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New Device Could Speed Comcast’s IP-Video Migration

Comcast’s Internet-protocol video transition might get a lift in the form of a new digital transport adapter that recently passed through the hallowed halls of the Federal Communications Commission.

According to FCC test documents first spotted by The Donohue Report, Pace has developed for Comcast the XiD-P DTA, a device also capable of supporting 4K video.

Comcast wouldn’t comment on its plans for the product, but a person familiar with the device said it is a hybrid of sorts that could initially be deployed to support the MSO’s traditional MPEG-based linear digital TV service, and then be “flipped” into an IP-based client device that could run Comcast’s X1 platform when networked to a gateway over Wi-Fi or via the DTA’s integrated Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) capabilities.

Such an approach would greatly expand the usability window of a DTA, a simple digital-to-analog converter that Comcast has leaned on heavily for its all-digital migration. DTAs historically have been one-way, downstream-only devices, but the latent IP capabilities in this new Pace unit could enable it to become a more capable two-way, interactive product, the industry source said.

In addition to extending the life of the product, embedding IP into the device could help Comcast further seed its transition away from MPEG while also accelerating its deployment of X1 and the coming expansion of Comcast’s 4K service.

Comcast offers X1 across its footprint, and estimates that 25% of its triple-play customers are on the platform, a figure that translates to at least 2.49 million customers, according to research firm MoffettNathanson.