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Broadband Direct

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

Tapping the Braintrust

November 30, 2000 7:00 pm | by Staff | Comments

The cable industry's chief technologists are under immense pressure to lay the foundation that will allow their companies to roll out myriad new services, including digital TV, interactive services, high-speed data and telephony. But as deployments move ever closer, new issues and obstacles crop up. CED Editorial Director Roger Brown, Multichannel News Technology Editor Jeff Baumgartner and ind...

ITV: Your new best friend?

October 31, 2000 7:00 pm | by Leslie Ellis, Technology Analyst | Comments

It used to be that interactive TV was the gently swirling eddy, minding its own business in the wide wake of broadcast digital TV. And what a wake it's been. Throughout the first half of this year, cable's top operators logged an average of 125,000 new digital customers weekly, for a grand total of more than 5.

Competition breeds innovation

October 31, 2000 7:00 pm | by Thomas G. Robinson, Executive Vice President, CBG Communications | Comments

It's often said that necessity is the mother of invention. Similarly, it can be said that competition is the mother of innovation. When it comes to technological innovation, this certainly seems evident in the system architectural concepts pursued by a spate of overbuilders around the country. The various ramifications of all the proposed overbuild activity in the cable services market was a ho...


High reliability: Pulling back the datacom curtain

October 31, 2000 7:00 pm | by Tom Cloonan, CTO; and Don Brown, Director of Software Engineering, CADANT | Comments

In order for the Internet to become the communications network, datacom infrastructure suppliers will have to stop talking about "carrier class" and actually deliver telecom-grade products. Why carrier-class reliability? As Multiple System Operators (MSOs) begin to deliver enhanced services made possible by DOCSIS 1.

Open access: It could get worse

October 31, 2000 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editorial Director, Broadband | Comments

One of the hottest techno-political conversations that's going on in boardrooms around the country these days centers on the issue of service convergence within a cable system. Engineers and network planners are taking good, long looks at their network architectures and are beginning to wonder why they continue to build what is, essentially, a "three silo" network, with separate silos dedicated...

Cable-commerce having growing pains

October 31, 2000 7:00 pm | by Craig Kuhl, Contributing Editor | Comments

Cable operators eyeing the staggering potential of e-commerce shouldn't count their change anytime soon, because getting to the point of being able to be a viable middleman between consumer and merchant is fraught with danger and expense. You've seen the forecasts: the revenue potential of e-commerce (or t-commerce as some television-centric companies call it) worldwide is projected to be $3 tr...

Questions loom over retail sale of modems

October 31, 2000 7:00 pm | by Maggie Curran, Marketing Manager, Best Data Products | Comments

Broadband is booming. Everywhere you look, there is a new report or a new study predicting the millions of subscribers for high-speed Internet services, with nothing but more growth being forecast for upcoming years. Recent research shows consumer demand for broadband will explode, with predictions that 16 million U.

Hildenbrand breaks the mold

October 31, 2000 7:00 pm | by Leslie Ellis, Technology Analyst | Comments

No digital hand-wringing over at Cablevision Systems: Its plans to initiate a 100 percent swap-out of existing analog and digital boxes make it the most bullish MSO in the land. It happened last year, on Sept. 16, when Cablevision handed to Sony a $1 billion order for 3 million digital set-tops. Not only did Cablevision raise the bar on how to attract digital subs to cable—it also leapfro...


Ciciora's Corner

September 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Walter S. Ciciora, Ph.D., Recognized Industry Expert on Cable and Consumer Electronics Issues | Comments

It is amazing how an idea can be accepted without question until it becomes painfully obvious that it is flawed. Perhaps it is the painfulness of the truth that forces a blind pursuit of the idea in the hopes that the obvious just isn't so. Then there is a breakthrough. Afterwards, everyone claims they knew it was a dumb idea all along, but they were "just following orders.

Capital Currents

September 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Interface Speculator and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

Here comes another interface dispute. The previous dispute dealt with a baseband interface for carrying compressed digital video. Now we are looking at two contenders for a digital baseband interface with a data rate high enough to carry uncompressed HDTV from a set-top box to a display. This is important to the cable industry because it supports full screen bitmapped graphics, necessary for hi...

In Perspective

September 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editorial Director, Broadband | Comments

Within these pages, we write about new products and technologies that enable new services, or perhaps make people more productive. We often write with a sense of urgency, noting that the world is becoming intensely more competitive. But is competition truly knocking on the door, or is that just a consumer- and politically-driven pipe dream? I've had to ask myself the same question after reading...

Defining the Internet appliance

September 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Jeff Thermond, VP and GM, Broadcom's Home Networking Business Unit | Comments

It's a question of when, not if. When Internet appliances become the next hot product market, I mean. Why am I so confident that the time for Internet appliances is just now upon us? Three reasons: One, history is repeating itself. Two, Internet appliances actually solve real-world problems for consumers.

Fiber-to-the-home deployment inches forward

September 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Craig Kuhl, Contributing Editor | Comments

The inching forward of fiber-to-the home (FTTH) deployment by a small but widening cross-section of multi-service providers is prompting a re-evaluation of business models which for years have tagged FTTH as too costly, too cumbersome and unnecessary. With falling fiber and electronic equipment prices and the intense competition for video, voice and data customers, the blue sky vision of runnin...


Getting to the nirvana-networked home

September 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Leslie Ellis, Industry Analyst | Comments

The TV knows you don't want to be disturbed unless it's important, like one of your kids calling to report a fender-bender. You elect to send the big game to the big screen, and set your options to let only certain calls through—but opt to view the caller ID info of any incoming calls on the TV.

Hammering out Standards

September 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by David Iler, Contributing Editor | Comments

The home networking standards sector is rife with activity, as several standards groups vie to firm up their individual specifications, evolve existing specs and create new ones. Driven by stratospheric marketing projections and escalating speed and feature requirements, standards groups are staking out technical ground before the expected mass market, and operators looking to support the stand...



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