Google is doing video, but it simply could not duplicate the success of YouTube. So working on the principle of "if you can't beat 'em, buy 'em," Google just spent $1.65 million on YouTube. That should make everyone in the communications business scurry to their technology roadmaps to make sure they're going to be able to offer lots and lots of bandwidth sooner rather than later.
The key issue with YouTube is not the questionable legality of some of the content to be found there, it is that the video is blurrier than the keyhole of your front door after a Friday night out on the town. And have you noticed that when you use a key on the freebie keychain/LED you got at the National Show, the LED is pointing toward you and not toward the lock, which is presumably why you need a light on your keychain? Now, what would be useful would be to mount the LED on a swivelly thingy so you can light up the keyhole while using the key…
But I digress…
So, we were talking about the blurriness of the Flash-based video on YouTube. You know YouTube is working on improving that. I don't care how efficient a compression algorithm they either devise or buy, between that and vidsnippets getting longer and longer, YouTube videos are going to require more bandwidth.
Of course, some people think that since users keep illegally uploading copyrighted material, YouTube is on the verge of being lawsuited into oblivion, or at least into Napsterville, where gelded companies are put out to pasture. Mark Cuban expounds on the risks here.
I'm guessing otherwise. With iTunes and MovieLink and dozens of other sites where you can download music and movies and games, nobody's frightened of downloading anymore. If YouTube was going to cause anything like the hysteria that Napster faced, it would've happened already.
Content owners are finally beginning to understand that getting a piece of the action is so much more fulfilling than suing - and thereby alienating - your customers. Instead, companies like CBS, Sony BMG Music, and Universal Music Group are striking deals with YouTube, negotiating for a share of ad revenue, securing compensation for artists whose content is incorporated by YouTube users, and making some fair use allowances.
Google is going to take its very successful ad model, and make it run on YouTube. The introduction of ads on YouTube could put a crimp on usage, but I know I'm likely to just grind my teeth through an ad if that's what it takes to get to see, for example, some great archival footage of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grapelli.
I suspect other users will bear the intrusion too.
Is YouTube a disaster waiting to self-implode? Don't bet on it. Is YouTube going to choke anyone's network? All by itself, no. But its purchase by Google is indication of the inevitability and imminence of a vast increase of higher quality video on the Internet, with a commensurate rise in the demand for more bandwidth. Forewarned is forearmed.
Thomson, Ericsson map separate ways toward converged networks
Better late than never. Thomson and Ericsson, two of the older light heavyweights fighting in the communications ring, chose the same week to assert themselves as contenders in the market for next-generation service systems.
Both have actually been providing elements of converged networks for quite some time, but both with everyone else claiming they can integrate a complete end-to-end system, Thomson and Ericsson were apparently compelled to make similar claims. Both promise to be able to guide clients through a transition to IMS.
Thomson is leveraging its SmartVision IPTV middleware and Cirpack VoIP SoftSwitches as the anchor pieces of a "pre-integrated" service delivery platform. Thomson has integrated its middleware and softswitch with headend equipment from its Grass Valley unit and its home gateways and set-top boxes.
The system is set, Thomson said, for quick and easy triple play deployments, scalable from thousands up to millions of users. The system supports live TV with picture in picture, video on demand, network personal video recording and time shifting. Telephony features include management for services such as caller ID on TV for incoming calls, browsing call history with click to dial, activating call forwarding, configuring black lists or selecting musical ring back tones on the TV. The TV, Thomson said, can be turned into a unified messaging centre for voice mail, video mail, SMS and e-mail.
Thomson said the same core network platforms can manage mobile devices for telephony such as dual mode WiFi-GSM phones and mobile video devices such as 3G phones or DVB-H receivers.
Ericsson was somewhat less specific in introducing its "full service broadband strategy." This strategy includes the ability to create a variety of network configurations, integrating a variety of networking technologies, including HSPA, VDSL2, IMS, GPON, and others.
FiOS TV now available in more N.Y. towns
Verizon is expanding service on Long Island in New York, offering FiOS to the villages of Oyster Bay and East Norwich, and the unincorporated portions of Farmingdale.
Verizon already offers FiOS TV in parts of the Town of Oyster Bay hamlets of Massapequa, Syosset, Woodbury, Bethpage, Hicksville, Jericho and Plainview. FiOS TV also is available in Massapequa Park; Laurel Hollow; Cedarhurst; Lynbrook; and the Town of Hempstead communities of Baldwin, Bellmore, Elmont, Hewlett, Lakeview, Merrick, North Merrick, North Bellmore, North Valley Stream, Oceanside, Roosevelt, Seaford, Wantagh and Woodmere.
In Rockland County, FiOS TV is available in the villages of Nyack, South Nyack, Upper Nyack and Grandview-on-Hudson, as well as the Town of Clarkstown hamlets of West Nyack, Central Nyack and Valley Cottage.
Next up on Long Island is Mineola and in additional hamlets near Clarkstown.
Cisco, Moto, Philips, Tatung intro
set-tops with Microsoft IPTV support
Cisco Systems, Motorola, Philips and Tatung simultaneously introduced new IPTV set-top boxes said to offer greater functionality, based on their incorporation of a new generation of ICs, from a variety of semiconductor companies, all designed specifically for IPTV STBs.
All of the new STBs support Microsoft's IPTV Edition software platform, used by several IPTV providers worldwide.
Cisco set-tops, which will be deployed by customers including AT&T, support high- definition TV, DVR, and integrated home networking over coax. Cisco's STBs incorporate silicon from both Sigma Designs and STMicroelectronics.
Motorola's VIP series of set-tops enable on-demand services, DVR and are prepared to support HDTV codecs. The Motorola STBs are also ready to support forthcoming IPTV Edition features such as multi-room streaming and home media networking. Motorola said VIP series set-tops are shipping in volume today. AT&T will be the first service provider to commercially deploy these products.
Philips has introduced a hybrid IPTV-DTT set-top box supporting HDTV and DVR functionality. Philips' box is based on the Sigma Designs 8634 chipset. This product will be launched by BT this fall.
Tatung will introduce its STB2000 series, also based on the Sigma Designs chipset, also later this year. The new STB2300 model is an entry-level IP set-top box that not only supports two high-definition decoding engines for MPEG2, H.264 and VC-1, but also supports advanced features including HDTV, video on demand (VOD) and high- definition multimedia interface (HDMI).
Swiss Guard at the Vatican
Source: Vatican Web site
Catholic Church, MSN UK choose
Narrowstep for broadband TV channels
Video of the good news is now available on your PC. The Vatican approached Narrowstep to broadcast ROMEreports TV via the Internet using Narrowstep's IPTV technology.
ROMEreports TV launched on October 4 through an agreement with Narrowstep distributor WBBS in Switzerland. No word on whether the Swiss Guard provided a back channel for that deal.
The church channel is available with a full TV schedule and full screen capability. Short news reports are free of charge, 24/7. Each month four 26-minute news magazine segments and one 52-minute program will be added in both English and Spanish on an on-demand basis.
Separately, MSN will use Narrowstep's platform to provide extreme sports and football content in the U.K., starting this Sunday (Oct. 15). Content will originate from the production arm of Narrowstep, Sportshows Television and from their range of sports-related clients who own internet channels, such as ESA Sports Box. MSN will provide links to Narrowstep-powered channels providing a vital distribution component for TV-over-IP channels.
Netopia makes triple play moves for xDSL networks
The busy little beavers over at Netopia have introduced two new xDSL gateways, optimized their gateway software for IPTV, updated their broadband server, and laid out a product development plan for VoIP.
Netopia's MiAVo gateway
Netopia's new MiAVo platform supports both VDSL2 and bonded ADSL2+. The company said a major service provider has already chosen the VDSL2 MiAVo as its IPTV gateway, but declined to identify the customer.
Netopia's 3-D Reach Extreme gateway line is designed to provide superior coverage by custom-tuning an integrated high-power radio and incorporating orthogonal antenna placement to eliminate dead zones and dropped connections within homes.
At the same time, the company enhanced the embedded software for its gateway and router product lines. Release 7.7 Software for Service Provider DSL Gateways provides for Automated initial provisioning and configuration; Support for the TR-101 spec, which helps accommodate content delivered by different service providers; Support for IGMPv3, which supports multiple IPTV streams with quality of service (QoS); support for Wireless Multimedia Protocol (WMM); and support for the TR-111, which allows devices such as VOIP phones, set-top boxes, and gaming systems that support the TR-069 specification to be remotely configured and managed when connected to the network behind a gateway.
The company also released the latest version of its Broadband Server, version 3.1, which was re-architected to conform to TR-069 and other specification for the remote management of triple-play customer premises equipment.
Finally, Netopia introduced its new analog terminal adapter (ATA) and a new series of wireless integrated access devices (WIADs) that will ship early in 2007. The ATA allows for the use of traditional analog telephones and fax machines with VoIP services.
JDSU adds multistream IPTV monitoring
JDSU has added new IPTV transport stream monitoring capability to its QT-600 Ethernet and triple-play probe. The QT-600 IPTV transport stream monitoring capability - which can track more than 500 streams - strengthens the ability of service providers to ensure accurate signaling and quality viewing.
JDSU said the ability to monitor several hundred transport streams simultaneously also enables the QT-600 to measure and calculate key IPTV quality indicators that enable service providers to proactively detect quality degradations before impacting the level of service to the customer.
Actiontec broadband gateway shipments top 4 M
Actiontec Electronics has shipped its four millionth residential broadband connectivity product this month. The company said it in the last year it has doubled cumulative shipments of its broadband gateways, modems and routers. Actiontec's gateways are used for DSL and now fiber-based broadband connectivity; Verizon is a key customer, using Actiontec gateways for all FiOS installations.
Cell phone is primary means of
communication for one-fourth of all users
U.S. consumers are not only flocking to wireless telephony, they are slowly but inexorably abandoning wired phone service, according to a new poll from Harris Interactive.
That's bad news for incumbent phone companies, except for those few who have their own wireless subsidiaries, in which case it's mixed news. And it's all the more reason for VoIP providers to accelerate toward IMS.
Three-quarters (74%) of U.S. adults say they currently subscribe to wireless phone service, while only 58% subscribe to wireline service. Furthermore, one of every four cell phone users (24%) considers the cell phone their primary means of communication. Mobile phones, users say, are more convenient, and frequently mobile calling plans are less expensive.
The poll was taken in August. Harris Interactive recalled a poll conducted a year and a half ago, in April 2005, which revealed one in ten (9%) U.S. adults had abandoned their wireline telephone service completely in favor of wireless. Currently, approximately 13% of U.S. adults use only a cell phone or plan to do so within the next six months.
The poll did determine that some remain reluctant to discontinue their wireline service and go exclusively with wireless or voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Thirty-seven percent (37%) of those keeping wireline say it is because wireline service works even when the power is out. Other key reasons cited for keeping wireline service are to have the ability to call local 911 (31%), followed by excellent network reliability/no dropped calls (31%) and ability to always get a dial tone (25%).
Tekelec helps Nevada Telephone roll out VoIP
Nevada Telephone has deployed Tekelec's entire switching portfolio, including the Tekelec 9000 Distributed Switching Solution, Tekelec 7000 Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) Class 5 Packet Switch and Tekelec 6000 VoIP Application Server.
Nevada Telephone, a CLEC based in Las Vegas, originally operated as an unbundled network elements platform (UNE-P) carrier and was paying an incumbent local exchange carrier a high rate for minutes, plus additional fees.
Nevada Telephone said that with the introduction of VoIP, its subscriber base grew from 115 customers to more than 24,000.
The Linksys SPA 942
Speakeasy to offer Linksys
IP Phones for SOHO/small business market
Speakeasy is now marketing the Cisco Linksys IP Desktop Phone with its flagship Business VoIP solution, a hosted service aimed at small business customers. The deal is non-exclusive.
The Linksys SPA 942 comes able to support either two- or four lines. It conforms to the Power over Ethernet (PoE) 802.3af standard. It features secure call processing via HTTPs/TLS/S-RTP, dual switched Ethernet ports, speakerphone, caller ID, call hold, and conferencing.
Speakeasy's retail price for the Linksys IP Desktop Phones will be under $220. The phone will be added to the Speakeasy Business VoIP service in early November 2006.
Verizon offers wholesale customers SIP options
Verizon is beginning integrate its network with MCI's. The carrier's Partner Solutions operation is offering lower-cost SIP (Session-Initiated Protocol) Gateway Services options to its wholesale customers who offer VoIP.
Verizon SIP Gateway customers opting for OCN-based metered plans can get a reduced rate for calls from their end-users to Verizon Business local customer telephone numbers - restricted to those using legacy MCI local switches.
Verizon's SIP Gateway Services are available in several configurations: one that covers only inbound calling, another that covers inbound and outbound local calling, and a third that covers all inbound and outbound calling.
TV Cabo turns to Thomson for HD MPEG-4 set-tops
Portuguese operator TV Cabo will use Thomson's new high definition (HD) cable set-top box with integrated personal video recorder (PVR) and wireless voice-enabled cable modem. TV Cabo is scheduled to deploy the Thomson boxes sometime in the first half of 2007.
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Earthlink to use ADC gateways for muni Wi-Fi networks
Earthlink has decided to use gateways from ADC for wireless Internet access in areas where it's building municipal Wi-Fi networks.
ADC's SG-1 gateway
Earthlink is currently providing wireless Internet services for customers in Anaheim, Calif. and is building out networks in Milpitas, Calif., and Philadelphia.
ADC's SG-1 ("SG" here stands for service gateway, not "Star Gate") gateway allows service providers to add an intelligent layer of value-added services, such as dynamic bandwidth management and content on demand, without the need for additional, dedicated client software. This means service providers can offer differentiated services and content to users based on individual user profiles.
The SG-1's access control features, combined with dynamic interactive service capabilities, support 1,000 to 128,000 concurrent users on one 16-slot system.
Alcatel is now behind over 100 M DSL lines worldwide
Alcatel said it has now surpassed 100 million DSL lines shipped, representing over a third of the DSL market. The company noted it has doubled its total shipments since October 2004. The company also boasted its ISAM product family, designed to be a triple play IP access solution, has attracted over 100 new customers in the past two years.
Actelis improves Ethernet over copper software
Actelis Networks said its new Ethernet switching software, 5.0-Advanced, is now commercially available. The release enhances the service delivery, operational support and copper diagnostic capabilities of the company's Carrier Ethernet over Copper solutions. The new software will be included on all new product shipments; it is also available as an upgrade to existing hardware.
Separately, Broadview Networks, a facilities-based provider in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, will deploy Actelis' Carrier Ethernet solutions to offer Metro Ethernet services.
Cingular launches wireless data network in Raleigh
Cingular is introducing its 3G wireless data service in Raleigh, N.C. The company's network is built on HSDPA/UMTS (high speed downlink packet access/universal mobile telephone system) technology. Cingular plans to extend wireless coverage in North Carolina to Charlotte, Greensboro and Columbia by the end of 2006.
Nextlink opens broadband wireless network to resellers
Nextlink Wireless has launched a new reseller program. Nextlink offers broadband wireless services, including DS-3 and OC-3 broadband wireless access, as well as metro Ethernet at speeds up to 100 Megabits per second. Under the Turnkey option, the reseller partner focuses on marketing, sales, and customer site acquisition. With the Self-Serve option, Nextlink manages equipment sourcing, spectrum coordination, and engineering, while the reseller partner is responsible for all other sales, installation, and service-related activities.