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Broadband Direct

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

Ciciora's Corner - Patent wars

September 29, 2012 5:59 pm | by Walt S. Ciciora, expert on cable and consumer electronics issues | Comments

Article I, Section 8 gives Congress the power to establish patent and copyright laws. Because it’s a constitutional issue, patent cases are tried in federal court and can be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court. A patent is the right to exclude someone from making, selling or using a patented invention.

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Open Mic - The future of TV Everywhere is here

September 29, 2012 5:39 pm | by Ramin Farassat, vice president of product marketing and business development at RGB Networks | Comments

While not every operator has rolled out a complete multi-screen TV Everywhere service offering, there is certainly sufficient activity worldwide for us to say that TV Everywhere is truly here. In fact, forward-thinking operators are already planning “what’s next” when it comes to TV Everywhere.

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Engineering-Wise - Kamen to keynote Expo

September 29, 2012 5:15 pm | by Mark Dzuban, president and CEO of the SCTE | Comments

Dean Kamen is keynoting SCTE Cable-Tec Expo. There’s no way to say that without it sounding like a promotional announcement, but maybe that’s what it should be. Because no matter how innovative we are – and, trust me, my hat is off to the cable community when it comes to new approaches – no one exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit and innovation like Kamen.

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Capital Currents - Cell phone standards and antitrust behavior

September 29, 2012 4:59 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, president of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

As those of us who participate in industry standards development are continually reminded, since standards have strategic and competitive importance, they must be developed using fair methods by committees that allow wide participation and consider all proposals.

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CPE: Digital transport adapters expand their horizons

September 28, 2012 2:39 pm | by Mike Robuck | Comments

In the family of customer premises equipment (CPE), digital transport adapters (DTAs) may lack cachet when compared with the latest set-top boxes, digital video recorders (DVRs) and gateways, but DTAs are playing an increasingly important role in cable operator deployments.

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Hacking on the rise

September 28, 2012 2:07 pm | by Brian Santo | Comments

There have always been hackers, but as computer and telecom networks merge and become more extensive and interconnected, it seems that the incidence of hacking is increasing. But the point is that no organization should feel cocky about its security.

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Fast and furious: Building a network in 60 days

September 5, 2012 12:55 pm | by Craig Kuhl, Contributing Editor | Comments

Assembling a network from scratch in 60 days isn’t for the faint of heart. Rarely, if ever, has it been done before on the scale of the Pac-12 Enterprises networks that will begin this month, delivering more than 850 events annually to seven linear channels, and eventually beyond.

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FPGAs: The “G” doesn’t stand for “Green” – but it could

September 5, 2012 11:40 am | by Aaron Behman, senior marketing manager, and Joe Palermo, systems architect for the broadcast and consumer segment, of Xilinx | Comments

In the last couple of years, service providers have developed a greater awareness of how they can take better control of their energy use and energy costs. For every piece of cable equipment produced, there is an associated, additional cost to cool that equipment.

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In Perspective - Money walks

September 4, 2012 10:54 pm | by Brian Santo | Comments

Cable operators really ought to figure out right now how to ally with merchants of all types to become a transaction processor. Buying and selling through remote controls would be a simple evolution in behavior for many viewers. The only differences will be the means of contact, and this is the important part: Cable operators could charge a transaction fee.

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Memory Lane - Wi-Fi’s long road

September 4, 2012 10:45 pm | by Stewart Schley, media and technology writer | Comments

In the lore of the wireless broadband technology known as Wi-Fi, the recognized “father” of the category is Victor Hayes, a former NCR Corp. engineer from the Netherlands who first chaired the famous 802.11 Working Group of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

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Open Mic - Next-gen campaign management systems

September 4, 2012 10:36 pm | by Jeffrey Sherwin, CEO of This Technology | Comments

Cable has steadily pursued dynamic ad insertion (DAI) to achieve better ad targeting and monetization. There have been learning moments along the way as vendors and operators have worked to make DAI a reality in different ways. One key learning that has come from this initial work is that the next phase of DAI needs to be built on campaign management systems (CMSs).

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Engineering-Wise - Putting lessons learned to work

September 4, 2012 10:15 pm | by Mark Dzuban, president and CEO of the SCTE | Comments

You have to work pretty hard to make a connection between yard work and SCTE Cable-Tec Expo, but Shawn and I moved into a new – more on that in a minute – home, and the last several months have been spent transitioning from chaos to order.

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Capital Currents - The FCC’s ‘annual’ report on video competition

September 4, 2012 10:05 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, president of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

The FCC recently released its 14th “Annual Assessment of the Status of Competition in the Market for the Delivery of Video Programming.” The most interesting part to me was the back story, and the nearly five-year interval between the 13th report and the 14th.

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The power equation: No factor too small or too big

August 20, 2012 2:01 pm | by Brian Santo | Comments

The electronics industry as a whole has been working on ways to save energy for years, but there are plenty of ways to save much, much more. Ongoing efforts are now involving everything from increasing the efficiency of products as basic as power supplies, to improving chip design for telecom equipment, to a nascent effort to define a means to manage the energy consumption of every element of entire communications networks.

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Options abound for boosting cable upstream speeds

August 20, 2012 1:33 pm | by Mike Robuck | Comments

In a shot across the cable industry’s bow, Verizon rolled out a revamped data lineup that included significant speed upgrades on the return path earlier this summer. To go with its 300 Mbps downstream speed, Verizon is now offering an upstream speed of 65 Mbps in addition to 150/65, 75/35 and 50/25 tiers. Comcast’s highest return path speed can burst up to 20 Mbps, while Cablevision clocks in with 15 Mbps on the upstream.

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