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NCTA 2002 in brief

Tue, 05/07/2002 - 8:00pm
Staff

Day 3: A wave of companies will be showcasing their products and technologies this week at NCTA 2002 in New Orleans. The CED Magazine staff will bring you the latest news and product information each day live from the show. Below is a glimpse of what's happening at the show, but for complete show coverage visit: www.cedmagazine.com/cable2002/index.htm.

MidStream, Harmonic blend technologies

MidStream Technologies Inc. announced integration of its new IP2160 Media Server with the Harmonic Inc. Narrowcast Services Gateway (NSG) product line, enabling flexibility, scalability, and capacity, while lowering costs for cable operators deploying VOD/SVOD services, according to the companies. This combination offers advantages to cable operators deploying centralized on-demand servers in the headend, or utilizing the flexibility of an edge-based delivery approach with on-demand servers at the distribution hub.

The IP2160 can simultaneously deliver more than 500 unique broadcast quality MPEG-2 programs, sustaining a throughput of almost 2 Gbps. The NSG 8200 has Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) inputs and DVB/ASI and QAM modulated/ upconverted RF outputs.

Thomson expands product lineup as part of broadband initiative

French consumer electronics supplier Thomson is broadening its broadband device lineup as part of a new initiative to more strongly court cable MSOs.

Unveiled this week at the National Cable Television Association convention in New Orleans, the initiative focuses on broadband cable hardware, software and services to cover a wide range of content development, access and distribution.

Thomson's RCA brand has become one of the leading names in retail cable modem sales, and it also has a steady consumer audio and video business. Part of the new initiative expands beyond modems to devices that deliver voice-over-IP services, digital and high-definition video and interactive services, including video-on-demand.

It also will cover the systems to produce the content, including software, studio cameras and film imaging, processing, distribution and post-production. Part of the initiative also includes a plan to accelerate high-definition television rollout, starting with better coordination with retailers and an advertising push for a new line of high-definition monitors set to debut this year. Following that, Thomson will also work with MSOs to coordinate HD rollouts to complement the cable industry's announcement of an HD deployment plan last week. That process should be able to accelerate high-definition TV in the next two years, according to Carl Bruhn, Thomson's general manager of strategy and services.

Thomson has a line of cable consumer premise equipment, including new VoIP and DOCSIS 1.1 wireless gateway units, and a new high-definition TV set-top gateway to pair with RCA HD television sets.

Mediacom, Concurrent deploy satellite-based VOD

Mediacom Communications Corp. and Concurrent Computer Corp. have successfully deployed video-on-demand over Motorola's National Authorization Service (NAS). The integration of Concurrent's MediaHawk VOD System into Mediacom's Headend in the Sky (HITS)-based network enables Mediacom to offer VOD to 40,000 homes in the greater Mobile, Ala. area.

Mediacom plans to deploy VOD in several additional new markets by the end of the year.

The integration effort crossed several technology platforms and allows interactive content to be propagated and managed over satellite and transmitted to Mediacom's master headends and then distributed to its broadband customers. "VOD is an extremely compelling value-add to our subscribers," said Joseph Van Loan, Mediacom's senior vice president of technology, in a statement. "Our goal is to continue to add to our already widely accepted bundle of advanced broadband services."

High-speed vendors fuel up with 'Propane'

Two cable modem termination system (CMTS) vendors and three more cable modem manufacturers said they have become the latest to adopt Broadcom Corp.'s "Propane," a DOCSIS-compatible software component designed to triple the upstream in the cable return path without upgrades.

Specifically, ADC and Arris will incorporate the technology in their respective CMTSs, and Scientific-Atlanta, Tellabs and Thomson Multimedia plan to add Propane to their new cable modems. In February, Com21 became the first manufacturer to add Propane, agreeing to use it in its DOXcontroller XB system.

Broadcom added Propane to its roster in early 2000 when the company bought start-up Digital Furnace for $136 million. At the time, Broadcom said it expected the technology would kick in as operators reached scale for new high-speed data services, and when voice and data applications ran over DOCSIS 1.1-compliant devices.

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