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Broadband Direct

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

Open Mic: Cable’s best strategy for winning the multi-screen numbers game

May 8, 2013 12:23 am | by Buddy Snow, President, CEO, Morega Systems | Comments

Service providers are transitioning to a multi-screen service model, offering subscribers access to media content at home and on the go across TVs, PCs, and mobile devices. These media mobility services remain annoyingly cumbersome today, but the industry recognizes the need to push forward and smooth out the wrinkles as quickly as possible.

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Ciciora’s Corner: The Second Half of the Chess Board

May 7, 2013 8:51 pm | by Walt S. Ciciora, Expert on cable and consumer electronics issues | Comments

Futurist Ray Kurzweil is reported to have coined the phrase “the second half of the chessboard” to illustrate the impact of exponential growth. The cable industry and the semiconductor industry have both experienced exponential growth. Let’s use this interesting idea to take a closer look at exponential growth.

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Memory Lane: Predicting the Internet, cable-style

May 7, 2013 8:37 pm | by Stewart Schley, Media & technology writer | Comments

If you’ve been around awhile, or are of “a certain age,” you may recall a few early attempts to couple cable’s distribution infrastructure with text and graphical information. You know: stuff you might label today as “content.” Starting in the early 1980s, a parade of initiatives flew across cable’s radar, launched by some big names (then) in media and publishing, plus a few homespun start-ups.

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Engineering-Wise: Cable’s place atop the operations world

May 7, 2013 8:26 pm | by Marty Davidson, VP Engineering & Network Operations, SCTE | Comments

Cable has made incredible progress in network and service reliability/availability. From vast improvements of the early days to the introduction of lifeline services like voice, we have reduced customer reported troubles from 40 percent to under 3 percent in an amazingly short time. Network troubles have followed a similar trajectory.

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Capital Currents: That notorious copyright decision

May 7, 2013 8:10 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

You’ve certainly read about that notorious decision by the Librarian of Congress that made it illegal for a cell phone owner to “unlock” a cell phone so that it can be used with a different carrier. But that same decision, which came out last October, contains other elements, including some that apply more directly to our business.

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Chasing big business

March 8, 2013 6:17 pm | by Craig Kuhl, Contributing Editor | Comments

The lucrative small- to mid-size business (SMB) services market is growing organically to include larger enterprises and is now in phase two as cable operators and related service providers accelerate the expansion of their business services model to include the enterprise market.

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Bang the DRM slowly

March 7, 2013 6:10 pm | by Brian Santo | Comments

There isn’t a single legal concept that has inspired more heartburn in more facets of content distribution than digital rights management (DRM).  Consumers have a pretty good idea what DRM is, and plenty vociferously despise it with the same loathing they have for banks, airlines and their communications service providers.

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Open Mic: Navigating television’s perfect storm

March 7, 2013 5:37 pm | by Jim Tanner, Chief architect at Clearleap | Comments

For today’s well-equipped TV watcher, pausing a program on the living room TV set and resuming it on the portable tablet is merely a matter of pressing buttons or swiping screens. A click here, a tap there, and in seconds the program hops from one screen to the next, uninterrupted and ready to resume. Or so it appears.

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Cache as cache can: cable cozies up to nDVR

March 7, 2013 2:46 pm | by Mike Robuck | Comments

Network-based DVR services have been waiting in the wings for years now, but their big debut seems to be only a matter of time now that content rights issues are thawing out and the network architectures are taking shape. nDVR will be, when paired with a content delivery network or cloud, one of the legs that TV Everywhere services stand on once it’s enabled.

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New Products: Pasternack, Multicom, Fujitsu

March 6, 2013 6:21 pm | by CED staff | Comments

Pasternack Enterprises has a new line of 50-watt medium- power attenuators; Multicom has introduced a clear QAM SD/HD video distribution solution that eliminates the need for a set-top box; Fujitsu has announced the a Packet Optical Networking Platform (Packet ONP) for optical transport network (OTN) switching.

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In perspective: Wait... what?

March 6, 2013 5:54 pm | by Brian Santo | Comments

Once upon a time, Time Warner was a giant media company with both a programming arm and a distribution arm. Investors demanded Time Warner Cable be spun off. After buying the rest of NBC Universal, Comcast now looks pretty similar to 2008 Time Warner.

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Capital Currents: FCC broadcast spectrum incentive auctions

March 6, 2013 5:42 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

The big picture on FCC incentive auctions of broadcast spectrum, includes two key elements: 1) The transfer of at least 120 MHz of spectrum for mobile broadband use; and 2) The generation of enough revenues to pay broadcaster relocation costs, the funding of a national broadband public safety network, as well as support for deficit reduction.

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Ciciora's Corner: Technology needs rich people

March 6, 2013 5:31 pm | by Walt S. Ciciora, Expert on cable and consumer electronics issues | Comments

In some quarters, wealth has received a bad name. A little thought reveals that our industry and our careers strongly depend on there being “rich people.” Start-up endeavors need investors, people with at least a little excess money they can put at risk in hopes of making a return.

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Engineering-Wise: The intelligent cable network

March 6, 2013 5:18 pm | by Daniel Howard Senior vice president of engineering and CTO of the SCTE | Comments

Besides the capacity and robustness improvement,  there’s something else about DOCSIS 3.1 and its use of OFDM) that excites me:  the network intelligence it enables. We already use DOCSIS  devices as network health probes, but OFDM will essentially  turn our equipment into multifunction test generators that can  be used to measure most of the key RF performance parameters.

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Memory Lane: When the sky was the limit

March 5, 2013 9:15 pm | by Stewart Schley Media & technology writer | Comments

On Dec. 13, 1975, RCA gave the cable industry a pre-Christmas gift to remember when the first of RCA’s Satcom series of geostationary satellites was launched by NASA from a Delta 3000 rocket. That satellite and its progeny have endured for decades as an essential conduit for cable programming.

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