Entropic’s In the Chips With Motorola, Panasonic

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High-speed home-networking provider Entropic Communications Inc. has new agreements with Motorola Inc. and Panasonic Consumer Electronics to embed its chip-set technology — capable of delivering data at 100 Mbps — in a series of consumer devices.

The deal with Motorola covers advanced set-top boxes and other products, allowing operators to have 100-Megabit capability in digital video recorders and high-definition DVRs.

The Panasonic agreement is for modems destined for Japanese MSO Jupiter Telecommunications Co. (J-Com).

Both growing competition from telcos and the deployment of DVRs are driving the market, said Entropic vice president of marketing John Graham. “It’s the DVR functionality that operators want to push,” he said.

Entropic was formed several years ago with twin purposes: To encourage a new standard that covers high-speed data transfer around the home and to develop technology to make that happen.

The company spearheaded the Multimedia-over-Coax Alliance (MoCA), which has been developing standards that would allow broadband operators to use in-home coaxial wiring to distribute HDTV and other content around the home.

Along the way, Entropic picked up funding from major companies across several platforms, including Comcast Corp., Cox Enterprises Inc., Time Warner Inc. and EchoStar Communications Corp.

MOCA alliance members include Cisco Systems Inc., Cox, Comcast, EchoStar, Motorola, Panasonic, Toshiba Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc.

Entropic’s c.Link-270 platform is ready to hit the market. The chip set will be embedded in advanced Motorola set-tops and other advanced boxes, allowing cable operators to offer built-in 100-Mbps home networking from a main set-top.

With mass production, Entropic hopes to lower the chip set’s price to about $10 per unit.

The Panasonic/J-Com deal was done with Japan’s apartment buildings in mind. Panasonic plans to supply J-Com with its TZ-CLM100 modem receiver and network-controller modems with Entropic EN3010 chipsets.

The network controller receiver would sit next to an optical network terminal in the basement of an apartment building, feeding individual modems within each apartment.

The ratio is 31 in-apartment modems for each network controller that sits beside the ONT, Graham said.

J-Com operates 19 cable systems with 2 million customers.

Graham expects U.S. cable and direct-broadcast satellite providers to test the products in the field later this year and early next year. “The energy is coming from IPTV deployments and FiOS,” he said, referring to Verizon’s fiber-to-the-home construction that enables speeds of 30 Mbps or greater.

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