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Broadband Direct

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

HDTV interference to unlicensed devices

April 30, 1998 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, HDTV Observer and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

Low-power communications transmitters can be operated in the United States without radio licenses, provided that their power is low enough that they will not cause interference. Garage door openers, wireless LANs, wireless headphones and motion sensors are all examples of unlicensed low-power transmitters.

TCI lures the big fish

April 30, 1998 8:00 pm | by Leslie Ellis, Contributing Editor | Comments

It's been nine months since the cable industry, with TCI Chairman and CEO John Malone at the helm, penned a letter on CableLabs stationery that will long be remembered as the shiny lure that attracted the trophy fish. That two-page letter, signed by Malone, CableLabs CEO Richard Green, and Continental Cablevision President Bill Schleyer, was sent to a "Who's Who" of consumer electronics and inf...

Shoehorning digital into analog

April 30, 1998 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editor | Comments

Ask anyone where video is headed and they'll tell you it's going digital — eventually. But even the most bullish digital proponent will tell you it will take years before the hundreds of millions of analog TVs and VCRs are truly obsolete. So, what should cable operators do in the meantime? Here's one idea: Deliver both.

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DWDM ready for cable's prime time

April 30, 1998 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editor | Comments

Technological advancements and cost reductions in optical dense wavelength division multiplexing technology are causing cable operators to re-examine their fiber optic architectures, and are giving them an opportunity to increase bandwidth while lowering system maintenance costs. A case in point is cable giant Tele-Communications Inc.

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ADSL's dirty little secret

March 31, 1998 7:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, AM Radio Listener and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

ADSL has been around in concept for about 10 years. The idea is simple. Those same copper wire pairs that carry analog voice telephone calls can also be used to carry digital data. The voice signal uses only the frequencies up to about 4 kHz. Copper wires have a larger bandwidth than that. But getting from concept to practice has been difficult.

It's easier than you might think

March 31, 1998 7:00 pm | by Linc Reed-Nickerson, Tektronix Inc. | Comments

You've just been told you need to start using the reverse path in your system for digital services. From what you've heard and read, it's going to be a major headache. You're expecting the worst. You're filled with fear, uncertainty and doubt . . . but you shouldn't be. Making the reverse path work correctly has the potential of being a big project in a small system, or a huge project in a big ...

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Ready? Set . . . Go! (in reverse)

March 31, 1998 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

For, as much as the industry would like the world to believe differently, the vast majority of cable plant in existence today isn't ready for two-way service. Equipment manufacturers say that almost all the gear being shipped out today is two-way, but according to our research, less than one mile out of five is currently two-way active.

Squashing the Millennium Bug

March 31, 1998 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editor | Comments

In a mere 21 months, the world is going to stop. At least that's the impression you get by reading some of the stories about the "Year 2000 bug," that odd affliction that is threatening to affect countless computers and the software that runs them. Already, major consumer magazines are talking about how everything from the U.

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Mapping out a modem strategy (MSO finds fast track to profitable data)

March 31, 1998 7:00 pm | by Dan Spoelman, TCA Cable TV; and Gary Law, Terayon Communication Systems | Comments

College Station, Texas (population: 63,000) is the site where TCA Cable TV Inc., the 16th-largest U.S. cable operator, with systems passing 1.2 million homes, has tested out its options in the cable modem business. TCA is now moving ahead with a refreshingly innovative approach. Many data service deployments by major cable operators have depended on expensive and time-consuming plant clean up, ...

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Interactivity draws viewers in (betting the farm on interactivity)

March 31, 1998 7:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty and Dana Cervenka, CED Staff | Comments

When it comes to interactivity, it seems that the old axiom of "if you wait long enough, everything comes back in style," can now be applied. Just like the bell-bottom jeans that are flopping all over the place again, and the return of the Volkswagen Beetle, interactivity is making its comeback. In 1992, it was just "around the corner," and then it dropped off the scene faster than a powder-blu...

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Broadcast conditional access

February 28, 1998 7:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Pay TV Oscillator and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

Consider user-friendliness. When you change channels, do you have to take out one card and plug in a different one? That's a loser. How about a TV set with several slots? But maybe the TV set manufacturers won't put more than one slot in a TV set. Then the broadcasters in town will have to agree on a single scrambling system that uses the same card for all broadcasters in town.

Technology as a business

February 28, 1998 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

In many ways, though, we really haven't changed anything, with one exception. We're now spicing many of our stories with a dash of "business." Why? Because we've recognized what most people in the industry are also coming to understand: that technology and technologists don't reside in a vacuum. Technology doesn't exist for technology's sake alone; there has to be a reason to deploy it, or even...

The HI_PHY effect

February 28, 1998 7:00 pm | by Rod Gross, Ultracom Communications | Comments

Cable operators are in the process of upgrading their networks and rolling out two-way data services in a systematic plant-by-plant migration to a completely digital infrastructure. The speed at which cable plants are being upgraded is limited by the amount of investment needed to achieve low upstream noise conditions required by today's cable modems.

Getting a handle on interoperability

February 28, 1998 7:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty and Dana Cervenka, CED staff | Comments

Teamwork. What a concept. Supposedly, that's what Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Little League, high school football, the cheer-leading squad, Army (Navy, Air Force, Marine, Coast Guard) boot camp, and even marriage are all about. Yet, practically speaking, the virtues of teamwork have never really been extolled, let alone practiced, in the cable industry to any widespread, sustained degree.

Cable's Internet services now getting down to businesses

February 28, 1998 7:00 pm | by Craig Kuhl, Contributing Editor | Comments

The business side of Internet and high-speed data services is lagging behind the lightning-quick pace of emerging technologies, prompting cable operators to mine deeper and wider for potential new Internet and data customers. The new business of Internet service, and how it fits into a cable operator's business plan, is a 1,000-piece puzzle, with 900 pieces left to assemble.

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