If there's one thing that the Tier 2 and 3 service providers who attend the Independent Show have in common with their Tier 1 peers, it is that, as a group, their needs span the range from the tried-and-true to new innovations.
As a group, the vendors at the show will consequently have a mix of products that run the range.
NDS will demonstrate a version of its NDS Snowflake user interface (UI) specifically designed to provide today's current generation of cable set-top boxes with a rich, uniquely branded look and feel, with enhanced functionality such as unified search, OTT video and personalization.
Using this solution, MSOs have the ability to tailor the appearance of the UI to reflect their brand and provide a template for a common but optimized UI across the next generation of set-top boxes and other platforms, such as tablets and PCs.
Additionally, the company will showcase Snowflake running on more advanced platforms and multiple devices.
In addition to its DOCSIS 3.0 video, voice and data solutions, Arris will bring its Ruckus Wireless Wi-Fi portfolio of indoor and outdoor access points, controllers and network management software, along with the CM 7761 strand-mountable outdoor access point with integrated DOCSIS 3.0 radio, which was developed specifically for cable MSOs.
Arris Wi-Fi solutions enable new revenue-generating services like community Wi-Fi, IP video applications, multimedia hotspots, extended WLAN service outdoors and 3G data offloading.
"Together with the NCTC, we continue to identify solutions to improve their subscribers' experience, while providing the operational efficiencies to take cost out of their business," said Arris senior vice president of sales Tim Gropp. "The NCTC does a great job ensuring their member companies' competitiveness."
Cheetah Technologies said it will have three new stories at the Independent Show. The first is its new partnership with NCTC, which has become a distributor of Cheetah solutions.
The second is the announcement, at the show, of the company's Network Tracker Plus, an analog/digital performance-monitoring device. This device monitors RF, analog, digital power levels and individual channel metrics for video, DOCSIS data and QAM carriers. The company has identified more than 10 applications that, if executed, result in higher network reliability, workforce automation or cost savings for the cable TV operator.
Cheetah's third announcement is that it has completed most of the major MSO initial installations for its V-Factor Source Monitor, a video monitoring and MOS grading solution. It is deployed at video ingest points and post-encode points of video service delivery networks. When used at the post-encode, the Source Monitor Manager provides an incredible amount of information about the "before and after" quality of experience on an MPEG video channel.
Maxxian, meanwhile, will be demonstrating its CounterStryx Tracker Automation solution for automatic set-top disabling, deletion and configuration correction. Designed to improve revenue, system performance and set-top response, the new Tracker Automation solution reduces the time required for chronic set-top box polls within an operator's network by 60 percent.
Web-based TV technology company Clearleap will be demonstrating its IP-based content management system and comprehensive streaming solutions. Clearleap's Stream on Demand enables video service providers to stream unlimited hours and titles to connected set-top boxes, gaming consoles and Internet-connected televisions.
The company will show the product on MSO-branded interfaces on Pace set-top boxes, Roku entertainment devices and connected Blu-ray players.
In addition, Clearleap will demonstrate how its flexible APIs can be used for rapid development and deployment of customized iPad applications; the demo will feature an application developed by itaas.
Developers can use Stream On Demand's APIs to integrate personalization, robust search and navigation features, critic and peer reviews, and bookmarking across any connected device, while still ensuring quality of service. The solution allows operators to sidestep the time and costs typically incurred in the process of bringing rich apps to market.
Clearleap will also demonstrate its IP Content Management system, which gives TV operators the power to manage, monetize and publish programming to multiple destinations.
Aurora Networks will showcase its RFoG and GEPON solutions. Aurora's implementation of RFoG paves the way for operators to efficiently overcome the limitations associated with the deployment of an RFoG system. Examples include the company's VHub, high-sensitivity receivers and RFoG R-ONUs.
In order to serve colocated businesses, it is the most efficient way to provide an all-IP network with PON technology – GEPON or 10 GEPON, Aurora said. The company will be showing its Gigabit Ethernet Node PON Module, the GE4132M. The Aurora GEPON OLT module is designed to work in Aurora's VHub or node, making PON delivery from an RFoG platform a reality.
Given the location of VHubs and nodes, only very short fiber drops will need to be installed to connect a commercial subscriber, resulting in reduced time to market and minimal installation costs to start revenue generation.
In addition, the company understands that cable operators are already starting to explore 10 GEPON and will demonstrate how this system is 10 GEPON-ready, ensuring that cable operators can efficiently evolve their networks when justified by potential revenue.
Motorola Mobility will be showcasing a number of new products in its booth, starting with Televation. This wireless device allows consumers to stream live TV to their IP-connected mobile devices – i.e., tablets, smartphones or laptops – anywhere around their home. The device has a high-performance transcoder that translates programming in real time from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4, as well as changes resolution and bit rates to match the capabilities of the consumer's viewing device while maintaining excellent picture quality.
The company will also have its Motorola Medios multi-screen video service management portfolio on display, featuring several of the system's newer elements, which include:
- The SocialTV companion service, which allows service providers to offer subscribers integrated social networking opportunities, loyalty programs, and advertising and product merchandising via companion devices such as tablets, smartphones and laptops.
- The Medios Xperience platform, which supports the use of a companion device, such as a tablet, smartphone or laptop, as a remote control to browse enhanced programming guides, choose a VOD or live TV option, and launch it on their device or any TV in the home, among other capabilities. It gives cable providers the ability to merge video content (including VOD) with social networking, games and Web-based content.
- The SecureMedia Encryptonite One HLS+ solution, an end-to-end adaptive streaming solution that enables secure content delivery to multiple devices, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, game consoles and other connected consumer electronics devices.
- The High-Definition Digital Terminal Adapter (HD-DTA), a small, cost-effective device to help service providers deliver HD content to their basic subscribers. The Motorola HD-DTA is a one-way device that converts an operator's digital signal in the home so subscribers can view HD content without the need for a more expensive, traditional set-top.
- The DCX3600M media gateway, which provides an entertainment hub for the evolution of TV and video content sharing in the home.
Motorola will also feature several offerings from its 4Home solutions, including home monitoring, security, energy management and more.
OpenVault will be showcasing innovations in its policy systems. The company's PCMM Policy Manager offers the ability to automatically control and allocate available bandwidth in order to ensure quality of service (QoS) for both standard network use and premium services – all in real time.
The cloud-based solution can be set to issue automated notifications to both network staff and to customers. Operators can be notified in the event of changes to the performance or load on the network. Messages can be sent to customers about their usage, or as they approach the limit of their subscribed package.
Mark Trudeau, CEO of OpenVault, commented: "The rise of the over-the-top content providers has changed the way that consumers use broadband. Data-heavy services, such as VoIP, gaming and video, are putting an incredible burden on broadband providers. OpenVault delivers a vital link between the service provider and their customers that enables greater transparency of service, protects the network from congestion, enables tiered pricing packages and reduces revenue leakage."
Microsoft will be exhibiting a product called Reveal, which is an audience measurement service.
The company describes Reveal as a means to improve cable operators' marketing, ad sales, operations and programming decision-making. It operates within strict privacy parameters and provides detailed measurement and reporting of television programming. Reveal uses near-real-time set-top box data backed by a sophisticated data warehouse to provide cable operators with scalable, detailed analytics of live and time-shifted viewing of broadcast and cable networks, according to the company.
MobiTV is demonstrating its converged media platform designed to provide a seamless multi-screen experience for consumers. MobiTV's platform places the user at the center of the experience, giving consumers control over where they watch, when they watch and on what device. Services powered by the MobiTV platform include AT&T U-Verse Live TV, Sprint TV, T-Mobile TV, NFL Mobile on Verizon and more, reaching more than 22 million users on every major U.S. wireless network and every major mobile OS, according to the company.
Evolution Digital will be demonstrating solutions that offer operators multiple bandwidth reclamation options, a VOD strategy and a path to IP.
The use of digital terminal adapters (DTAs) gives operators the chance to reclaim bandwidth to launch more HD and advanced services. Evolution Digital's universal DTA products are designed to integrate with existing Motorola and Cisco platforms.
Meanwhile, Evolution said it is currently working with multiple vendors to create operator-branded VOD applications that function on TiVo Premiere DVRs, which Evolution can provide directly. In the company's booth, it will be showing the new Stream On Demand service provided by Clearleap.
Working together, Avail-TVN, Conax and Evolution have launched a hosted content security system that is housed at Avail-TVN's Super Headend in Burbank, Calif. The hosted solution offers operators a low-cost, end-to-end delivery system providing hundreds of transported SD and HD cable networks – all in MPEG-4 format from Avail-TVN. This solution utilizes Conax content security and is mated to Evolution's SD/HD MPEG-4 DTA and TiVo DVRs.
ZCorum will be introducing a new mobile app feature in the company's diagnostics software for cable modems and CMTSs, called TruVizion.
The mobile app will give technicians in the field access to critical data about the quality of any subscriber's connection from any location, without the need to carry around and connect bulky test equipment.
In addition to proprietary test equipment like analyzers, costing $5,000 or more per device, they are limited to seeing only what they are connected to. With TruVizion Mobile, a technician with an iPhone or Android-based smartphone can view current RF stats for any modem and chart up to 24 hours of historical data.
A comparison feature overlays historical data for the five closest modems so that the tech can compare readings for nearby subscribers to check for common trends or deviations.
American Support, powered by CSG Systems, is expanding its range of products to include field services through its new American Field Support division.
American Field Support will provide customer installs, disconnects, box retrievals, underground cable installation and network construction, among other services. The new division rounds out the company's product offerings, making American Support a complete provider of back office services to the cable industry.
"This is the latest evolution of our company as we continue to find ways to offer the products and services our clients are asking for to help make them more efficient and boost their revenue," said American Support President and CEO Matt Zemon. "Our current and future clients can count on American Support to handle all of their back office needs, from billing, to customer and technical support, to telesales, and now field services."
The company's Nestor product is a tool used to manage the expense process. Today, Nestor processes well over $10 billion in expenses for operators. The company said its experience working with NCTC member companies has allowed it to create functionality specific to the way members process payments and build programming budgets.
- Calculates accurate payments that are true to negotiated contract terms and accommodates NCTC payment adjustments
- Manages NCTC and direct contracts in one proven solution
- Offers access to the data through powerful reporting tools
- Generates vendor-facing remittance reports
- Generates NCTC-approved monthly subscriber reports
- Handles the accounting for handoff to financial systems.
The system can also be used to predict future programming expenses that are true to negotiated and/or projected contract terms. In includes tools to change key budget inputs such as subscriber counts, channel lineups and rates.
Times Fiber Amphenol will be featuring three products that combine to combat moisture damage. The company's QuickPrep Cable prevents moisture migration; its QuickConnectII F-connector has an internal weather seal to prevent moisture migration; and its Extreme passive and actives are guaranteed to have 100 percent f-port sealing, preventing moisture migration.
Toner Cable Equipment will be showcasing its Avante HD digital headend, complete with conditional access and low-cost SD, HD or HD DVR set-tops. The company also offers Casa Systems' DOCSIS 3.0 CMTS (Casa was recently purchased by Aurora Networks).
Toner also provides custom-built headends, satellite downlinks, L-band, and fiber-optic transmitters and receivers, as well as a full range of coaxial cable TV products. It stocks modulators, processors, satellite receivers, edge QAM modulators, 8VSB processors, 8VSB to QAM processors, MPEG encoders, RF amplifiers, FTTH, test equipment, and fiber-optic and coaxial cable.
Toner is a distributor for Blonder Tongue, Ortel, Force, Olson, Drake, Adtec, Pico Macom, Pacific Broadband Networks and more than 100 other manufacturers.
Universal Remote Control
Universal Remote Control (URC) is introducing a new RF remote control for multichannel operators. The Phazr-5 UR5L9000L-RF controls up to five devices via IR or RF. When used with the MRF-250C RF base station, users no longer need to point the remote at the set-top box, television or any other component for full control.
Built to tru2way/OCAP specifications, the UR5L9000L-RF is designed to operate most digital, IPTV and DTA set-top boxes. In RF mode, the remote boasts up to 100 feet of range, as well as the ability to control equipment through walls and cabinets.
The remote features DVR and on-demand compatibility, learning capability, a full backlit keypad, and four custom-programmable macros.
AMT will be showing how the Motorola DCX3300 can expand the subscriber experience. The company will also be displaying how various options in hospitality video delivery can help generate more revenue using ATX UCrypt devices. AMT features all of the latest Motorola, Ericsson/Tandberg and RGB equipment, as well as many other manufacturers' equipment.