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Broadband Direct

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

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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DOCSIS theft and cloning

March 5, 2013 8:52 pm | by Owen Parsons, cable access ops engineer III at Cox Communications | Comments

As long as there are services, there will be service thieves. Preventing this theft may take some con­figuration changes in software, firmware upgrades and the removal of problematic cable modems, as well as adjustments to CMTS settings. Combating service theft has been a series of moves and countermoves, not unlike a game of chess.

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Making the second screen work

February 7, 2013 12:52 pm | by Brian Santo | Comments

Years after Netflix, smartphones and tablets all hit the scene, even those service providers capable of multi-screen delivery continue to struggle with the multi-screen phenomenon. That’s because even as service providers respond to viewers’ increasing appetite for video on screens other than the TV, consumers’ multi-screen behavior continues to evolve.

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A kaleidoscope of moving parts

February 7, 2013 11:34 am | by Craig Kuhl, Contributing Editor | Comments

The once heavily tech-driven business model of small Tier 2 and Tier 3 cable and broadband service providers is morphing into a kaleidoscope of moving, interchangeable parts. Smaller operators whose subscriber counts number in the four- and five-figure range are fiddling with and tweaking their business models like never before.

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Managing the multi-screen video transformation

February 7, 2013 10:56 am | by Paul Casinelli, product manager at IneoQuest Technologies | Comments

The multi-screen transformation has taken the video world by storm. Customers now expect the same video services they receive on their set-top box on their video-capable devices. Adoption of multi-screen services is occurring across the spectrum, running the gamut of service providers, content providers and enterprises.

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Harnessing the power of interoperability

February 6, 2013 11:59 am | by Robin Mersh, CEO of Broadband Forum | Comments

Technology development is accelerating, and consumer and enterprise demand for bandwidth-hungry content and applications continues to expand. The need for global standardization has become an industry prerequisite, driven by the needs of service providers to deliver robust new services quickly and cost-effectively.

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In Perspective - Stick a 4K in 3-D: It's done

February 4, 2013 1:08 pm | by Brian Santo | Comments

The big thing in TV land at CES, in terms of both hype and actual size, was 4K TVs, aka ultra-high-def, or Ultra HDTVs. The great thing about shows like CES is that they show you exciting possible futures. Let’s just take a moment to acknowledge that 4K TVs are pretty darn nifty.

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Memory Lane - Broadband’s latest wrinkle

February 4, 2013 12:54 pm | by Stewart Schley, media and technology writer | Comments

There is a movement toward usage-based pricing that borrows from an electrical utility model of the early 1900s. Today’s megabits are yesterday’s kilowatts, and like power companies before them, service providers appreciate the symbiotic relationship that device makers can deliver.

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Ciciora's Corner - Should you get a patent?

February 4, 2013 12:16 pm | by Walt S. Ciciora, expert on cable and consumer electronics issues | Comments

Have you ever considered getting a patent yourself? Should you? This is not an easy decision. It’s a lot of work, and it is expensive. Done right, it’s very expensive. And that’s just the beginning. A patent is the right to exclude someone from making, using or selling your invention.

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Open Mic - Showcasing the value of personalization

February 4, 2013 12:07 pm | by Peter Docherty, founder and CTO of ThinkAnalytics | Comments

There are so many TV choices available that it’s virtually impossible for consumers to discover what’s really there. The challenge is proactively presenting subscribers with personalized content recommendations, instead of forcing them to work hard to find something they like to watch.

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Engineering-Wise - United and prepped for battle

February 4, 2013 11:41 am | by Mark Dzuban, president and CEO of the SCTE | Comments

I’ve always been impressed by the coordination required to keep our country safe. From our nation’s earliest skirmishes to the invasion of Normandy and Operation Desert Storm, teamwork across all branches of the armed services has been essential to the protection of our nation, and the world. It’s much the same in our industry.

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Capital Currents - Video quality assessment

February 4, 2013 11:26 am | by Jeffrey Krauss, president of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

The FCC has a proceeding underway to update its cable TV technical regulations. For the most part, there is agreement that the version of SCTE 40 adopted last year contains the appropriate technical specifications for digital cable systems. But the FCC also asked whether it should regulate the picture quality that is delivered to viewers.

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CED's Broadband 50

January 14, 2013 1:22 pm | by CED Magazine | Comments

Before we Start Over with a New Year, here’s a Look Back at 2012 through the prism of CED’s Broadband 50, which is now 12 years old. We have scoured the cable world to come up with the people, stories and trends that were the most meaningful.

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CED Person of the Year

January 4, 2013 12:26 pm | by Brian Santo | Comments

For Cequel Communications Holdings, doing business as Suddenlink, 2012 was the occasion of a remarkably simultaneous culmination of several multi-year efforts. These efforts included both engineering and business aspects, which ultimately amplified each other.

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