Digital transport adapters (DTAs) may offer a cheap option for cable operators that are looking to go all-digital, but the simple channel-zappers won't play a starring role in Charter Communications Inc.'s transition, company CEO Tom Rutledge said on Friday's fourth-quarter earnings call.
Charter, he said, will instead power its all-digital move with fully functional, interactive set-top boxes, holding that they provide a better user interface (Charter's developing a cloud-based version) and access to popular services such as video-on-demand.
DTAs, which have been central to Comcast Corp.'s all-digital strategy, cost about $30 for standard-definition models, while new HD versions are expected to sell for sub-$50. Comcast has deployed millions of DTAs to recapture analog spectrum and create more capacity for HD programming and Docsis 3.0.
On the downside, DTAs saturate the market with more QAM devices, which can prolong an operator's IP video transition. Their one-way limitations also make them incapable of supporting VoD on their own, though it's technically possible to deliver on-demand programming to the devices using apps on smartphones and tablets. (See Comcast: DTAs Can Be 'Force-Tuned' and Comcast HD-DTAs Reach the FCC.)
But that's not in the Charter game plan. It's pursuing a waiver at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help it deploy a new type of box outfitted with a downloadable security system.
Click headline to read more--