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Broadband Direct

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

Is there a fly in the standards ointment?

December 31, 1995 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

While granting its historic proportions, one has to be skeptical of its chances for immediate success. This truly is one assignment that is easier said than done. For those who haven't heard yet, an impressive list of MSOs and hardware manufacturers shared the dais with CableLabs during the Anaheim show.

Out in front on new network technologies

December 31, 1995 7:00 pm | by CED Staff | Comments

Wilt Hildenbrand's office doesn't look like those normally inhabited by vice presidents of technology at the big multiple system operators-it's small, almost Spartan in its appointments. It's also more cluttered than most, and it's filled with toys. Not kid toys, mind you, but fun things like personal computers attached to high-speed modems, and a TV outfitted with interactive guides and services.

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MSOs ready to draw on compression

December 31, 1995 7:00 pm | by Fred Dawson | Comments

The cable industry is finding itself forced to reopen the book on compression just as the primary supplier of digital technology to MSOs is preparing to deliver on its long-standing commitments. Leading companies are rethinking earlier decisions to launch General Instrument Corp.'s proprietary DigiCipher extension of MPEG-2, with issues ranging from the costs of memory versus costs of bandwidth...

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Modems, demos dominate show

December 31, 1995 7:00 pm | by CED Staff | Comments

The advance notices regarding the 1995 Western Cable Show said that for the first time in a few years this was not going to be a technology show. Instead, it was to be driven by new programmers and discussions of how to survive a competitive, converging world. But the 23,000 people who went to Anaheim discovered that cable modem technology stole the show and dominated the show floor and press c...

Paying a visit to the hometown page

December 31, 1995 7:00 pm | by Tom Robinson | Comments

In the past, whenever nostalgia would grab hold of me, I would, in turn, grab the phone, seek out an old friend or relative and find out the latest and greatest concerning my old stomping grounds. But now I've found an additional way to revisit my hometown (actually two hometowns, as I split my formative years between Richmond, Va.

Lessons from the 1995 WRC

December 31, 1995 7:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Perpetrator of Techno-Babble and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

International negotiations in the past were controlled by government experts; in the future, they will be controlled by industry representatives who have a lot to gain (or lose) from the decisions. Every few years, the nations of the world send their radio spectrum experts to a conference to decide how the spectrum will be used, how different services can share frequency bands, and how to minim...

A one-two punch for data security

December 31, 1995 7:00 pm | by Robert Wells On Behalf of CableLabs | Comments

CableLabs has devised a technique that combines hardware keys with hard encryption to secure the downloading of digital data over cable systems. If adopted, the new system "could help change the economics of the computer industry by luring people away from floppies and CD-ROMs and onto enetworked media," says Tom Williams, Cablelabs' senior technical staff member and co-inventor of the approach...

Preparing the drop for digital services

September 30, 1995 8:00 pm | by John Grothendick, Product Development Manager, Antec Corp. | Comments

Despite new technological advances in all parts of the cable network, the subscriber drop remains the weakest link. The drop, which is the most labor intensive and costly part of the network, is probably the least equipped to deliver interactive digital services. Today, even with more forgiving analog signals, problems with the drop generate seven out of 10 service calls.

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Addressable half-ASCII, a new compromise

September 30, 1995 8:00 pm | by Walt Ciciora | Comments

Two differences between the original "MultiPort" and the current Decoder Interface are: 1) an IF output (and removal of the video output) from the TV, and 2) expanded two-way communications between the plug-in module and the TV or VCR. There were two reasons for going to an IF output. The first was to accommodate digital signals in 6 MHz to be decompressed in the external module.

A Model for reliability built in Alexandria

September 30, 1995 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

Cable system operators today stand on a precipice, overlooking the opportunities that lay before them. Perhaps never in its short but illustrious history has the cable industry had so many doors to ponder: high-speed data delivery and Internet access; telephony; interactive services; and expansion of pay-per-view toward a near video-on-demand environment.

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Bellcore delves into HFC amid support for FITL

September 30, 1995 8:00 pm | by Fred Dawson, Contributing Editor | Comments

Bell Communications Research, in an effort to expand understanding of hybrid fiber/coaxial network technology, is generating data which appears to underscore long-standing in-house preferences for more traditional telephone industry topologies. The RBOC-owned organization, now in limbo as the Bell companies decide how to go about finding it new owners, has added a wide range of programs devoted...

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The V Chip ratings controversy

September 30, 1995 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss | Comments

When the House and Senate bills are combined and enacted into law, the V Chip provision is likely to be part of that law. But the V Chip isn't a chip at all. And while the V Chip is controversial, the controversies aren't over the hardware and technology; it's the rating process itself that creates the controversy.

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