At the TV of Tomorrow conference in NYC on Monday, tech experts from Comcast and Time Warner Cable agreed that one of cable’s key challenges is making the transition to IPv6, to accommodate the explosive growth of IP-enabled devices in the home.
Steve Reynolds, SVP of Customer Premises Technology and Home Networking for Comcast, said the MSO currently has 15.5 million EBIF-enabled set-top boxes, which have yielded over 3 billion impressions to date. But the ultimate goal, he said, is to move that capability to IP-enabled devices.
Time Warner Cable SVP of Technology Matt Zelesko said, like Comcast, they’ve undergone a similar process of “pipe cleaning” and are looking to carry over the experience to IP as well. However, that will require writing native apps for IP devices. “When you get to the tablet and smartphone world, to reach a broad base you have to start writing in many different technologies,” he said. “With consumer-owned devices, we don’t get to choose what technology is running on that.” Add to that: When data is stored in the cloud, people expect their preferences to show up on every device.
The task at hand requires enabling video on all of the connected devices in the home—which, according to Reynolds, will reach 234 million by 2015. Each home will have on average of 6 pieces of glass, and all of those will demand HD video capability.
Sounds like a whole lot of plumbing. But Reynolds noted that they won’t necessarily be building from scratch. “There’s a recipe that’s evolving,” he said. “And it really starts with HTML5,” which, when fully developed, will enable video and won’t require plug-ins. “We do need to move toward something that’s standardized,” he said. “That’s why things like HTML5 become so important.” When it’s available, that is. At this point it requires “a lot of work to be ready.”