Comcast expects to deploy switched digital video in several cable systems
later this year — with plans to expand into other markets in 2011 and 2012 — which will let it
offer more than 150 HD channels and roll out new services like 3DTV.
The operator, which disclosed the plans in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission last
week, did not specify the markets it will commercially launch SDV first. Comcast said it expects SDV will
let it add at least 50 additional HD channels, pushing its HD lineups to more than 150 channels.
As SDV capacity increases over time, Comcast said, it will be able to launch 3DTV, offer additional
niche-interest and ethnic channels and deliver faster broadband services. The operator didn’t mention
vendors, but has previously approved BigBand Networks and Motorola as SDV suppliers.
Switched digital video more efficiently delivers less-watched linear TV channels by transmitting
them only when a customer in a given service group requests them, unlike traditional cable services,
in which all channels are broadcast to all homes at all times.
However, one-way CableCard devices are unable to access SDV channels. Comcast said that with
the proposed switched digital video launches, it will provide “tuning adapters” to subscribers with
CableCard-enabled TiVo DVRs and other devices at no additional
charge. Tuning adapters from Cisco Systems and Motorola have
been deployed by operators, including Time Warner Cable
and Cox Communications.