing for multiple regions.

Charles Cerino, MoCA president, somewhat alluded to this in his announcement of the expanded relationship: "We are pleased that CableLabs has joined MoCA,” he said. “The cooperation between our two organizations is critical to keeping the cable market strong - in the U.S. and worldwide - through innovation, certification of products and specifications that are mutually beneficial to the operators and consumers.”

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