Comcast’s next-generation Xi4 set-top box passes the FCC

It looks like Comcast is getting ready to ship its next-generation set-top box to consumers: A filing for the company’s Xi4 set-top box just popped up in the FCC’s database. The filing, which has been approved by the FCC, is heavily redacted but it does give us some clues as to what the new box is all about.

Comcast's next-generation TV sett-op box, as shown in an FCC filing.

Comcast’s next-generation TV set-top box, as shown in an FCC filing.

The new set-top box is being made by Pegatron on behalf of Cisco, which is notable, because its Xi3 predecessor has been made by Pace. The device goes by a range of model numbers, including Cisco CX041AE1 as well as Cisco ATV8100, but it looks like Comcast will be calling the box Xi4v1-C. The box includes support for 2.4Ghz Wifi and Bluetooth, which is likely being used for the remote control. A photo of the FCC label shows a square device, much like what Comcast has been showing off for some time as its next-generation X1 set-top box.

Interesting about these new boxes is that they likely won’t contain a local hard drive anymore. Instead, Comcast is now storing all of it’s customers’ TV recordings in the cloud as part of its cloud DVR.

Comcast has been gradually expanding the footprint of its cloud DVR service over the last several months, and brought it to San Francisco last summer. At the time, Comcast executives told me that the company could eventually offer unlimited storage for TV recordings in the cloud, and possibly even ditch set-top boxes altogether.

NAB preview: The taming of over-the-top

Amazon’s FireTV unveiling comes on the eve of the National Association of Broadcasters annual convention in Las Vegas, where one of the main focuses will be on making traditional TV platforms look and feel more like watching over-the-top video.

Securing control of the set-top box

The video industry has begun to move — haltingly but nonetheless — toward greater integration of linear and OTT services. How that integration happens, however, and on whose platform, and through whose UI, are no small questions.

Boxee clashes with cable companies over encryption

Boxee isn’t just marketing its live TV tuner as an alternative to cable; it is also fighting with cable companies about having access to their programming. The reason? Cable companies want to encrypt their basic cable tier, which Boxee and other CE makers oppose.

Comcast’s new set-top streams live TV to DLNA devices

One DVR to rule them all? In addition to bringing Comcast’s new cloud-based user interface to subscriber homes, the Xcalibur set-top box includes DLNA Premium Video, which will allow users to access live and recorded TV from tablets, PCs, connected TVs and other devices.