Charter’s ‘World Box’ Has a Cloudy Future

Playbook For Next-Gen Platform To Focus on Cloud-Based Services, Align With Cablevision’s Plan, Sources Say
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Charter Communications is developing a so-called “World Box” that will put a heavy emphasis on cloud-based services and closely follow the plan underway at Cablevision Systems, industry sources said.

Although Charter’s plan is in development, so its direction could still be tweaked in mid-course, the resulting platform is expected to support IP-connectivity and use a downloadable security system that it is preparing to deploy following a temporary FCC waiver that enables Charter to migrate to that new system by deploying dual-security boxes than can handle the downloadable version and an integrated version of its legacy conditional access system.

Charter’s plan seemingly aligns with the one Cablevision started under then chief operating officer Tom Rutledge, who is became president and CEO of Charter in February 2012. A source said Charter and

Cablevision are “working closely” on the project. Both cable operators are customers of ActiveVideo, which is helping Charter develop a cloud-based user interface.

Charter has already issued a request for proposal for the World Box. Because of Charter’s close alignment with Cablevision’s strategy, Humax and Samsung are considered to be the top candidates to land some of that business. As Multichannel News reported earlier, Humax and Samsung were the initial vendors selected for Cablevision’s “Future Services Portal” box.

According to multiple sources, both Charter and Cablevision have no interest in pursuing a box strategy that would involve the Reference Design Kit, the pre-integrated video software stack being managed by Comcast and Time Warner Cable that is now pursuing global adoption.

Charter declined to comment on the World Box and its current level of interest in the RDK.

More about Charter’s plan and how it might factor into the operator’s unresolved future with TiVo will be covered in the September 2 issue of Multichannel News.

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