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Broadband Direct

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

Memory Lane: Power play

September 16, 2013 8:29 pm | by Stewart Schley, Media & technology writer | Comments

In Chicago, the great fire of 1871 wiped out much of the business district, and the capitalists came running. The fire’s fury had produced an attractive, greenfield opportunity for building infrastructure in what was the world’s fastest growing city. Nearly two dozen electricity entrepreneurs competed to carve out operations in small delivery sectors.

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Upfront: OTT takes a nip out of video subscriber numbers

September 16, 2013 8:26 pm | by Brian Santo | Comments

Over the top services (OTT) are affecting the pay TV business. Maybe only a little, but measurably. In the second quarter AT&T and Verizon added video customers (233,000 and 140,000 respectively), but their gains do not even come close to offsetting the subscriber losses experienced by most of the top cable operators and both satellite providers.

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Capital Currents: The Dish “Hopper” Case

September 16, 2013 3:30 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

To create the AutoHop functionality, Dish technicians in Cheyenne, Wyoming manually view Fox’s primetime programming each night and technologically mark the beginning and end of each commercial. The program content is not altered in any way. The electronically marked files are then uplinked in Wyo., and eventually transmitted to subscribers.

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In Perspective: Snarter

September 16, 2013 3:25 pm | by Brian Santo | Comments

“Reverse retrans” might merit some consideration. The Time Warner Cable / CBS dispute merely underlines what everyone knows: the retransmission consent process is utterly out of control. Some policy wonks are suggesting the solution is to eliminate retrans rules altogether.

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Open Mic: Invest in employees, not new software

September 16, 2013 3:21 pm | by Tom Gorman president, opXL | Comments

I’ve seen an interesting phenomenon related to the continual changes in the industry, the constant need to reduce cost and the desire to be more efficient. That is, that whatever we have now isn’t good enough, so we must buy something new to replace it.

Ensuring the content readiness of file-based content

September 11, 2013 9:16 pm | by Richard Duvall, Senior Video Marketing Manager, Tektronix | Comments

File-based workflows are supplanting earlier, less integrated digital workflow architectures in cable plants everywhere. File-based environments streamline content production and delivery, a crucial benefit given proliferating end-user platforms and the diverse formats that support them.

Power Up! Cable's plans managing a key resource

September 11, 2013 8:33 pm | by Brian Santo | Comments

Power is important. Can’t run a network business without it, right? Which would make power no different from, say, optical fiber, or QAMs, or provisioning systems. The difference is that in the last 18 months, power has started evolving into a topline criterion for MSOs. 

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Operations Go High Tech

September 11, 2013 8:14 pm | by Mike Robuck | Comments

While the cable industry has worked overtime to overcome the perception of poor customer service when it comes installs the stereotype still persists. With an increasingly competitive landscape, cable operators know they have to do a better job of keeping their subscribers happy while also improving their fulfillment operations to cut down on truck rolls.

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Why MSOs need HotSpot 2.0

September 11, 2013 7:58 pm | by Gopi Mohan, Assistant Vice President, Technology, Aricent Group | Comments

HotSpot 2.0, which was recently re-named Wi-Fi Certified Passpoint by the Wi-Fi Alliance, has the potential to make a big impact on the mobile connectivity landscape. The new approach to public Wi-Fi access is aimed at greatly improving the Wi-Fi user experience. Part of the movement is a certification process for existing hotspots and technology.

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Engineering-Wise: Boosting the last mile access speed

September 11, 2013 7:50 pm | by Daniel Howard, SVP of engineering & CTO of the SCTE | Comments

The broadband industry is now defining many of the last mile physical layer (PHY) technologies that will take us into the next decade such as DOCSIS 3.1, EPoC, EPON, RFoG, and now Remote PHY. But which combination is best for a given cable operator to use for a given location and competitive landscape? That’s a question we’ll be striving to answer at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo this year.

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Upfront: Venture capital war chest opens up

September 11, 2013 7:05 pm | by Brian Santo | Comments

The spigot on the venture capital pipe seems to be opening a little wider of late, with companies specializing in various technologies important to the communications industry picking up multi-million dollar infusions, including two companies that bagged $50 million or more each.

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In Perspective: Marriage counseling

September 11, 2013 7:02 pm | by Brian Santo | Comments

Rep. Greg Walden is trying to revive legislation to reform the FCC that he’s failed to get passed before and is a good bet to fail again. He describes it as a bill that would make the FCC more transparent, though what it will mostly do is make the FCC even less effective than it is now.

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Open Mic: Pay-TV operators and audience data

September 11, 2013 6:59 pm | by Chris Hock, senior vice president, product management and marketing- BlackArrow | Comments

Now that TV can go over any screen and can be watched at any time, the problem of controlling reach and frequency is exponentially more complex. To reach people who are watching TV time-shifted or on devices, advertisers need not only to buy traditional linear TV, but also to buy campaigns on all the other new TV platforms as well — a cost prohibitive proposition.

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Memory Lane: Let’s be friends. Again.

September 11, 2013 6:47 pm | by Stewart Schley, Media & technology writer | Comments

The 1980s were sweet times for cable programmers. Flush with cash from a dual-revenue stream economic model that was the envy of the TV business, they were rising in power and eager to grow. Cable companies recognized how essential these programming providers were to the growth of their industry, particularly as cable began to push into major metropolitan markets.

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Capital Currents: 5 GHz Unlicensed Devices

September 11, 2013 6:40 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

 The FCC regulates the 5725-5850 MHz “WiFi” band under Section 15.247 of the FCC Rules. But much of the current interest deals with the bands known as U-NII. An important part of the FCC proceeding deals with two bands in the 5 GHz range that are not currently allocated for either WiFi or U-NII use. The big dispute is over interference.

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