The VuNow Internet TV platform by Verismo Networks was narrowly selected as the winner of the most recent CableLabs Technology Forum. VuNow includes a software client that enables consumers with broadband connections to watch video content from the Web directly on their TVs.
The designation of Verismo’s VuNow as the most interesting among 10 technologies presented at the CableLabs Forum is part of a developing pattern for the cable industry. Companies that have presented means of easing the transfer of content among different devices in the home have been winning top honors at these CableLabs events for some time now.
The winners of the last two CableLabs events, Silicon Image (story here) and Ruckus Wireless (story here), clearly have a fit in home networks. The winner prior to that, SimpleStar, could arguably be lumped into that category, as well (story here).
Verismo has put its software in small boxes that it has been selling since December. The standard-definition model is $99, and the high-def model is $149. Its software is in at least one original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) box already in production.
Verismo Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Dhaval Ajmera said it is a simple matter to integrate its software client with almost any device, including set-top boxes, palm devices, or even directly into a TV.
He explained that an operator could choose to make Verismo-based access to Web video appear to be a linear channel, if that was what was desired.
Asked how quickly Verismo could port its software to a set-top, Ajmera quipped, “I’m just waiting for a purchase order from these guys.”
That may not happen with too much alacrity. In general, technologies demonstrated at these CableLabs Forums tend to be regarded by the cable industry with future potential in mind. Even something like SimpleStar’s application, which Time Warner Cable deployed more than two years ago in Hawaii with positive results, has yet to truly catch on widely.
Many of the other companies at the CableLabs Technology Forum presented technologies marked by the ability to connect various technology platforms within the home, including:
- Cognizant Technology Solutions with its Teen Locator, a tru2way application that enables family members to locate each other quickly on the television screen by tracking cell phone location. When deployed in an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) environment, the app allows those at home to text roaming family members’ mobile phones, and even initiate a call between the home phone and the mobile phone through the television.
- RipCode showed its On-Demand Transcoding appliance, a technology that transcodes in real time so that suitably formatted content can be sent to multiple channels. Dynamic video ad insertion is supported.
- Intertrust Technologies demonstrated its Marlin Domain Management System, which enables content acquired from a variety of distribution channels to flow easily and securely across all devices managed as part of the consumer's domain.
- BigBand Networks showed an end-to-end solution that leverages existing switched digital infrastructure. This technology enables cable subscribers to receive and display personalized content on TVs connected to a standard radio frequency (RF) STB. Subscribers can share pictures, movies, business services, conduct one-way video conferencing and more in real-time. This allows cable operators to generate new revenue streams from both residential and business customers.
- NetNumber demonstrated a system that could more easily bridge MSO VoIP networks with each other, or to wireless telephony networks (story here). Digital voice interconnect routing data provisioned into the VeriSign Network Routing Directory can be pushed to the NetNumber Titan ENUM server over the PacketCable ENUM Server Provisioning Protocol (ESPP) for use in call completion.
- Celeno showed its Wi-Fi silicon solutions optimized to achieve carrier-grade wireless high-definition (HD). The company employs a “base station” approach, to introduce significant range, robustness and throughput improvements at the chip level, for effective HD video streaming over standard Wi-Fi.
In addition, Ruckus Wireless returned to the Forum with a new dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi router able to simultaneously support the transmission of HD advertising to digital signs using the 5 GHz Wi-Fi band, while using the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band to provide location-based content delivery within the same hotspot – all using a single AP.
Arris demonstrated optical multiplexing transmission technology, which the company said for the first time enables carrying four (or more) 1 GHz, full-spectrum forward cable TV signals over a single fiber, for distances over 50 miles.
Ortiva Wireless showed a mobile video optimization solution to service providers offering mobile TV and video services. Using Ortiva technology, mobile operators increase subscriber video quality, improve coverage and increase capacity.