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The Lead

Comcast joins 4K club

December 18, 2014 1:05 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Comcast has officially dipped its large toe into the 4K waters with today’s announcement that it’s offering a limited slate of programming in Ultra 4K via an on demand app. Authenticated Comcast subscribers can watch 4K programming from NBC and USA Network for free with today’s launch of the Xfinity in UHD app, which currently works on just 2014 Samsung UHD TVs.

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Broadband Direct

Daily news and top headlines for broadband communications engineering and design professionals

Review: Connecting the Home for the Holidays

December 18, 2014 1:53 pm | by The Associated Press | Articles | Comments

To give you a feel for what that connectivity brings, here's a closer look at a few "smart" products for the home. There are plenty more if you look around. As I tried these out, I kept thinking to myself whether these products really needed that connectivity. You'll need to decide whether the benefits are worth the higher prices.

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Today in Engineering History: World's First Communication Satellite

December 18, 2014 1:41 pm | by Melissa Fassbender, Editor, PD&D | Articles | Comments

On this day in history, 1958, the world’s first communications satellite, SCORE (Signal Communication by Orbiting Relay Equipment) was launched into space. Dubbed “Chatterbox,” the satellite was also part of another first, as its launch marked the first successful use of an Atlas rocket as a launch vehicle.

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BlackBerry pitches Classic in Hail Mary

December 18, 2014 12:49 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

BlackBerry is returning to its roots with a new phone that features a traditional keyboard at a time when rival Apple and Android phones — and most smartphone customers — have embraced touch screens. With the Classic, BlackBerry is courting its core customer, the business user. The physical keyboard is something traditional BlackBerry users prefer because they find it easier than touch screens to type with.

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Today in Engineering History: First Airplane Flies at Kitty Hawk

December 17, 2014 1:18 pm | by Kaylie Duffy, Associate Editor, PD&D | Articles | Comments

On this day in history, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright successfully made the first flight in history, with a self-propelled, heavier-than-air machine. At 10:35 a.m. near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Orville ran the aircraft down a monorail track and into the air, staying airborne for 12 seconds and flying 120 feet.

Dish welcomes Netflix in

December 17, 2014 12:43 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Dish said it is integrating Netflix into its service, available as an app to customers who have a second-generation Hopper DVR. The company plans to also roll out the app out on its Joey, Super Joey and Wireless Joey clients. Dish is still considering integrating Netflix content directly into its search functionality.

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Boingo, Time Warner Cable boot up Passpoint-enabled roaming

December 17, 2014 12:24 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Time Warner Cable and Boingo are laying claim to being the first companies in the world to launch a reciprocal Passpoint-based roaming network for their customers. The two companies announced a bilateral Wi-Fi roaming deal back in June and said then that they would complete a Passpoint-enabled integration later this year. 

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Comcast hires Vega as director of government affairs, Central Valley

December 17, 2014 12:18 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Comcast has hired public affairs veteran Angela Vega as director of government affairs for the Central Valley. Vega, who will be based in Fresno, Calif., will report to Sue Vaccaro, senior director of government Affairs for Comcast California. In her new job, Vega will be responsible for Comcast’s local government affairs and policy issues in Fresno, Madera, Kings, Tulare, and Santa Barbara counties.

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Wi-Fi chipset maker Quantenna scores $22m in investment round

December 17, 2014 12:13 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Wi-Fi chipset vendor Quantenna Communications has raked in $22 million in its latest investment round and added two members to its board of directors in the process. Leading new investors in the latest round were Centerview Capital Technology, Vivint and NTT Group. In tandem with the financing, founding partner of Centerview Capital Ned Hooper and Harold Hughes were appointed to Quantenna’s board.

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NYC premiere of ‘The Interview’ canceled as threats fly

December 17, 2014 12:06 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

The blow that the hacking attack has dealt Sony is spreading beyond the entertainment corporation itself to theater chains and movie goers alike. And the financial toll is adding up too. Threats of violence against movie theaters. The New York premiere of "The Interview" canceled. Leaks of thousands more private emails. Lawsuits by former employees that could cost tens of millions in damages.

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CableLabs conducts D3.1 interop

December 16, 2014 5:34 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

CableLabs said six vendors participated in an interoperability test of some DOCSIS 3.1 equipment. CableLabs declined to identify any of the vendors present. A spokesperson for the organization said that the types of devices present included at least one CMTS, one cable modem, and some test equipment.

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T-Mobile announces data stash rollover program

December 16, 2014 1:39 pm | by Ben Munson, Wireless Week | News | Comments

T-Mobile is going commercial with an idea that undermines one of the fundamental tenets of the broadband industry: data is not a use-it-or-lose-it proposition. From now on, if a T-Mobile customer pays for X amount of a data a month, they get to keep the allotment and roll it over into the next pay period.

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Today in Engineering History: Estimating Meteoroid Strikes

December 16, 2014 1:29 pm | by Melissa Fassbender, Editor, PD&D | Articles | Comments

In 1962, the Explorer 16 launched to study meteoroid impacts on spacecraft. The second in a series of micrometeoroid satellites orbited by NASA, the Explorer 16 helped estimate the probability of meteoroid strikes. The data allowed for “a more confident definition of the relationship between penetration flux and material thickness to be derived.”

Vudu releases Jinni for search and discovery

December 16, 2014 1:19 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Vudu is adding features that other services introduced some time ago, but is going further than many rivals by letting viewers select sub-genres (action comedies, buddy comedies, etc.), or all movies by plot (heros, romance, time travel, etc.), or mood, or years (the ‘30s, the ‘70s, etc.)

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Roku, Comcast do deal on HBO Go, Showtime streaming

December 16, 2014 12:37 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

After an impasse that stretched back several years, Comcast finally has brokered a deal with Roku that allows its subscribers to access HBO Go and Showtime Anytime streams on their Roku devices. The new deal was announced on Tuesday in a blog posting by Comcast’s Matt Strauss, senior vice president and general manager, video services, and came the day after HBO announced its streaming service was live on the Amazon Fire TV. 

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CES: Alticast gears up with IoT, CableCard-less demos

December 16, 2014 12:28 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Multi-screen vendor Alticast will bring its cloud-based and Internet of Things (IoT) demos and products to next month’s Consumer Electronics Show as well as its CableCard-less security technology offering. With the recent passage of the STELA bill that dropped the mandate for CableCards, Alitcast’s AltiProtect demo at CES is noteworthy as the U.S. cable industry considers other security options that have been deployed abroad for years. 

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