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Daily news and top headlines for broadband communications engineering and design professionals

Facebook buying virtual-reality company for $2B

March 26, 2014 12:39 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Facebook is buying virtual reality company Oculus, betting $2 billion that its technology will become a new way for people to communicate, learn or be entertained. Irvine, California-based Oculus VR Inc. makes the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset that's received a lot of attention from video game developers. 

New Products: Fairview Microwave, CSG Systems

March 25, 2014 8:08 pm | Articles | Comments

Fairview Microwave recently launched a new line of armored coaxial test cables, which were designed to withstand the rigors of continued field and production line testing. | CSG International an-nounced the recent worldwide launch of its new cyber security platform, which was designed for the enterprise security sector.

Engineering-wise: NextGen Digital Video over NextGen DOCSIS

March 25, 2014 7:54 pm | by Daniel Howard, CTO, SCTE | Articles | Comments

Modern cable networks provide dynamic digital video transport that is a mix of linear, switched, and on-demand MPEG2 transport streams, as well as multicast, narrowcast and unicast IP video streams carried over DOCSIS, Wi-Fi, or carrier Ethernet.

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House Committee passes STELA version enabling broadcaster "collusion"

March 25, 2014 1:20 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology passed a version of the STELA act that explicitly allows broadcasters to band together in negotiations with MVPDs, a maneuver that the FCC is in the process of trying to bar, and which the ACA has explicitly called “collusion.”

Charter Media to cut ribbon on new production facility in Wis.

March 25, 2014 11:35 am | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

On Thursday Charter Media will open the doors on its new production facility in Madison, Wis. To mark the occasion, Charter will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Madison Chamber of Commerce. Charter Media is the sales division of Charter Communications.

Liberty Global’s Warga to join SCTE’s board

March 25, 2014 11:31 am | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Liberty Global’s Bill Warga will add an international flavor to the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers’ board of directors when he joins in September. Warga, vice president, technology and a member of the chief architecture group for Liberty Global, will replace Time Warner Cable’s Mike LaJoie.

Disney to buy YouTube video producer Maker Studios

March 25, 2014 11:19 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Disney said Monday that it is buying YouTube channel operator Maker Studios for $500 million as the family entertainment giant seeks to stay in front of younger viewers who are increasingly watching short videos online. It's the latest and largest acquisition of a YouTube channel network by a major Hollywood studio and represents another vote of confidence in the video service as an incubator of talent.

Memory Lane: Will the circle be unbroken?

March 24, 2014 7:26 pm | by Stewart Schley, Media & technology writer | Articles | Comments

If you slice through the snake of black cable that connects to your TV set and peer directly into the exposed innards, you’ll see a circle. Inside it, at the center, is a conductor, which in turn is shielded by insulating material and surrounded by a concentric outer conductor. You’re staring at an essential enabler of the modern telecommunications revolution: coaxial cable.

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Sense and Copyrightability

March 24, 2014 6:42 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

The fact that OTA broadcast stations are also carried on cable systems is thoroughly and absolutely irrelevant to Aereo – Cablevision is absolutely irrelevant to Aereo, and even if five Supreme Court Justices disagree I still won’t buy the argument.

Apple-Comcast! Hurry! Everybody Over-React!

March 24, 2014 1:20 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

This ends up being less than The WSJ makes it out to be… at first. After paragraphs and paragraphs of speculation, the paper reports that Apple is asking for an arrangement Comcast has no doubt already laughed off, assuming the report has all the details.

Bright House Networks rebrands commercial services division

March 24, 2014 12:15 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Bright House Networks has re-branded its business services division as Bright House Networks Enterprise Solutions. The former name was Bright House Networks Business Solutions, but Bright House said in a press release that the premise for the new name was “we’re wired differently.”

Aurora Networks bows new transmitter system

March 24, 2014 12:11 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Aurora Networks took the wraps off of a new transmitter system that was designed to reduce power consumption for DOCSIS 3.1 services. Aurora Networks said the HT3300H Series Double-Density 1310 nm Transmitter System also included 1.2 GHZ transmitters and featured high rack density. 

Virgin Media sticking with TiVo

March 21, 2014 12:45 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The company said it will be sticking with its TiVo-based service, rather than adopt the Horizon platform developed by new owner Liberty Global. Virgin Media elected to use the TiVo box in part because it enables the company to offer Netflix. The company has also talked to Amazon about adding Amazon Prime.

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Midcontinent gets green light in Fargo

March 21, 2014 12:11 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Midcontinent Communications is now able to move forward with its plan of offering services in Fargo, N.D. now that a franchise agreement with the city commission has been reached. Earlier this week, the city commission voted in favor of the 15-year franchise agreement, which allowed Midcontinent to start on its $55 million expansion into Fargo

Column: Plenty to worry about in Comcast/TWC deal

March 21, 2014 12:03 pm | by Frazier Moore, AP Television Writer | News | Comments

The herky-jerkiness of my Netflix video stream is nothing compared with my jittery nerves. I've been fretting since news broke last month that Comcast, the nation's reigning cable colossus, plans to swallow titanic runner-up Time Warner Cable. 

BlackBerry selling most Canadian real estate

March 21, 2014 11:52 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

BlackBerry is selling most of its real estate holdings in Canada as the struggling smartphone company continues to look for ways to improve its business. BlackBerry Ltd. did not disclose the buyer or purchase price, but said Friday that it will sell more than 3 million square feet of space and vacant lands.

Sony demos virtual reality headset for PS4

March 20, 2014 1:28 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The prototype headset is capable of surrounding a wearer's vision with interactive virtual worlds. Codenamed Project Morpheus, it utilizes a 1080p head-mounted display with head-tracking capabilities and works in concert with the PlayStation 4 console to display imagery on the headset's screen, providing a 90-degree field of view.

White-label portal combos OTT and linear

March 20, 2014 1:19 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Unified Video Technologies said it will introduce a new front-end interface for its video-on-demand portal service. While there are multiple white-label portal services, United Video claims its uVOD is differentiated in that it now also enables consumers to search and stream linear TV programming, in addition to over-the-top content.

AT&T’s Digital Life to go live in five more markets

March 20, 2014 12:44 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Starting tomorrow, AT&T will have its home automation and security platform, which is called Digital Life, live in four more markets. The new markets will include Greensboro, N.C., Bakersfield, Calif., Columbia, S.C., Fresno, Calif., and Knoxville, Tenn.

Mobile devices add allure to March Madness at work

March 20, 2014 12:35 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Every year, the NCAA college basketball tournament gives employees a reason to goof off at their desks and root for their alma maters. But there's a growing source of potential headaches for bosses. Media companies like hosts CBS Corp. and Time Warner Inc.'s Turner are doing all they can to promote so-called TV Everywhere services.

TP Vision adopts streaming content security system

March 19, 2014 1:11 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

TP Vision said it will integrate Elliptic Technologies’ tVault, which is based on DTCP-IP, which protects audiovisual content, when transmitted between digital entertainment products, against unauthorized copying, interception and tampering, while ensuring that content can be viewed and copied on home networked devices.

Comcast adds 18 networks into live streaming lineup

March 19, 2014 12:00 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Comcast has beefed up its TV Everywhere roster with the addition of 18 live streaming networks on its Xfinity TV Go app. With the latest additions, Comcast now offers 53 live channels that can be viewed on the go via a Wi-Fi connection.

Europe's telecom tie-ups signal big shakeup

March 19, 2014 11:49 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

After focusing for years on becoming wireless services, Europe's telecom companies are having a renewed love affair with cables. In what some industry observers are calling a "Back-to-the-Future" moment, the need for faster and wider pipes to deliver video and other data-intense applications is driving a raft of tie-ups between mobile and cable operators that is only expected to accelerate.

Harris Broadcast Imagines a new way for broadcasters to evolve

March 18, 2014 1:43 pm | by Jim Barthold, special to CED | News | Comments

Harris is splitting Imagine Communications and GatesAir, standalone companies under the guidance of CEO Charlie Vogt. Imagine will develop technology that helps broadcasters join cable, telco and wireless operators serving the needs of connected consumers via IP, the cloud and TV Everywhere. Both are expected to drive broadcasters into the 21st century by developing technologies that address a new breed of television viewers.

DLNA extension enables multi-screen delivery through set-tops

March 18, 2014 1:00 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Service providers have long been able to securely distribute IP-based content through broadband networks and broadband routers and still maintain security for the content. Previously, secure multi-screen distribution of MPEG-based pay TV content delivered through the set-top was not possible. DLNA CVP-2 will enable that.

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