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Cox Demos HD Video Calls via 4G

Ever sat and pondered how good (or bad) someone looks in HD on a big-screen TV? Don't look now, but we may be next. Cox Communications said this week it's beginning to wind up some trial runs in Phoenix and San Diego that have been combining voice calls with HD streaming using 4G technology.

In other words, video phone calls with HD.

Cox said the 4G technology it's using in its service trials have been deploying AWS and 700 MHz spectrum – spectrum which it acquired in FCC auctions back in 2006 and 2008. Cox spent about $550 million for radio spectrum licenses to support its wireless plans, it said, which include wireless broadband.

The 4G trials were being held in Phoenix (DMA 12) and San Diego (DMA 28) because these two markets had the "advanced technology-orientation of its residential and business customers" the cabler was looking for, as well as plenty of geographic variance in its terrain and suburban density.

Simultaneously as Cox concludes testing its "4G LTE technology" in these two major markets, it said it's initially deploying some of its wireless services (although using 3G CDMA) in smaller locales such as Hampton Roads, Va., Orange County, Calif., and Omaha, Neb. (DMA 76).

Cox was using its Arizona and California trials to test voice, data and video applications, with an eye toward eventually deploying 4G wireless broadband services for Cox subs in all its markets.

Teaming up with Cox for the 4G voice-HD streaming runs are Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei.

Video phone calls, at least on the tiny screen, never really caught on with the general public – although a growing number of subs to such telephonic IP services as Skype seem to be buying camera hardware-software for IP calls.

Still, whether video phone calls using large-screen HD monitors will prove popular (or feasible) is yet to be determined.