LAS VEGAS – Charter Tuesday at CES announced a pair of new cable products and a collaboration with Cisco to move key security features to the cloud.
Charter’s new Worldbox and revised Spectrum Guide will be able to handle downloadable security access and Digital Rights Management (DRM) on the network. As a result the Worldbox is a smaller, more streamlined machine than the current cable boxes Charter has in circulation.
Charter will continue to push out legacy CableCard boxes until the Worldbox is ready for market. The cable company will enlist Cisco to supply a “substantial share” of the Worldbox and continue to use Cisco for its legacy boxes.
“We’re changing how you deliver video from the cloud,” Cisco CEO John Chambers said at a press conference.
To facilitate that change Cisco had to secure waivers from the FCC to move security access off the CableCard.
Charter CEO Thomas Rutledge said the changes “open up the box universe,” by offering the Worldbox that can operate in different markets around the world. He said the integrated form factor reduced cost but also called Worldbox more capable than anything the company has ever done.
“This makes every box and every TV in the Charter footprint state of the art,” Rutledge said.
Charter expects to start using downloadable security on current systems this year and on acquired systems in the near future. The company says downloadable security will allow current and future vendors worldwide to supply ‘Worldboxes’ to Charter. Charter is also working with vendors toward making compatible boxes for retail markets as well and hoping the devices will work in other cable systems.
Charter is going to sell an HD only and an HD-DVR ‘Worldbox’ with dual IP/QAM capabilities, a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem, 1GB of RAM and a terabyte of storage on the HD-DVR.
Following the announcement Cisco and Charter demoed the new Spectrum Guide running it on the Worldbox, legacy boxes and even showing it work on a Roku—though the companies have no current plans to put the Guide on any commercially available streaming box.
The demos showed a consistent UI experience whether the guide was IP-based or VOD, due to Spectrum Guide being rendered in the network. The new Spectrum Guide is currently in trials in parts of Texas.
Filed Under: Infrastructure, Cables + cable management