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Broadband Direct

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

A Christmas tale?

June 30, 1998 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editor in Chief | Comments

Recent rumblings suggest there's a delay in the DOCSIS (data-over-cable service interface specification) testing process that's underway in CableLabs' incubator. Those close to the process say there's no delay, just unrealistic expectations surrounding the testing process, and undo focus on the certification "sticker" that will be issued to vendors who survive the tests.

SCTE 1998 Cable-Tec Expo

June 30, 1998 8:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty, Associate Editor | Comments

Denver may be the "cable TV capital," but until now, it had not hosted a major industry trade show. All that changed last month when thousands of technical folks arrived in the Mile High City for the annual SCTE Cable-Tec Expo. Among its business in Denver, the Society bestowed a number of honors on industry luminaries, and also elected a new chairman at the Expo.

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Analog vs. BER testing

June 30, 1998 8:00 pm | by Eric Schnettler, Electrical Engineer, Philips Broadband Networks | Comments

Like the proverbial freight train that's thundering down the mountain, cable TV's rush into the digital era has begun in earnest. Led by Tele-Communications Inc.'s deployment of hundreds of digital headends and hundreds of thousands of digital set-tops, cable installers and technicians are setting up and troubleshooting digital equipment every day.

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It's time to bury the hatchet

May 31, 1998 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editor in Chief | Comments

The latest round of bickering came after a "digital TV working group" of the Joint Engineering Committee met — for the first time — to begin hammering out what a "cable-ready" digital TV should look like. Representatives from both industries met and were treated to a prepared presentation by the co-chair who represents the consumer electronics side.

Taxing the Internet

May 31, 1998 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Internet Surfer, Taxpayer and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

There are at least three kinds of taxes that come up when people talk about taxing the Internet. The first kind is state sales taxes on items purchased over the Internet. That's not an FCC issue, but it is a controversial issue that Congress will have to deal with. A second kind of tax is telephone access charges.

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Telcos think VDSL may be video savior

May 31, 1998 8:00 pm | by Fred Dawson, Contributing Editor | Comments

Technological advances emerging in stride with rising concern over an aggressively expanding cable industry are leading the telcos back to their future. Like it or not, local exchange carriers are once again confronting the fact that the ability to offer video entertainment services is vital to holding onto their core residential voice and dial-up data market.

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Installing the future

May 31, 1998 8:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty, Associate Editor | Comments

High-speed data-over-cable. Telephony. Digital video and interactive TV. These are the new buzzwords of the '90s as cable network operators rush to take advantage of their high-bandwidth networks by deploying new, feature rich services in their drive to derive more revenues from their customers. The hardware side of the house, which has had problems keeping up with it all, is nearing the point ...

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Shaping the competitive landscape

May 31, 1998 8:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty, Associate Editor | Comments

Two years after its passage, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 is finally producing some new competitive alliances. A heretofore obscure section of the legislation (Section 103) allows previously-restricted public utility holding companies to create subsidiaries that can provide telecommunications and information services without prior SEC approval.

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Broadband battle shaping up in Denver

May 31, 1998 8:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty, Associate Editor | Comments

It's not news that Denver has long been considered the center of the cable universe. It's home to a host of MSOs and cable-centric businesses. The industry's most important research and development work is being done at CableLabs, located just west of town. And it won't be too long before ground is broken on the University of Denver campus for the National Cable Center and Museum.

Dancing to a happy tune

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

When it comes to digital video, Tele-Communications Inc. is out there on its own, boldly forging ahead with deployment, while nearly every other major MSO has taken a more cautious approach. Some even say the digital economic model is broken because new set-tops are wildly expensive, and there are so many analog receivers in existence.

Competitive Nightmares Taking Shape

April 30, 1998 8:00 pm | by CED Staff | Comments

Depending on which technology master you serve, telecommunications competition is either the dream you've always hoped for, or the nightmare that has you sitting bolt upright in the middle of the night. In the two years since telecommunications was overhauled via legislation, true competition has been largely nonexistent.

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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.

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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