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Broadband Direct

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

Taking aim on ITV

November 30, 2000 7:00 pm | by Leslie Ellis, Technology Analyst | Comments

By the end of this month, cable could count 8.1 million digital cable subscribers, if the top-seven U.S. cable providers continue to attract new customers at the same rate in the fourth quarter as they did in the first half of the year. That's nearly nine percent penetration of about 68 million basic cable subscribers, at an aggregate run rate of about 162,000 new sign-ups each week.

Voting vs. messing with the market

November 30, 2000 7:00 pm | by Walter S. Ciciora, Ph.D., Recognized Industry Expert on Cable and Consumer Electronics Issues | Comments

I am writing this just a few days before going to the polls to vote in the Presidential election. Voting is considered a sacred duty in the United States. Those who don't vote are criticized as being not worthy of democracy. Even those who fail to vote agree that losing the right to vote would be a great tragedy.

Interesting times

November 30, 2000 7:00 pm | by Jim Chiddix, Chief Technical Officer, Time Warner Cable | Comments

We live in "interesting times." Anxiety created by a turbulent and poorly seen future is reflected in the gyrations of the stock market and a kaleidoscope of breathless news stories. Washington, with urging from every stripe of lobbyist, seems desperate to understand, what, if any, regulatory stance it should take.

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Balancing power options is no easy task

November 30, 2000 7:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty, Associate Editor | Comments

The cable TV industry has come a long way in the last decade or so, in a lot of different ways. With the introduction of two-way systems for high-speed data and interactive television, and now with the advent of lifeline telephony services, network reliability and the powering systems that make it all possible have become absolutely vital.

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Doing my best Jeane Dixon

November 30, 2000 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editorial Director, Broadband | Comments

This time last year, in this space, I cast a deeply sarcastic eye on the events surrounding the cable industry. I then made a humorous (I hope) attempt to predict the major events of 2000. In that commentary, the goal was to look at current trends and match them with outlandish outcomes, all in an effort to make readers think about the kinds of things that just might happen.

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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...

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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 www.Cadant.com | 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...

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