Intel Asks FCC to Require Ethernet Ports on Set-Tops


I think this is interesting, but perhaps unnecessary. From what I can tell, the large majority of new designs for set-tops have some form of IP connectivity. Certainly, as this Ars article mentions, moves by CableLabs to approve DTCP over IP have paved the way for carriers (in the US at least) to potentially feel more comfortable with home network based services such as multi-room PVR. However, what I have seen and heard is that most of this activity in the North American market will likely be MoCA based delivery, which wouldn’t necessitate an Ethernet port.

Still, I think vendors like Intel see network connections on set-tops as part of their push for more whole-home media distribution to a variety of devices, including to retail based devices as well as PCs. While MoCA serves nicely in a set-box to set-box delivery scenario, most MoCA implementations will likely (unless the home network is on a MoCA router) not be able to interface with the PC. Ethernet is really the most universal port in terms of IP connectivity, given the wide number of Ethernet bridges for other devices.

At the end of the day, IP ports will be nearly universal in a few years. Intel is pushing for the FCC to require Ethernet, but I’m not sure that it will be necessary as the market is moving this direction with or without an FCC mandate.




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  • http://homenetworking01.spaces.live.com/ Simon Mackay

    You could have a MoCA-Ethernet bridge, which could be like a HomePlug-Ethernet bridge, being used as a way of exposing the home network to a MoCA-based set-top-box network. This idea may not come off properly for most existing households where there isn’t a cable-TV outlet in the office-den or study and the broadband “hot and cold running” Internet is serviced through a technology other than cable Internet, but the problem could be worked around through the use of HomePlug-Ethernet bridges.