CES Briefs1/06/2006 07:00:00 PM Eastern
Comcast Buys New Boxes
Comcast announced deals with Samsung and Panasonic to provide digital set-tops that meet the OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP) standard.
The boxes allow for interactive communications and downloadable security on a common platform and include MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 compression technology and UBS 2.0 networking capability. Comcast will receive 200,000 Samsung standard-definition digital boxes in 2007, with options to purchase another 500,000 units.
On the high end, Comcast will buy 250,000 high-definition, DVR-equipped boxes from Panasonic, with an option to purchase up to 1 million units the first year. The Panasonic HD/DVR boxes will have 250 gigabytes of hard-drive storage, double the capacity of Comcast's current Motorola set-tops.
Comcast is also buying Panasonic's OCAP middleware, which can link the set-tops to Panasonic HDTV sets and DVD players and allow users to control all the devices from a single Comcast remote.
USDTV Heads East
U.S. Digital Television (USDTV) announced that Norfolk, Va., will be the fifth market and first East Coast location to receive the USDTV service, which offers 30 all-digital channels for a monthly subscription fee of $19.95.
USDTV, which uses a proprietary digital set-top box to capture its over-the-air transmissions, will begin broadcasting this spring in the Norfolk/Hampton Roads market from the facilities of LIN TV.
LIN was one of several major broadcasters to invest a total of $25.75 million in USDTV last November,. Also investing: Fox Television Stations, Hearst-Argyle, McGraw-Hill, Morgan Murphy Stations and Telcom DTV.