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Broadband Direct

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

Cable - ready TVs

July 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Digital Cable Dreamer and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

Although most of the cable TV and digital TV receiver interconnection and interface issues have been resolved, there is still work to be done, and at least one dispute. The issues are seen most clearly within the context of defining the "digital cable-ready TV set." The consumer electronics manufacturers view cable-ready TVs as those that connect to the drop cable with an F-connector.

CE straightjacket for cable

July 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Walter Ciciora | Comments

Several things happened recently which caused me to pause and wonder about where we are headed with cable set-top boxes. Is the consumer electronics model being imposed on cable in a manner that will stifle our video future? Moore's Law In early June, I was at the Montreux Television Symposium in Switzerland attending a workshop on Electronic Program Guides.

Strategies for success

July 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

US West Communications' efforts to redefine itself and become more competitive in a changing marketplace are providing some interesting insight into how telecommunications companies are planning to compete over the coming decade. US West last month was being courted by two suitors-Global Crossing and Qwest Communications.

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New tools transform broadband online

July 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Fred Dawson, Contributing Editor | Comments

Rapid advances in software tools of every description are lowering the bandwidth threshold for broadband Internet services to where applications once deemed to be the domain of interactive TV will soon be transmitted at under one megabit per second. Not only are these new tools making it possible to create fully interactive, media-rich content and advertising operating at full-screen resolution...

Changing the recipe for telephony?

July 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by David Iler, Associate Editor | Comments

The table is nearly set for the cable TV industry to implement one of the most appetizing choices in its expanding pantry of subscriber services: Internet Protocol-based telephony. However, before the party begins and IP telephony is actually brought to the table and made available to hungry subscribers, several key "ingredients" need to be added to the mix, including: Improved voice quality Re...

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Is it time to take the plunge?

May 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by James Careless | Comments

When it comes to IP telephony, Canada's Big Four cable companies are like swimmers at a pool: Groupe Videotron and Cogeco Cable are both diving in headfirst, while Rogers Cablesystems and Shaw Commu-nications are shivering on the sidelines, waiting for the water to warm up. Groupe Videotron makes the biggest splash With 1.

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Preventing power outages without batteries

May 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Staff | Comments

Editor's note: This article by Robert Bridge of Multipower Inc. and Jorge Restrepo of Integral Broadband is available as an Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) document. You will need a copy of the free Adobe Acrobat player to download and view it. If you don't have Acrobat installed, click here to obtain a copy from Adobe.

Marriage is a sign of the times

May 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editor in Chief | Comments

When we're older, we're all going to look back at this era of telecommunications history and realize that this was a major turning point in the Internet Age. Big, dominant communications companies are merging, acquiring the expertise they need to redefine themselves as they struggle to stay relevant in today's new world.

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Local loop dynamics

May 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Local loop litigator and President of Telecommunications and Technology Poicy | Comments

The FCC has a proceeding underway dealing with the deployment of broadband services by local phone companies, and they've just added two very interesting topics: the sharing of local loop spectrum between the incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) and competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs); and the radio emissions from new broadband digital subscriber local loop (xDSL) technologies.

MSOs on verge of deploying assortment of digital services

May 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editor-in-Chief | Comments

They say that once everything goes digital, you can do anything. Long-held beliefs and practices, like dedicated, 6-MHz "channels," are supplanted with bitstreams that simply don't care what the payload is. That's good news for cable operators, who can leverage their wide bandwidths, along with digital compression, to dramatically improve signal quality while simultaneously expanding the number...

Migrating new services over Sonet

May 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Bill Zornow, Director of Network Operations, Buckeye Telesystems | Comments

As a facilities-based, cable-affiliated regional competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC), Buckeye Telesystems is making strides to generate a base of new business customers for a mix of dialtone voice, data, video and ISP services. Concurrent projects underway at Buckeye Cablesystems, the affiliated cable TV provider, include the ongoing upgrade to hybrid fiber/coaxial infrastructure and a ro...

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Building the cornerstone

May 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Dick Gulley, Staff Applications Engineer, Scientific-Atlanta Inc. | Comments

The impact of convergence and digital technology on the cable industry is leading to major changes in network design and management, and probably nowhere is this more evident than at the headend. The combination of video, voice and data is placing tremendous loads on cable systems that were built just for the delivery of TV programming.

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Planning for the future

May 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Michael Laferty, Associate Editor | Comments

The digital revolution-whether it is video, voice or data-is shaking the cable industry down to its very roots…literally and figuratively. At the very heart of this revolution is the cable headend. With the addition of high-speed data, digital TV, a host of interactive services, and finally, lifeline telephony, old structures and old designs simply won't do.

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Creating smarter headends

May 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Patrick Harshman, Ph.D., Director of Product Line Management, Digital Systems; and Elisa Camahort, Product Marketing Specialist, Harmonic Inc. | Comments

It used to be simple. MSOs provided analog video service, and telcos offered data and telephone service. Though they had the same customers, MSOs and telcos didn't compete. Now, MSOs face ongoing competition from broadcasters and satellite operators, and new competition from telcos with xDSL services, to offer subscribers advanced broadband services.

Prosperity's dangers in a service industry

May 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Walter S. Ciciora | Comments

For most (but certainly not all) Americans, this is a time of great prosperity. Employment is at record peace-time highs. Most employees feel somewhat secure in their jobs. But because these are more competitive times, the degree of security is a little bit less than in previous economic up-cycles. Luxury goods and premium brands sell well.

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