Published: 11.11 Europe/London, June 15, 2011

Pace has developed a hybrid set-top box as part of the Comcast Xfinity multiscreen platform.

The unit is due to be unveiled by Comcast CEO Brian Roberts at The Cable Show in Chicago on Thursday. It features both IP capability and interactivity under the tru2way protocol.

Comcast is currently using the Pace set-top box platform as part of a market trial of Xfinity TV that is currently running in Augusta, Georgia. Customers have access to tens of thousands of movies and TV series.

“Comcast has a track record of delivering the unexpected and taking TV services to a whole new level. We are very proud that Comcast has chosen to partner with Pace on this extraordinary project,” said Mike Pulli, President, Pace Americas.

Rather than the Atom-based Intel CE4200, the devices use the Pentium M-based CE3100, a move that came as a surprise to Stephen Froehlich, Senior Analyst with IMS Research’s Consumer Electronics group. “What this reveals is that Comcast always intended to have an extended market trial of its TV gateway server and then use a more modern CE-series processor in its volume rollout which we are forecasting will begin near the middle of 2012.

“Software integration for TV gateway servers is proving much more difficult than expected, and Comcast and its software integration partner seem to be the only team other than ARRIS that is on schedule. DirecTV and UPC/LGI have each apparently fallen six months to a year behind their original schedules, with the (Broadcom-based) DirecTV HR34-700 schedule push-back likely accounting for Pace’s profit warning earlier this year,” said Froehlich.

The UPC Horizon gateway is scheduled to make its first appearance in the Netherlands later this year.