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Broadband Direct

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

Must-carry, Firewire and PSIP

August 31, 1998 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Must-Carry Maven and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

The FCC has proposed seven alternatives for must-carry policies during the transition from today's analog broadcasting to digital broadcasting. These range from requiring cable systems to start carrying all digital TV broadcasts as soon as they begin, to not requiring any digital carriage until all analog broadcasts have terminated, and a variety of intermediate alternatives.

Falling, with style

August 31, 1998 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editor in Chief | Comments

Already, the local telephone marketplace is experiencing consolidation frenzy, with SBC Communications, Bell Atlantic (and maybe) US West seemingly poised to control the country's local connections. Long distance carriers AT&T and MCI are either making acquisitions or are being acquired as well. AT&T, of course, announced its intention to buy Tele-Communications Inc.

Squeezing Cadillac services into economy plant

August 31, 1998 8:00 pm | by Don Sipes, Vice President of Technology, Transmission Network Systems, Scientific-Atlanta | Comments

Cable services that once were considered futuristic, such as interactive video-on-demand, fast Internet access and IP telephony, are quickly becoming today's reality, and their rapid rise is placing increasing demands on the hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) networks that provide them. Today's advanced networks must provide for reliable two-way communications, scalability to support ever-increasing amoun...

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Pushing fiber deeper in HFC networks

August 31, 1998 8:00 pm | by Dr. Lawrence A. Stark, VP Strategic Marketing; and Bill Moore, VP and General Manager for Broadband Communications | Comments

If you are a cable TV system engineer, you can't be blamed for feeling just a little bit smug these days. It wasn't that long ago that everywhere you looked, national publications such as Forbes, Wired, The Wall Street Journal, etc. were pushing and shoving to be the first to hang the cable industry out to dry.

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Implementing DWDM-based networks

August 31, 1998 8:00 pm | by Esteban Sandino, Manager of Advanced Network Technologies; and James W. Neil, Project Engineer, TCI Communications Inc. | Comments

Dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) has emerged as a practical alternative for implementation of HFC networks. The basic principle involves the transmission of multiple wavelengths over a single fiber strand to individual fiber hubs. These wavelengths are selected from the 1550 nm optical transmission grid as defined in the ITU wavelength standard.

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Details of the FCC's Navigation Devices decision

July 31, 1998 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Set-top Box Navigator and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

Cable subscribers will be allowed to buy and own their own cable boxes, and connect them to the cable network. An interface being worked out by CableLabs will allow the operator-supplied security element to be separated from the customer-owned digital set-top box. One surprise is that after 2005, this security interface is mandatory; cable operators will not be allowed to provide boxes with emb...

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Potential merger impacts

July 31, 1998 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editor in Chief | Comments

For example, I still wonder how the two cultures will co-exist. Can AT&T shed its monopolistic legacy and actually become a communications company that thrives in a competitive world? Clearly, the company's leaders recognize that it must make that transition, but it's easier said than done. And what about Cable Television Laboratories? It counts on TCI for about $2.

Taking a close look

July 31, 1998 8:00 pm | by Fred Dawson, Contributing Editor | Comments

AT&T's decision to purchase Tele-Communications Inc. no doubt will add clout to the cable industry's efforts to drive HFC technology development, but it remains to be seen whether the deal becomes a force for cohesion or upheaval as the industry pursues deployment of advanced services. The two-sided nature of the potential impact the AT&T/TCI deal might have on the cable industry was la...

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HDTV

July 31, 1998 8:00 pm | by Dana Cervenka, Managing Editor | Comments

Ready or not, here it comes. Broadcasters will begin transmitting some high definition television programming late this fall, and have announced their chosen HD formats: NBC and CBS have committed to 1080i, while ABC and Fox have opted to use 720p. Given that cable operators reach about 67 percent of all TV households in the U.

Taking charge of the in-home network

July 31, 1998 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editor | Comments

Imagine a consumer's home that includes a digital TV, a digital VCR, a digital cable set-top, and various other gadgets like stereo systems, computers and camcorders all interconnected. The power of such a home "network" would be immediately apparent in that consumers could view programs or information from any of the above-named sources without problems.

Moving to the head of the class

July 31, 1998 8:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty, Associate Editor | Comments

To the casual observer, it looks like everything in the cable industry is finally coming together. Operators are continuing to play to their strengths by swapping or selling systems to fortify their competitive advantage. Retail availability of high-speed cable modems continues on its fast track. And faith in the industry's broadband pipe (and the advanced services it can deliver) continues to ...

Adding bite to the bark

July 31, 1998 8:00 pm | by Craig Kuhl, Contributing Editor | Comments

As the cable industry readies itself for the advent of DOCSIS (Data-Over-Cable-Service Interface-Specification)-based standards for cable modems, ensuring the privacy and security of a network is attracting the attention, and concern, of cable operators and customers in the burgeoning business market.

SCTE

June 30, 1998 8:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty, Associate Editor | Comments

Emergency Alert Systems: Get ready for EAS With the deadline for EAS (Emergency Alert System) compliance approaching, a number of companies are offering solutions to help cable operators prepare for the new requirements. Spectrum/Mega Hertz has introduced a new addressable trunk switch designed to work with the EASpectrum Comb Generator, to allow systems serving up to 18 different communities t...

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Who's afraid of the big, bad telcos?

June 30, 1998 8:00 pm | by James Careless | Comments

Canada's telephone companies have long been demanding access to cable's traditional turf. But some of these companies have been doing much more than just talk: they've been ploughing ahead with leading-edge network trials, testing not just video signal distribution, but much, much more. NBTel: Lobbying openly When it comes to telcos attacking cable's traditional monopoly, New Brunswick Telephon...

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It's IP vs. ATM in all-out-war

June 30, 1998 8:00 pm | by Fred Dawson, Contributing Editor | Comments

Practitioners of the anything-but-ATM data networking religion are finding ever more reasons to believe IP-based transport solutions represent a winning approach to taking on incumbent carriers, but they shouldn't get too carried away. Even as the rapidly expanding power of IP (Internet protocol) Layer 3-based architectures opens unlimited service potential at unprecedented levels of cost effic...

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