website hit counter CES Wrap-up Part 1 - Chris Lanier

CES Wrap-up Part 1

CES just started a few hours ago, but I already feel like it can start being wrapped up.  This years show just hasn’t had the pop it needed, and it all started with Microsoft’s lackluster keynote.  Unlike pervious years, fancy demos of new products and concepts didn’t take center stage.  Instead most of the show centered on Bill leaving.  The whole Connected Home/Experience/Digital Decade concept didn’t make a big slash, despite it being the main topic.  Media Center had its 15 seconds of fame with half a dozen mentions in the keynote, yet no product demos or anything on stage.

The “big” Media Center news on stage was that Extenders are coming from HP and Samsung.  The HP products were announced at DigitalLife in September, so in reality the Samsung announcement was the only new Media Center related bit.  The form factor for the Samsung will be an "compact device can be easily mounted to the rear of select Samsung flat-panel HDTVs"add-on module that will was not announced but the press release implied it being built-in to.  Update: I took this as meaning an add-on module that only works with those models and not a standalone unit that just happens to attach to those select displays.  I'm trying to find out the answer, but the above is a direct quote from the press release.  I think I’d much rather see a Blu-ray/HD DVD player with an Extender at this point (notice how I put Blu-ray first this time).

Mediaroom was the big news which I hated.  Don’t get me wrong, IPTV is great and now Mediaroom is on 1 million STBs.  However, the only US provider is AT&T U-Verse and it has some growing pains.  U-Verse is only in some three-dozen markets in the US and they spend the most amount of time taking about it?  Great for those who have it, but then again for Media Center users it is a no go for HD.  DVR Anywere lets you share content with other Mediaroom STBs in your home which I expected at some point as other providers are doing it standard now too.  The other big news with Xbox 360 IPTV, but currently only from BT in the UK.  It is not clear how it will work.  In the keynote it was said you would buy an Xbox 360 from BT, yet the press release says it will work for “existing and future Xbox 360 console owners."

There was something about Zune Social that I didn’t care about.  Sync is nice and really shows convergence, so why don’t we have native voice control in Media Center?  Why is touch the new way to do things yet Media Center has never seen a touchscreen’s pushed by Microsoft? 

Sideshow was a noshow.  Surface was their in part, still cool but still a novelty for most businesses in my opinion.  No news about the DIRECTV tuner, nothing about BOCR or two-way cable.  Nothing about SP1 or Fiji.  Really a whole lot of nothing.

Published Mon, Jan 7 2008 10:41 by chrisl

Comments

# re: CES Wrap-up Part 1

Chris,

 Isn't this "Tru2Way" the new name for BOCR? Isn't this what we've been waiting for? If so, should I hold off on the new XPS420 until we see if the ATI Tuner is upgradable? Thanks

Monday, January 07, 2008 3:53 PM by Erik

# re: CES Wrap-up Part 1

Chris,

Isn't Tru2way the new name for BOCR? Isn't this what we've all be waiting for? Should I hold off on that new XPS420 purchase?

Monday, January 07, 2008 3:56 PM by Erik

# re: CES Wrap-up Part 1

Tru2Way is the new name for CableCARD 2.0.  Overall, the name change has no impact on BOCR.  CableLabs still hasn't finished the specs and it is going to be a while before the are released.  I'm expecting BOCRs to work just fine on current OCUR systems.  There is no reason for them to change the BIOS or any other part of the system.

Monday, January 07, 2008 3:57 PM by chrisl

# re: CES Wrap-up Part 1

Thanks. Sorry for being so dense, but I'm still confused. Once you mentioned CableCard2.0, I read your excellent:

msmvps.com/.../1055657.aspx

But this left me uncertain: what does it mean to have CableCard2.0 WITHOUT BOCR? The article explains that CableCard2.0 enables "two-way communication" but then it seems to suggest that this won't work without BOCR.  However, all the Tru2Way material sounds like you get PPV, EPG etc. immediately (no need for BOCR). Is this because STBs and TVs can make use of CableCard2.0 WITHOUT extra hardware but for Media Center PCs, you need BOTH the platform, i.e. Tru2Way, and additional harware, i.e. BOCR, to make it all work?

Finally, if I get the 420 now, and you say OCURs will work fine with BOCR, am I just waiting for a True2Way compatible version of MediaCenter or do I likely need to wait for AMD/ATI firmware upgrades to the receiver too?

Monday, January 07, 2008 4:24 PM by Erik

# re: CES Wrap-up Part 1

Tru2Way is nothing but a new name.  It is CableCARD 2.0.  The bi-directional communication (PPV, SDV, etc) and OCAP (which CableLabs requires for bi-directional products).  A BOCR would now be a Tru2Way product, but the announcement and everything else has nothing to do with BOCR getting to market.  CableLabs hasn't finished the BOCR specs or even publicly announced it.

OCURs will never work for bi-directional communication, you will have to buy new hardware (BOCRs).  No firmware upgrade would matter.

The question is do BOCRs work on existing machines.  As CableLabs has not even announced BOCR, there is no official word on whether BOCRs will work on current machines.  My guess is that they will work just fine on any machine that shipped with a CableCARD BIOS (eg. OCUR machines).

Monday, January 07, 2008 4:35 PM by chrisl

# re: CES Wrap-up Part 1

So, I think that I have this now:

- Tru2Way is just the new name for CableCard 2.0, or bidirectional device communications.

- OCUR and BOCR are **PC specific** cablecard device specifications, of which BOCR hasn't been defined by CableLabs yet.

- Assuming it is ever defined by CableLabs, a BOCR would be a Tru2Way device.

- So, the Tru2Way devices that we saw at CES are indeed bidirectional cablecard devices but obviously do not need nor use the pc cablecard device, BOCR.

Walla!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008 9:27 PM by Brian