Comcast, Samsung Announce Pact

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Las Vegas -- Comcast Corp. announced its second all-digital-cable set-top deal in as many days at the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show here Thursday with a 200,000-box order from Samsung Electronics America Inc.

One day after announcing an HD/digital-video-recorder deal with Panasonic Consumer Electronics, Comcast pledged to buy 200,000 lower-end standard-definition set-tops from Samsung, which will feature Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification 2.0 ports, support for OpenCable Application Platform middleware and codecs to handle both MPEG-2 (Moving Picture Expert Group) and MPEG-4 video streams.

“This is not just about building a set-top," Comcast executive vice president of new business development Steve Silva said. “It's about improving the customer experience. We're recognizing the importance of working with consumer-electronics companies."

Comcast has sketched out three levels of boxes for its next-generation set-top platform. The Samsung deal, which contains options for another 500,000 boxes, addresses the lower end of Comcast's new RNG (real next generation) set-top series (RNG100). The Panasonic HD-DVR deal addresses the middle end (RNGT200), Silva said. The RNG 1000 series media-center boxes and potential deals remain under development, he added.
Current Comcast set-top providers -- Motorola Inc., Scientific-Atlanta Inc. and Pace Micro Technology plc -- are also doing development work in the RNG series, Silva said. And Comcast is testing Digeo Inc.’s set-top.

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