- Plug ‘n Play on China Telecom’s Pay TV Network
– HomeGrid Starts with Bangs from 2014
Following a three-month period of silence since John Egan left as president of the HomeGrid Forum, G.hn has come roaring out in 2015’s CES with some startling announcements.
First the big news:
G.hn and Wi-Fi chipmaker Marvell has landed a deal under which China Telecom has worked with TV setmaker Skyworth to launch the world’s first smart TV with embedded G.hn powerline technology. Skyworth’s E690C smart TVs have Marvell’s 88LX3142 G.hn digital baseband processor and 88LX2718 G.hn analog front end.
Skyworth TV set
Homes that have the Skyworth E690C smart TV do not need a pay TV set-top box, Wi-Fi or wireline Ethernet because they automatically connect over the home’s powerline. China Telecom subscribers plug separate G.hn wall-plug adapters into electrical outlets near the broadband gateway and then plug their Smart TVs into the any wall electrical outlet. They get instant and fast Internet access in any part of the house. G.hn-enabled Skyworth TVs do not require any new cables.
It’s a big market! The G.hn capable Skyworth TVs are available to China Telecom’s more than 25 million pay IPTV subscribers.
It’s big news! A consumer’s dream (and a dream of makers of powerline products) is to have:
A) A modem/gateway with embedded powerline technology that, when you plug it into an electrical outlet, makes the home’s electrical wires a whole home networks, and
B) CE devices with embedded powerline technology so that when they are plugged into an electrical outlet, they are connected to the home network and can access the net. CE devices that could benefit from such a scenario are smart TVs, Blu-ray player and set-/net-top boxes (Apple TV, Roku and such), stereo/receivers and Wi-Fi adapters, yes, Wi-Fi because such a wireline network could extend the home’s Wi-Fi coverage.
It’s true plug ‘n play, not plug plug plug and then play.
Weili Dai, president and co-founder of Marvell, said, “I am very excited to see this game-changing, innovative product that transforms the traditional TV experience to enable seamless access to content and services. Our industry-leading G.hn solution powers an immersive smart TV experience for consumers by providing simple and convenient connectivity to any location in the home through the existing powerline infrastructure.”
Liu Tangzhi, GM of Skyworth’s RGB TV company, said, “Going smart is definitely the trend for the development of the TV industry. Skyworth and Marvell have created the industry’s first smart TV with the integration of G.hn technology and achieved mass production through our joint efforts. The new generation of Smart TVs will provide immediate broadband connection with plug-and-play simplicity, and give consumers an extraordinary experience by providing high-quality HD video.”
Liu Ping, GM of the marketing department at China Telecommunications, said, “We’re very excited to join hands with Skyworth and Marvell, leaders in the industry, to unveil the first ‘Yue Me’ platform-based smart TV, the Skyworth E690C. The new product will become the hub of entertainment in smart homes, delivering extensive in-home information services including convenient living, education, healthcare, shopping, games, and entertainment, etc, to provide consumers with ease and convenience.”
Marvell’s G.hn chips can provide powerline, coax and phone line networking in a single chipset. That reduces the cost of product design and the time it takes to get a new product to market. Marvell said it “enables data transmission rates at four times greater than that of other legacy systems” — no doubt meaning HomePlug and MoCA, both of which against it competes in wireline home networking.
Q&As with Marvell
The Online Reporter asked Marvell several questions about the Skyworth TV for CT subscribers and received these answers as we went to press:
The Online Reporter: Does China Telecom furnish a modem or gateway with G.hn embedded?
Marvell: The Skyworth Smart TV will be sold with a small G.hn adapter that will be connected to the existing residential gateway at the subscriber home. This is the first product launched by CTC [China Telecom Corporation] with embedded G.hn.
Q. Are the TVs available now?
A. The TVs are being demonstrated at the Home Grid Forum booth at CES but we unfortunately do not have the exact dates of availability.
Q. How much are the TVs?
A. We don’t have that information yet.
Q. Are they UHD or HD? Or both?
A. They are UHD 4K TVs.
Q. What size is the screen or are there multiple models?
A. There are multiple models: 32-, 42-, 50- and 55-inch. The smart TV on display at CES is the 50-inch model.
Q. How does the customer connect a tablet or smartphone to the network?
A. The Skyworth Smart TV also comes with Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity.
It’s impressive that the TVs are UHD TVs, not the now out-of-date traditional 1080p HD TVs. We have heard repeatedly that China is the largest UHD TV market in the world and this seems to confirm that.
Having a Wi-Fi hotspot built into the TV is a smart move because it simplifies customer set up and use.
We think that CT, and other like-minded telcos, will eventually specify that the gateways it buys have G.hn chips embedded in them to a) make it easier for subscribers to install and b) reduce total costs as well as simplify procedures.
CES Booth Shows Off G.hn Goodies
At CES the HomeGrid Forum’s booth, much like last year’s, had multiple vendors demonstrating interoperability over networks, simulating operation in MDUs.
The booth demonstration, as might be expected, showed G.hn networks delivering multiple streams of 4K videos to UHD TVs over powerline. HGF said that for the first time it was demonstrating smart TVs and routers that have G.hn embedded in them – a major accomplishment for powerline network technology.
All these projects were underway prior to John Egan’s departure as president of the Forum.
Equipment makers were demonstrating each of the three G.hn system types — powerline, phone line and coax. There was a line of ARRIS home gateways, routers, Wi-Fi adapters and Wi-Fi extenders at the booth using G.hn over powerline, which will be available in the States mid-year 2015.
HomeGrid also announced the recently accredited test house Allion labs has opened for certification testing.
HomeGrid members were also showing how G.hn handles “Neighboring Networks” interference in MDUs, which it says is a major differentiator between G.hn and HomePlug — a criticism that the HomePlug Alliance denies and was demonstrating in its booth.
Global Momentum for G.hn Grows
In addition to the China Telecom announcement, KT Corporation (formerly known as Korea Telecom) formally joined the HomeGrid Forum (HGF). KT Corp announced in early 2014 it is using G.hn in an access technology, called G.now, in its broadband deployments. Don Gardenhire, an ARRIS executive who is serving as HGF’s interim president, told The Online Reporter KT Corp has already begun deploying G.now gear to MDUs, which Gardenhire said is helping it deliver hundreds of megabits per second to subscribers’ apartments over KT Corp’s existing copper infrastructure.
“KT Corporation is using G.hn for …
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