An Expo assortment
There was plenty to write about at this year’s SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in Denver. What follows is a small collection of company announcements from the show.
To start things off, Jones/NCTI spent last week discussing the company’s new Online Installer Program, and the program represents a new model of online courses for the company.
The online program – which takes about 36 to 40 seat hours to complete – boasts animation, simulation, and mobile delivery of course grades and statistics (so that training coordinators and supervisors can easily get that information).
The course discusses the basic install, customer service, upselling, safety, etc., and includes a fiber component (the company is starting to introduce fiber in its curriculum). And the program can serve as a refresher course – it’s not just for new technicians.
A differentiator, Jones/NCTI said, is that the course, once completed, counts as three hours of college credit. College credit is available with other Jones/NCTI courses, as well.
Operators are pushing for more online training courses, the company said. One benefit is that technicians don’t have to wait for a class to fill up before they can start it.
Another approach to the online course is Jones/NCTI’s virtual instructor-led training course. These courses are coupled with video, a forum (or message board) and Webinars.
Meanwhile, there is a huge demand for 3-D content, and 3-D-ready TVs will be shipped en masse next year. But when it comes to providing the content, especially in a cost-effective manner, that’s when HDlogix steps in.
The company can convert 2-D content to 3-D in real time, as well as convert live 2-D TV to autostereoscopic 3-D. And the company’s technology works with any network, set-top box or TV.
PPC was mainly dealing with the problem of loose connectors at the show. Operators are pushing self-installs, and connectors most frequently are loose from the get-go at the initial install – and most loose connectors are indoors, not outdoors.
The company’s EXPlus creates an optimal connection, reducing network degradation and service calls due to a less-than-finger-tight connection. Based on PPC’s existing EX Series of connectors, EXPlus employs a feature that prevents RFI ingress and maintains constant signal continuity, even when the nut is 40 to 60 percent loose, the company told CED.
PPC has one major customer for the EXPlus, a 1.5 million-subscriber operator that could not be named.
PPC also introduced new MoCA Tight and MoCA ground block filters and a Locking HDMI Cable.
The company’s patent-pending MoCA Tight filter and MoCA ground block filter will provide subscribers with the security they require and the multi-room DVR experience they expect as in-home networking services continue to grow, PPC said.
“Consumers have high expectations for their multi-room DVR experience. We are excited to introduce our MoCA line of filters, which enable service providers to meet these expectations, while simplifying installations through fewer connection points to save them time and operational costs,” said Dave Morrocco, vice president and general manager of broadband for PPC.
And PPC’s Locking HDMI Cable features a built-in mechanism that automatically locks the cable in place to eliminate loosening and fall-out.
To resolve the issue of loose HDMI cables, PPC’s Locking HDMI Cable grips a port with 10 times the strength of conventional connectors, enabling average port retention of 25 pounds. A release tab prevents port damage when removing the cable.
“For cable operators, this innovative device has been designed to reduce service calls and the associated operational costs,” Morrocco said. “And for end users, it means an optimal HD experience free from the inconvenience of system down time.”
Moving along to Volicon, the company was introducing the Interactive Services Module (ISM) for its Observer Remote Program Monitor, a post-STB video service assurance solution for video service providers. The new ISM gives the Observer RPM powerful capabilities, enabling operators to test the quality of not only linear services, but also on-demand and interactive content and advertising.
The great thing about the Observer, Volicon told CED, is that an operator can look at a certain channel at a certain time to see if a stream error occurred. Operators also get alerted very quickly with the Observer regarding errors and can decide whether or not to send a truck roll.
“As interactive television offerings become more sophisticated and prevalent, viewers are demanding the same quality levels they’ve come to expect from linear broadcast programs, which is putting pressure on operators to continuously monitor these services,” said Andrew Sachs, senior director of marketing for Volicon. “The ISM is the ideal complement to the Observer RPM for operators that are deploying IPTV, EBIF/ETV, or tru2way interactive and on-demand video services. By providing automated, periodic interactive service verification, along with 24/7 log, operators can assure the availability, and customer experience with, these new, critical services.”
At the show, Triveni Digital debuted its StreamScope MT-40LCP analyzer, a low-cost version of the MT-40. The MT-40LCP analyzer facilitates end-to-end MPEG-2/MPEG-4 transport stream monitoring and analysis for DTV signals carried by cable, telco, broadcast, satellite, IPTV and mobile networks.
The analyzer supports options for RF, SMPTE 310, ASI, QPSK and file inputs, as well as Gigabit Ethernet for non-real-time PCR analyses.
Triveni Digital was also showing off its StreamScope RM-40SE MPEG video monitoring solution that can be located at the edge network for continuous, real-time monitoring of video signals. The RM-40SE is a 24/7 remote monitoring instrument that performs comprehensive MPEG video monitoring for real-time video streams.
On a different note, Anadigics launched a new family of 1 GHz hybrid line amplifiers that use the company’s cable TV amplifier technology and manufacturing experience to provide linearity and distortion performance in an industry-standard SOT115J package.
Anadigics’ new 1 GHz hybrid line amplifiers deliver the additional channel spectrum required by MSOs looking to upgrade infrastructure to support higher throughput applications, such as high-definition video, VOD and high-data-rate Internet.
Ray Aubert, senior product marketing manager for Anadigics, said: “With today’s compression technology, some MSO’s are maxing out their spectrum as they add more standard and HD channels to their lineup. And as new bandwidth-intensive, high-data-rate technologies, such as DOCSIS 3.0, gain momentum, spectrum expansion to 1 GHz will become more prevalent.”
And Antenna Technology Communications Inc. (ATCi) released its newest, most technologically advanced Simulsat-5b Multibeam antenna. The enhanced version takes the same quasi parabolic-spherical shape of the legacy Simulsat 5 to the next level with improved performance, surface accuracy, improved gain and tolerance, the company said.
Simulsat is capable of receiving satellite transmissions from 35+ satellites simultaneously without adjustment or degradation in performance from one satellite to the next. The ATCi proprietary Simulsat multibeam has been providing programming to more than 30 million cable subscribers in the U.S. market.