Caller ID on your TV


Last week, I wrote about caller ID on TV as a possible application for VoIP. America’s Network reports that a company called Integra 5 is supplying software that enables cable operators to offer their new telephony subscribers caller-ID services on the TV or PC. Cox Communications is trialing this service in Phoenix. Comporium Communications in Rock Hill, S.C. is also trying this out.

Integra 5’s software sits next to the telephone switch within a cable system. The software “sees” phone calls coming into the system, determines which homes they’re headed to, then takes the information about that call — phone number and name, if available — and sends a signal through the Moving Picture Expert Group transport stream to the TV set, where the information is displayed on a banner that runs along the bottom of the screen.”



Beyond the logistical difficulty, we need to sk the utility of this feature. Even in PSTN, use of cordless phones, with built-in caller id display. Given the current technological advances, we should visualize proliferation of “radio” phones with each member of a household having individual termination id. Under this scenario, why disturb the whole family and display it on TV rather than the individual’s phone.

Venki Iyer

Interesting, but the problem is that you’re stuck trying to get a box into every head-end with every cable operator – the main reason why no real digital cable apps have taken off in the last 6 years. Remember Peach Networks, or Commerce.TV, or that company that is now selling videophones?

Given the non-adoption of a uniform settop platform so far (admittedly now likely to change with both Comcast and TWC lining up behind OCAP), the problem has always been how do you write apps for the dozen different models in S-A and Moto’s settop portfolio? And encoding data into the MPEG transport itself is simpler, but then you’re back to putting down a big honking real-time MPEG re(-en-)coder within the head-end.

The better (and infrastructure-independent) solution it seems is to rely on some form of media adapter being handy that plugs into the display, and just have the adapter be capable of extracting the SIP signalling that’s also flowing along the same wire(-less).

Comments are closed.