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Broadband Direct

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

Taking a close look

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

AT&T's decision to purchase Tele-Communications Inc. no doubt will add clout to the cable industry's efforts to drive HFC technology development, but it remains to be seen whether the deal becomes a force for cohesion or upheaval as the industry pursues deployment of advanced services. The two-sided nature of the potential impact the AT&T/TCI deal might have on the cable industry was la...



July 31, 1998 8:00 pm | by Dana Cervenka, Managing Editor | Comments

Ready or not, here it comes. Broadcasters will begin transmitting some high definition television programming late this fall, and have announced their chosen HD formats: NBC and CBS have committed to 1080i, while ABC and Fox have opted to use 720p. Given that cable operators reach about 67 percent of all TV households in the U.

Taking charge of the in-home network

July 31, 1998 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editor | Comments

Imagine a consumer's home that includes a digital TV, a digital VCR, a digital cable set-top, and various other gadgets like stereo systems, computers and camcorders all interconnected. The power of such a home "network" would be immediately apparent in that consumers could view programs or information from any of the above-named sources without problems.


Moving to the head of the class

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

To the casual observer, it looks like everything in the cable industry is finally coming together. Operators are continuing to play to their strengths by swapping or selling systems to fortify their competitive advantage. Retail availability of high-speed cable modems continues on its fast track. And faith in the industry's broadband pipe (and the advanced services it can deliver) continues to ...

Adding bite to the bark

July 31, 1998 8:00 pm | by Craig Kuhl, Contributing Editor | Comments

As the cable industry readies itself for the advent of DOCSIS (Data-Over-Cable-Service Interface-Specification)-based standards for cable modems, ensuring the privacy and security of a network is attracting the attention, and concern, of cable operators and customers in the burgeoning business market.


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

Emergency Alert Systems: Get ready for EAS With the deadline for EAS (Emergency Alert System) compliance approaching, a number of companies are offering solutions to help cable operators prepare for the new requirements. Spectrum/Mega Hertz has introduced a new addressable trunk switch designed to work with the EASpectrum Comb Generator, to allow systems serving up to 18 different communities t...


Who's afraid of the big, bad telcos?

June 30, 1998 8:00 pm | by James Careless | Comments

Canada's telephone companies have long been demanding access to cable's traditional turf. But some of these companies have been doing much more than just talk: they've been ploughing ahead with leading-edge network trials, testing not just video signal distribution, but much, much more. NBTel: Lobbying openly When it comes to telcos attacking cable's traditional monopoly, New Brunswick Telephon...


It's IP vs. ATM in all-out-war

June 30, 1998 8:00 pm | by Fred Dawson, Contributing Editor | Comments

Practitioners of the anything-but-ATM data networking religion are finding ever more reasons to believe IP-based transport solutions represent a winning approach to taking on incumbent carriers, but they shouldn't get too carried away. Even as the rapidly expanding power of IP (Internet protocol) Layer 3-based architectures opens unlimited service potential at unprecedented levels of cost effic...


DTV unfinished business

June 30, 1998 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Digital TV Viewmaster and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

The list of unfinished business includes program insertion and splicing; emergency messages on cable systems; copy protection; data broadcasting and multimedia services; forced tuning of TV tuners; audience rating data; and other items. Digital TV will continue to evolve. Here are some details. Program insertion and splicing How does a broadcaster or cable operator insert a commercial? The issu...

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.


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.

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.


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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