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Broadband Direct

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

Taking the set-top out of the equation

July 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Roger Pience, CTO; and Dan L. Trayler, VP Sales; Macrodyne | Comments

The technical capabilities of cable TV systems are being constantly enhanced and expanded beyond the traditional entertainment services to provide cable operators with new revenue streams. For many years, the cable industry has attempted to implement methods to improve the cable/consumer electronics interface while protecting the cable operator's investment in programming.

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VCR functionality gets up close and personal

July 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty, Associate Editor | Comments

It wasn't all that long ago that when people talked about time shifting, they were one of two things. They were either rabid film buffs that had a lock on MGM's 1960 semi-classic sci-fi flick, "The Time Machine," starring Rod Taylor; or they were rabid "Star Trek" fans that got off on episodes featuring the Federation's time-traveling nemesis, "Q.

MPEG - 4: Cable's new hope for streaming media?

July 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Dana Mendell, Executive Editor | Comments

As the consumer's hunger for ever more bandwidth and new applications such as broadband multimedia over the Internet grows, cable operators are compelled to keep up with demand by finding more bandwidth-efficient solutions and even more creative ways to deliver content. One technology that's currently piquing the interest of cable operators and manufacturers alike is the MPEG-4 standard, often ...

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Welcome to the 'SMART HOUSE'

July 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor | Comments

Thanks to the potential of the residential gateway, the home of the future is starting to take on Jetsonian proportions. Get ready, George and Astro, the future may not be very far away. Serving as the "brains" of the "smart home," the residential gateway is being touted as a portal device that distributes and shares the bandwidth that runs in and out of homes, enabling a cadre of voice, video ...

VOD

June 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Staff | Comments

Following a series of fits and starts and well-publicized trials like Time Warner's Full Service Network in Orlando, video-on-demand (VOD) finally appears ready to erupt as the cable industry moves further into 2000 and beyond. That time couldn't get here soon enough for the domestic cable industry, which continues to lose market share to orbital competitors like DirecTV and EchoStar, and which...

Vendors put VOD on front burner

June 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor; and Mike Lafferty, Associate Editor | Comments

Spurred by aggressive moves by cable MSOs such as Time Warner Cable, Insight Communications, Cox and Comcast, the lucrative promise of video-on-demand (VOD) is finally morphing from a mere broadband pipe-dream to a budding reality. Though 2000 has been witness to a surge of VOD deployments and market trials, VOD's true day in the sun won't likely arrive until next year.

Time is money, Part 2

June 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Thomas G. Robinson, Executive Vice President, CBG Communications | Comments

Ah, summer! In television land, the shows now run the gamut from summer re-runs to innovative try-outs, such as the latest programming phenomenon, "Survivor." In comparison, you could say that the cable industry's forays into the business and institutional marketplace have seemingly run more toward the retreads and less toward the cutting-edge.

Regulate the Internet?

June 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Internet Irregular and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

Loudly they shout, "Don't regulate the Internet!" And then softly, they add, "unless it gives us some business benefit." Who? Well, practically anyone might, but this time I caught the TV set manufacturers saying it. They want the government to regulate Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and particularly cable operators who provide cable modem service, because they think it will help their busi...

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Skirting Disaster

June 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by James Miller, CBCP, Business Continuity Planning Manager, MediaOne Broadband Services | Comments

In 1988, the Illinois Bell Telephone system suffered a catastrophic fire in its Hinsdale switching center. The fire impacted 38,000 customers, caused an estimated $60 million in damage and left many commercial customers without reliable service for more than four weeks (1). In the summer of 1998, the Bell Canada Central office in Toronto experienced a fire that impacted 113,000 telephone lines,...

VOD gets real in Hawaii

June 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Metod Lebar, Transmission Systems Director, Oceanic Cable, TWC Division, Hawaii | Comments

Spread the news: Video-on-demand is real. Since the beginning of this year, any digital cable TV subscriber of Time Warner's Oceanic Cable division on the island of Oahu has had access to VOD. Fifty thousand Scientific-Atlanta Explorer set-tops have been deployed over a base of 256,000 subscribers, and hundreds more are being installed every week.

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Flying Blind

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

Reliability, performance and signal quality aren't just routine, matter-of-fact cable functions anymore. The dawning of the digital age is seeing to that. Intense competition and the critical need to serve a growing number of digital customers with highly reliable, picture-perfect quality services, including video, telephony, data, IP telephony and more to come, are elevating the big three syst...

The good, the bad, and the ugly

June 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Six Technology Companieshave Formed the WirelessDSL Consortium Roger Brown, Editorial Director, Broadband | Comments

Has video-on-demand's time finally come? After years (decades, really) of hype, false promises and downright wishful thinking, is the industry finally on the cusp of turning over the control of television consumption to the viewer? Can it really take a run at the massive home rental market by allowing subscribers to select and purchase programs, then pause, rewind or fast forward them? Yes.

You can't get ahead by looking back

May 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editorial Director, Broadband | Comments

Since 1975, we've been governed by five different presidents; watched the New York Yankees win five World Series titles; been to countless George Lucas/Steven Spielberg films; awakened to a new day more than 9,000 times; forgotten that Johnny Carson is the true king of late-night TV; survived the Disco Era, Punk Rock and Grunge; witnessed the fall of the Soviet Union and the destruction of the ...

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DSL providers grab for cable's data bounty

May 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by James Careless, Contributing Editor | Comments

The Canadian digital subscriber line (DSL) market is a paradox. On the one hand, market analysts are predicting a banner year for Canadian DSL. In fact, the Yankee Group's Canadian Market Strategies March 2000 report says, "The year 2000 will mark the beginning of a business DSL boom for the Canadian marketplace.

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Another flavor of must-carry

May 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Datacasting Dervish and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

You are all familiar with the must-carry dispute between broadcasters and cable operators—broadcasters want cable operators to carry their digital signals in their entirety. And cable operators don't want to. But here's a new flavor of must-carry—TV networks want their local broadcast affiliates to carry the digital network feeds in their entirety, and the broadcast stations don't w...

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