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May 21, 2012

Comcast Delivers HD Video Conferencing Thanks to Technicolor and Entropic Solutions

By Jacqueline Lee, Contributing Writer

Do you love to watch America’s Got Talent with friends from the other side of the country? Now, Comcast (News - Alert) Xfinity customers have the ability to make HD video calls thanks to a custom-developed adaptor from Technicolor and a broadcast system-on-a-chip from Entropic (News - Alert).

The system will allow friends and family to call one another via video or voice while watching the same television shows. Calls can be made over the existing set-top box, television or wireless LAN.

“Social TV has arrived, and we are proud to have worked with Technicolor (News - Alert) and our ecosystem partners to drive a movement to where video chat over live TV exists,” said Mark Samuel, the senior vice president of the Set-top Box Group for Entropic Communications. “We combined the best of broadcast with broadband technologies to enable Comcast to securely deliver high-quality HD video calls with superior picture quality.”

Comcast’s video calling service works by offering a two-way dialogue over a live broadcast stream. Comcast’s HD Xfinity video conferencing began rolling out to customers on May 15. The technology is on display May 21 through the 23 at Boston’s Cable Show.

Television has been getting smarter. GoogleTV, for instance, allows users to search the Web via voice command. Some of Samsung’s (News - Alert) Smart TVs offer a feature called Family Story, which allows up to 20 family members to share photos, activity reminders or memos over TV, tablet or smartphone.

In addition to gaining intelligence, televisions are now gaining social capabilities. Imagine shouting at the same football game with your brother who lives hundreds of miles away or watching World Cup soccer with your family overseas.

For Comcast, Social TV could be a major revenue driver in a cable landscape that is bleeding customers to companies like Netflix. “There is a large and growing market for interactive applications over broadcast TV," said Jason Blackwell, director, Service Provider Strategies, Digital Consumer Practice at Strategy Analytics (News - Alert).

“Technicolor and Entropic's video chat over live TV solution represents one of the first in a new wave of Social TV applications that will drive operator services and increases in ARPU (Average Revenue per User) with triple-play services.”

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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