Cable Show: Plethora of new technologies being showcased
This year’s Cable Show in New Orleans is seeing a plethora of new technologies being exhibited, as well as new announcements being released. Here’s an onslaught of some:
ActiveVideo Networks: ICTV has changed its name to ActiveVideo Networks to better communicate the company’s content and technology focus. ActiveVideo combines Web-based media and targeted, clickable ads with the high-quality video, immediate responsiveness and remote control navigation of TV to create uniform interactivity across all digital set-tops and Web-connected TVs. Applications being demonstrated by the company include social networking functionality, VOD menuing and ActiveVideo Channels. The company also announced the development of ETV applications that utilize the respective strengths of the ActiveVideo Distribution Network and the industry’s ETV platform. The solution was introduced at the tru2Way Developer Conference.
ADB: Advanced Digital Broadcast (ADB) has introduced its latest HD STB for the U.S. digital cable TV market – the ADB-4820C. The product is specifically designed to operate with new flat-panel TVs – it has a space-saving design that mounts to the back of a TV. The ADB-4820C has received full tru2way certification and is now available for commercial deployment. The unit is also fully integrated with OCAP software from Vidiom and Osmosys, ensuring compatibility with the new generation of digital cable networks, and it features DOCSIS technology. ADB is also showcasing advanced product solutions for MSOs, including fully featured, HD, home networking-enabled STBs and DVRs incorporating tru2way technology. And Tim Schermerhorn has been recruited to drive ADB’s digital cable business in the U.S.
Ambit Microsystems: Ambit Microsystems has chosen the Alticast tru2way platform middleware solution, AltiCaptor, for its digital cable set-tops, and the two companies are demonstrating their products at the show. Ambit is working with Alticast to initially bring two cable receivers to market. The first model will be a single-tuner, SD device that will support the latest OpenCable specifications, and it will be available in the second half of 2008. Ambit will also deliver a high-performance, dual-tuner, HD DVR cable receiver later in the year.
Aurora Networks: Aurora is demonstrating its GEPON and LcWDM solutions, which help cable operators increase network capacity, at CableNET. The GEPON solution gives cable operators the ability to selectively migrate their installed hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) systems to standards-based, fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) networks. Based on its node platform, Aurora has optimized GEPON technology for deployment in cable TV networks. Aurora is also exhibiting its LcWDM solution, which provides up to eight downstream and 24 upstream segments on one fiber. The LcWDM technology is an “O”-band WDM system.
BlackArrow: BlackArrow is demonstrating its advanced advertising system for delivering targeted ad campaigns against viewer demographics and content metadata in on-demand video sessions streamed by Cisco’s Content Delivery System (CDS). The BlackArrow ad-management system provides content programmers and distributors with an integrated suite of tools to manage, deliver and analyze multiplatform ad campaigns for viewer-controlled video.
BroadLogic: BroadLogic Network Technologies announced its next-gen silicon, the advanced TeraPIX chip and a reference design for a whole-home solution residential gateway that is based on the new chip. TeraPIX is the company’s latest multichannel video processor, capable of simultaneously decoding 80 MPEG streams and regenerating a complementary analog and digital service tier. New features that include a direct-to-channel capability will provide cable equipment manufacturers lower implementation costs for single family and multi-tenant products, says BroadLogic. The latest iteration of TeraPIX allows for the passing of digital television channels supporting subscribers who have the need for both analog and digital services. And the new residential gateway reference design will enable cable equipment manufacturers to rapidly develop and produce analog residential gateways for single-family residential applications, according to the company. Solutions based on the reference design will allow MSOs to continue delivering an analog TV service tier to the estimated 30 million cable homes that are analog only, while still supporting digital services to those subscribers who require both service tiers. A BroadLogic-based residential gateway converts any portion of the digital signal and recreates and delivers an analog signal to every analog television in the home without the need for set-top boxes, according to the company.
Cox: Cox Business claims that it is the first MSO to extend its business sales force by teaming with a telecom equipment solutions provider – in this case Nortel. As part of the multi-year agreement between the two companies, Nortel Sales Center representatives will engage customer prospects and design and sell voice, data and equipment solutions in select Cox service areas. Nortel will also install equipment solutions and provide technical support for the businesses. And Cox Business customers will have access to Nortel's product and services packages, including the Business Communications Manager (BCM), the company's hybrid IP PBX. Nortel recently opened its first Small Business Sales Center in North America to allow cable operators to resell its products and services.
Ensequence: Ensequence is developing a new EBIF version of HSN’s live interactive television (iTV) shopping service – ‘Shop by Remote’ – and is demonstrating the 24-7 shopping experience for EBIF and tru2way technology at the show. By utilizing EBIF’s open industry standard code, HSN will be able to garner broader distribution of the shopping application and allow more TV viewers to immediately purchase any item on the HSN channel with their existing remote control.
GridNetworks: GridNetworks announced a collaborative relationship with Comcast, as well as an investment from Comcast Interactive Capital (CIC). GridNetworks provides GridCasting service, as well as licensed technology solutions, for managed Internet video delivery through consumer broadband connections. “The collaborative discussions with GridNetworks are timely, as we are working hard with a number of technology companies, the IETF and other leaders in the field to improve the efficiency of P2P on ISP networks,” said Comcast CTO Tony Werner. “We are interested in the application of P2P concepts in a manner that puts the quality of the consumer experience first, and enables lawful distribution of copyrighted content while also efficiently utilizing the network. GridNetworks has experience in this area and will have valuable contributions as we set out to solve these issues together with the Internet community.”
Hostway Corp.: Hostway is showcasing its turnkey, white label Web solutions. Through Hostway's private label program, partners can offer their customers any combination of Hostway's Web products under their own brands. Hostway provides the technical and back-end support, so all partners need to do is add their branding and start selling.
Integra5: For the first time, Integra5 is showing its new landline-to-mobile caller ID application, powered by the i5 Converged Services Platform (i5 CSP). The application brings mobility and place-shifting to service providers’ landline offerings, regardless of whether they operate a wireless network. i5’s existing converged communication services portfolio includes TV and PC caller ID, voicemail message waiting indication and other real-time alerts. Geared toward consumers and SMBs, landline-to-mobile Caller ID notifies users in real time of their incoming landline calls via SMS text alerts on their cell phones. The alerts contain the caller’s name and phone number, and users can initiate a call back by clicking on the phone number hyperlink within the text message. Subscribers can add nicknames and other personalization features to the alerts via an operator Web portal powered by Integra5, and they can also manage them. For example, if a household or small business has multiple landlines, the alerts can be set to come only from certain phone numbers.
itaas: itaas has revealed its lineup of demos, including multi-platform tru2way and enhanced TV solutions for cable operators, programmers, application developers and advertisers. The company’s booth demos feature Enhanced TV/EBIF-compliant applications for the existing STB market, including MPTV Gateway, which allows consumers to purchase digital assets such as songs, videos and images on TV and send them to mobile and broadband featuring content from the Travel Channel. Also on display are tru2way applications developed by itaas for its partners, such as: TAG – Games on demand TV network; Cisco Web Video – Internet video feeds on the TV; iCueTV – a shopping and polling application; and Integra5 – a caller ID application on the TV. And finally, the company is showcasing a suite of VOD products and test tools.
Motorola: Motorola is demonstrating a slew of products, including the BSR 64000 CMTS; a live demo of the TX32 decoupled downstream module; ultra-broadband technologies, including passive optical network (PON) solutions for cable operators and DOCSIS 3.0-certified SURFboard cable modems; WiMAX-related products; the company’s SDV platform; the company’s Advanced On-Demand platform; the latest CherryPicker CAP-1000; and the new APEX1000 EdgeQAM. The company also released its SmartStream Terminal Data Collector (STDC), a robust set-top diagnostics solution to the company’s broader service assurance portfolio. Motorola is also showcasing the new DSR-6050 IRD solution for converting programmer’s new MPEG-4 HD feeds to the cable-compatible MPEG-2 format. The company also has on-site demonstrations of new tru2way applications on the latest Motorola, tru2way-compatible set-tops. And Motorola has introduced its portfolio of advanced advertising delivery technologies for the cable industry.
OpenTV: OpenTV is demonstrating EclipsePlus, the company’s next-generation campaign management solution. OpenTV EclipsePlus – which can be deployed on cable, satellite or telco platforms – is a complete end-to-end advertising campaign management solution that fully supports the increasing demands of local TV advertising sales organizations, allowing them to maximize inventory, reduce manual tasks and significantly increase their operational efficiencies.
Panasonic: Panasonic is showcasing its tru2way-based cable product lineup in its booth. Products include the PCH2180 tru2way HD DVR – an advanced multi-tuner tru2way set-top receiver that integrates HD video recording, a multi-stream CableCard host interface for separable security and a high-speed DOCSIS modem to support DOCSIS Set-top Gateway Signaling (DSG); a 42-inch, tru2way-enabled Viera Plasma HDTV, which integrates tru2way cable receiver capability within the set-top’s chassis; and the tru2way-enabled Portable DVR, model TZ-LC100, which allows cable subscribers to record programming at home and take it with them wherever they go.
Symmetricom: Symmetricom is showcasing its perceptual video quality monitoring solution for cable operators, the V-Factor Quality of Experience (QoE) platform, at CableNET. V-Factor allows technical personnel to monitor key sources of potential video and audio impairments by providing a scalable solution that assesses a consumer’s video quality experience. The company is demonstrating its Q-1000 video headend analyzer, which examines, in real time, the quality of source video and detects any transcoding or other encoding impairments. V-Factor combines the Q-1000 video headend analyzer with network probes, software agents and NOC software.
Texas Instruments: Texas Instruments announced a new DOCSIS 3.0 IC with true 4x4 capability that also incorporates video processing so that a STB incorporating the chip automatically becomes a home networking gateway. So a provider using an STB based on the chip, designated the TNETC4820, can provide video through both the video and data channels, and allow in IPTV from the Web as a service – without any hardware upgrade in the headend. The new chip in TI’s Puma 5 DOCSIS chip family has both MPEG-TS (transport stream) and IP capabilities, so it can turn an MPEG stream into an IP stream and vice versa. No matter the source, video is sent through conditional access to be distributed to the appropriate device, explained TI Director of Broadband Strategy Peter Percosan.
UEI: Universal Electronics Inc. (UEI) is demonstrating a number of remotes and remote control concepts, including its Titan universal remote, the Cricket Kids Remote and Remote Extender, and Freespace technology. UEI’s Titan is targeted toward the subscription broadcast market. The remote features XMP-2 Two-Way IR, which enables Titan to both send and receive IR information from a STB embedded with XMP-2. UEI will also be conducting a demo of remote controls utilizing the Freespace Pointing and Motion-Control technology.
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