The Cable Show 2013: No desktop phones, future CAT-iq support for Comcast, Biscotti gets a WebRTC boost

Washington D.C. – Residential handsets were in near zero quantities on the floor of The Cable Show, with the industry showing its embrace of smartphones and tablets as the primary interface to everything. 

The only handset was in Arris’ booth next to a functioning model of Comcast’s XG5, known within Arris as the MG2402.  Comcast plans to – some day – migrate its residential CPE to a loaded “headless” cable gateway, using it to distribute video within the home with cheaper client.  The device includes support for 802.11ac, MoCA, and DECT with CAT-iq 2.0 support (firmware upgradable to 2.1).  

Since CAT-iq 2.0 is full-blown HD voice using G.722 and all the bells and whistles for residential call handling, Comcast has (finally) found a piece of HD voice residential CPE it is happy with.

Comcast has not announced a timetable when or how it will start rolling out XG5, but it is unlikely that boxes will end up in households anytime before the fall of this year – or later.  At least CAT-iq handset manufacturers have a new market to look forward to sometime in the future.

A demonstration in Alcatel Lucent’s booth featured a live WebRTC gateway/SBC demo between a laptop running Google’s Chrome and a SIP endpoint, the consumer-market Biscotti video conferencing device. 

Biscotti doesn’t support WebRTC codecs, so the Alcatel Lucent WebRTC SBC provides transcoding between Opus and VP8 and Biscotti’s codecs. A Biscotti executive said the device supports G.722 and H.264 – an interesting revelation given when the device was initially launched back in 2011, company support personnel and PR said the device used “proprietary” codecs – and the company was “looking at” supporting Opus and VP8 via a firmware upgrade.

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