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News summary for 8/27/07

Mon, 08/27/2007 - 8:50am
CED staff

NCTA proposes ‘Tuning Resolver’ to aid CE devices with switched channels
By Mike Robuck

On Friday the National Cable & Telecommunications Association sent a 76-page filing to the Federal Communications Commission that outlined three solutions for two-way cable services and devices.

While saying the OpenCable Platform, which was formerly known as the OpenCable Application Platform or OCAP, was still the best way for consumer electronics companies and cable operators to offer two-way services, the NCTA also said in the filing that it’s willing to develop a “tuning resolver” to help consumer electronics devices receive switched linear channels.

Switched digital video (SDV) frees up bandwidth by only sending the signals that are being watched in a specific neighborhood, which allows cable operators to offer more HD channels or other services. There has been concern within the cable industry that SDV won’t work with third-party set-top boxes such as those developed by TiVo. Unidirectional digital cable products (UDCPs) aren’t capable of accessing SDV channels.

In the filing, the NCTA said it has worked with consumer electronics companies (it cited TiVo as one example) to come up with a solution that provides two-way SDV channels to one-way digital products through a small tuning resolver adapter. The tuner resolver would require firmware modifications to new UDCP products and a USB 2.0 connection. The NCTA said current TiVo DVRs have USB 2.0 connections and may be able to upgrade with firmware for SDV.

The NCTA cited the OpenCable Platform as the second solution to providing two-way cable services. The OpenCable Platform already has consumer electronics companies such as PanasonicSamsung and LG Electronics signed on for OpenCable Platform and CHILA licenses to make two-way retail devices, but the Consumer Electronics Association has criticized the OpenCable Platform by saying it’s too costly to develop products for.

The NCTA’s third proposal was a new network interface device for interactive services that would work across a wide variety of multichannel video programming distributor networks and not just cable.

BTN launching on U-verse, not on Comcast
By Traci Patterson

Big Ten Network (BTN) officials said that its TV network debut will not be available to Comcast subscribers, according to the Associated Press.

Comcast wants the network to be part of a sports-channel package, while the network wants to be a cable channel for Comcast viewers. The two companies have been debating the issue for some months now.

Comcast has about five million subs in the eight Big Ten states—Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. About half a million customers will be added to Comcast’s Illinois base with the pending acquisition of Insight Communications’ cable operations there.

But when BTN launches on Thursday, AT&T Inc. will make it available to all of its U-verse markets.

U-verse customers will have access to the network with the U100 programming package (or anything above), which starts at $44 per month. And with the HD service subscription ($10 more a month), customers can watch the network in high-definition.

BTN will showcase more than 400 live events, original programming and conference football games in SD and HD.

Rogers Wireless, SpinVox launch voicemail-to-text 
By CED Staff

Rogers Wireless will serve up a voicemail-to-text service across its network this fall through a partnership with SpinVox.  

Rogers’ subscribers will be able to have their voicemails converted to text by SpinVox and then sent directly to their cell phones as an SMS message. SpinVox sends the SMS along with the number, so the caller can be immediately identified, enabling customers to instantly respond either by text or phone with just one-touch.

SpinVox said it is the only voice-to-text service with multilingual capability, so Rogers’ subscribers can have both their English and French voicemails converted into text.

"SpinVox provides a great tool for road warriors when they cannot listen to their voicemail as the system uses very sophisticated voice to text solutions and delivers with great accuracy,” said John Boynton, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Rogers Wireless, in a statement. “With the SpinVox solution, users can receive and read messages while held up in a meeting or on the run and are able to easily document detailed directions and coordinates."

Edgeware, Altera hook up on VOD server
By CED staff

Edgeware AB is tapping into the performance and memory capabilities of Stratix II and Cyclone III FPGAs from Altera Corp. to achieve improved performance and scalability with Edgeware’s video-on-demand server, Orbit 2x. With Edgeware's Orbit 2x server system, on-demand and interactive television service providers can deliver up to 20-Gbps output, streaming to as many as 8,192 concurrent viewers at the lowest cost per stream. Edgeware designed its carrier-grade Orbit 2x server with an FPGA-based, solid-state flash memory storage architecture to achieve hardware-speed streaming.

Cedar Point ranked by Inc. Magazine
By CED Staff

Cedar Point Communications, a provider of integrated VoIP switching technologies for the service provider and enterprise industries, has been recognized by Inc. Magazine as the second-fastest growing private company and the fastest growing private telecommunications company in the United States.

In the Inc. 500 rankings in the September issue of Inc. Magazine, Cedar Point is recognized for its revenue growth rate of 14,853.3 percent from 2003-2006. In addition to being named to the top spot in telecommunications, Cedar Point also was named as the No. 1 company in two other categories: Companies Intending to Go Public, and Companies in the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire region.

The 2007 Inc. 500 list measures revenue growth from 2003 through 2006. To qualify, companies had to be U.S.-based and privately-held, independent as of December 31, 2006, and have had at least $200,000 in revenue in 2003 and $2 million in 2006.

Broadband Briefs for 8/27/07

* Verizon Wireless adds cell cite in Connecticut 
By Traci Patterson

Verizon Wireless has expanded its network with a new cell site in Connecticut. The site increases coverage and capacity along Route 7 in the northeastern section of Sharon, as well as portions of western Cornwall and southern Canaan, and it also extends coverage to parts of the Housatonic State Forest.

The network expansion is part of the company's multi-billion dollar network investment each year, including nearly $318 million in New England last year.

* Sony launches new HD PC/TV
By Traci Patterson

Sony has unleashed the Vaio LT HD PC/TV, which enables users to watch and record analog, digital and cable TV programming, including HD channels. The new model requires a CableCARD.

The unit features a 22-inch diagonal WSXGA+ widescreen display and can be used for TV viewing, as well as computing functions (an A/V power button lets you shut down the TV function while the PC continues to run).

* Procera gains Finnish partner in reseller agreement
By Traci Patterson

Procera Networks Inc. has added Daimler Finland to its partner program as part of a strategic reseller agreement with the company, for northern Europe.

Daimler Finland provides end-to-end broadband Internet access solutions for telecom operators, enterprises, colleges and universities, hotels and consumers. The company was one of the first to bring Wi-Fi solutions to the Finnish market a decade ago, and it has deployed multiple WiMAX networks for incumbent telcos.

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