One of the most popular demonstrations at The Cable Show this week in Boston is sure to be that of the technology behind Comcast's (Nasdaq: CMCSA) Skype on Xfinity HD video conferencing service for household TVs.
The two vendors supporting that much-anticipated new service and enabling the show demo are Technicolor and Entropic Communications (Nasdaq: ENTR). Technicolor contributed its custom-developed 720p telepresence adapter, which uses Entropic's ARM Cortex-A9 CPU (PNX8471), an integrated broadcast system-on-a-chip solution.
Entropic's SoC enables a cloud-based overlay application, acting as an HDMI pass-through that connects to an HD video conference from the cloud, which allows Comcast to present the video call as picture-in-picture or overlaying the TV content being displayed at a given moment.
Some analysts say they believe the new service from Comcast could help usher in a new throng of interactive cable TV applications. The telepresence adapter--which in addition to an HDMI input/output has Gigabit Ethernet and WiFi connectivity--eases the introduction of this new application by working with existing set-top boxes, TVs and home Wi-Fi networks.
Earlier this year, NPD In-Stat said there could be more than 16 million home-video calling users by 2015. That is not a lot, but since Comcast and Skype began talking about a TV-based service last year, the market has been cautiously optimistic as it waited for a chance to try the service. As it comes on-line in more markets, we should get a better idea whether or not the service can really take off.
-see this press release
Comcast launched Skype on Xfinity last week
Home video calling is expected to jump the next few years