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Wall -To- Wall Verizon



By Peter D. Shapiro. Peter is an industry veteran and principal at PDS Consuiting, a cabie & teiecoms consultancy (www. He can be reached at:

Verizon is first in line to find out whether managed in-home networking ofTV and other multimedia content represents an attractive business opportunity. Among multichannel TV services, only Verizon's FiOS TV is installed with an architecture that is designed for such in-home networking.

At the core of the FiOS in-home network is a 100 iVIbps broadband home router (BHR) that serves muitipie purposes: It manages the subscriber's Internet access, handles VOD delivery in IPTV format to requesting TV set-top boxes and provides in-home connectivity to PCs, laptops and other devices. Another key element is FiOS' adoption of the MoCA (Multimedia over Coax Alliance) standard for transporting video and multimedia content around the home via coax cables. Also, each FiOS TV set-top is given an IP address for reception of VOD and other IP-based multimedia content.

For an extra charge, FiOS TVs Home Media DVR feature enables multi-room viewing of TV programs recorded on the FiOS DVR set-top. It comes with

a (free) additional capability, called Home Media, which allows subscribers who have photos or music stored on a PC to view or listen to this content on any TV that has a FiOS set-top box, Internet video and radio content will be added to Home Media later this year, Verizon says.

Other, less-complete, versions of multimedia home networking are also avaiiabie. For example, DirecTV's settops support multi-room viewing of DVR-stored content. Sling Media's new place-shifting device, SlingCatcher (scheduled to become avaiiabie in mid-2007), will enable viewing on a TV of Internet video and other Web content stored on a PC, However, unlike with FiOS, which provides end-to-end support, subscribers using these

products need to have already installed a wired or wireless in-home network and the patience and skill to make everything work together.

Home networking has been on cable operators' radar for some time. At recent NCTA shows, vendors have demonstrated multi-room viewing of DVR content; home networking standards have been explained and promoted, including the MoCA standard, which includes cable operators among its original sponsors; and CableLabs' CableHome project specifies technical prerequisites. Nevertheless, although cable operators offer in-home data networking of PCs. they have not launched products to enable in-home networking of TV and multimedia content.

Perhaps this is due to reluctance to take on additional customer service burdens, the inertial drag of legacy cable CPE, issues related to copy protection and digital rights management and/or a focus on other more enticing priorities. Should FiOS TV's home networking turn out to be a hit, cable operators might want to put their own prospective home networking products on a faster track. ¦¦

FiOS Home Network Architecture