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

DirecTV 4K service will rely on Elemental transcoding

December 5, 2014 12:58 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

DirecTV became the first MVPD to announce plans to offer 4K content on demand, sometime in 2015. The satellite broadcaster will be using Elemental Server, a file-based transcoding solution, to prepare Ultra HD content for delivery. Elemental tweaked its HEVC algorithms so DirecTV didn't have to take a hit on bandwidth usage.  

Senators look at dropping NFL blackout rule

December 5, 2014 12:47 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Senators from both parties warned the National Football League on Thursday to get rid of a four-decade-old TV "blackout" rule or risk congressional action to restrict the league's lucrative antitrust exemption, which allows NFL teams to negotiate radio and television broadcast rights together. The blackout rule bars home games from being televised in a local market if they have not sold out, but is unfair to fans, lawmakers said.

ACA Summit: Washington DC

December 5, 2014 11:54 am | by CED | Events

The ACA Summit underscores the unique role that more than 800 independent cable operators play in providing best-in-class communications services to millions of consumers living and working in some of the most remote areas of the country. When it comes to responding to the critical broadband infrastructure needs of rural America, ACA Members are the ones who are putting their own capital at risk and supplying the solutions.

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SeaChange's new Rave system brings OTT to the masses

December 4, 2014 1:27 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Rave supports the delivery of on-demand, time-shifted, live and downloaded content, delivered to any device. The system also includes the company’s analytics, promotions and advertising features. Customers can use Rave to build a straight OTT service, or to deliver a service that blends linear and OTT content.

WOW! trims 9% of workforce

December 4, 2014 12:54 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Cable over builder WOW! is cutting 9 percent of its more than 3,000 employees. According to a story by DSLreports.com, the layoffs started Wednesday. A company spokeswoman said the elimination of the 270 jobs would continue through early next year.

Suddenlink adds CBS to primetime VOD lineup

December 3, 2014 1:01 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Suddenlink Communications has added programming from CBS, which is currently the nation’s top-rated broadcast network, to its VOD primetime lineup. With CBS in the fold, Suddenlink now offers free on demand programming from all four major broadcast networks, which also includes ABC, Fox and NBC.

Layer3 to use SeaChange gateway management system

December 3, 2014 12:50 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Layer3 TV aims to be a “next generation cable provider,” but has yet to define what that means beyond saying it intends to blend TV, social and digital life (whatever that means) working within “the existing distribution paradigm.” That it is using products from SeaChange provides only a few other hints at the general direction the company is moving in.

End game re-think: In Perspective

December 2, 2014 9:25 pm | by Brian Santo | Articles | Comments

For all the buzz Google is inspiring with Google Fiber, its 1 Gbps customers still have no idea how to get even close to exhausting that bounty. So do Google’s competitors need install fiber? With little real demand for 1 Gbps and with D3.1 and G.fast able to support 1 Gbps if and when it’s needed, the answer appears to be no, with some exceptions.

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HBO scripts a pay-TV sequel: Memory Lane

December 2, 2014 9:18 pm | by Stewart Schley, Media & technology writer | Articles | Comments

Now HBO is redrawing the lines again by embracing the idea of a direct-to-consumer video service. It may feel revolutionary, but HBO really isn’t making pay-TV history. Because the model of a premium cable channel spinning off an online variation had already come. And gone.

Proactive network maintenance: Engineering-wise

December 2, 2014 9:10 pm | by Marty Davidson, VP Engineering & Network Operations, SCTE | Articles | Comments

PNM began with CableLabs’ reference implementation of their tool utilizing pre-equalization to address linear noise and interference problems. But PNM today is much more than pre-equalization. It’s about customers, it’s about their quality of experience, and it’s about operational efficiency and changing the way we look at service performance.

Watching TV: Ciciora’s Corner

December 2, 2014 8:42 pm | by Walt S. Ciciora, Expert on cable and consumer electronics issues | Articles | Comments

Many years ago, late at night, my wife came into the family room and asked me what I was doing. I told her I was “watching TV.” She noted that there was no programing on, just a test pattern. I wasn’t watching programming, I was watching TV! As an engineer in the research department at Zenith in the Chicago area, I was educating my eyes.

November / December 2014

December 2, 2014 8:26 pm | by CED | Digital Editions | Comments

In this issue, we profile Sherita Ceaser, the recipient of the 2014 Women In Technology Award. CED editors attended the 2014 Cable-Tec Expo, caught up on keynotes, sampled the seminars, and sat through the sessions to bring you a comprehensive overview of the technologies that are driving progress in the cable industry. Contributed articles address managing networks – one looks at smart home networks, the other at the cloud.

Lip synch revisited: Capital Currents

December 2, 2014 7:57 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Articles | Comments

Ever since the earliest days of digital television, broadcasters have struggled to deliver a television signal with the sound and picture synchronized. That’s because the end-to-end chain from production to compression to storage to distribution to decompression consists of devices that each introduce some latency.

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RCN tunes in more VOD Music Choice videos

December 2, 2014 1:12 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Cable over builder RCN has beefed up its Music Choice videos by adding more than 3,000 new options on its VOD platform. The new Music Choice videos and original shows, which are available to RCN’s digital TV subscribers for free, represented a five-fold increase over RCN’s previous library.

Report: Roku still rules the roost for streaming media devices

December 2, 2014 1:09 pm | by Mike Robuck | Blogs | Comments

When it comes to streaming media players, Roku still reigns supreme followed by Google’s Chromecast, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV. According to a report by Parks Associates, Roku was the leading brand with 29 percent of sales in the United States while Chromecast took over second place from Apple TV with a market share of 20 percent compared to Apple’s 17 percent.

Envivio's loss widens in Q3

December 2, 2014 1:02 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Envivio had a drop in third quarter revenue and reported a larger net loss, compared to its Q3 results a year ago. The company said markets in Europe and Asia are lagging, and that in North America, customers are consolidating and have slowed their spending because of it.

Virgin Media unifies DAI across multiple services

December 2, 2014 12:36 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

BlackArrow scored its first big contract outside North America, working with Virgin Media to help deliver targeted ads. Virgin Media will use BlackArrow’s solutions to choose the most appropriate ads for its TiVo-based service, including its on-demand TV platform and Virgin TV Anywhere.

Rumor of hookup moving Vodafone, Liberty Global stock values

December 1, 2014 12:49 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Vodafone is evaluating the possibility of a merger with or acquisition of Liberty Global, according to reports quoting unnamed Vodafone insiders. True or not, the rumor is having an effect: the value of Vodafone stock was driven down as much as 4 percent in London, while the value of Liberty Global was lifted by over 7 percent in New York.

Alticast helps power Videotron’s new DVR

December 1, 2014 12:44 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Alticast said its team of engineers and software played a key role in the development of Videotron’s new whole-home DVR, which can record up to eight shows at the same time and features 2 terabytes of storage. Alticast's team of engineers was responsible for developing a big chunk of the critical software for the X8’s multi-room DVR capabilities and interactive applications.

Dish, CBS agree to second extension

November 26, 2014 10:58 am | by Mike Robuck | Blogs | Comments

Video blackouts are a real buzz kill for those tryptophan-induced Thanksgiving comas, so on that note CBS and Dish Network agreed to extend their retransmission talks for the second time. The two sides had settled on a five-day extension on Nov. 20 before the second extension was announced Tuesday night.

A Perry Mason twist in the FCC's favor

November 25, 2014 8:40 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

In Washington, D.C., a set of programmers are holding up two major corporate takeovers because they don’t want a few extra lawyers to become privy to the trade secrets in their retrans consent contracts. Meanwhile, in Washington State, a Court of Appeals just ruled there no grounds for claiming that the terms of retrans agreements are trade secrets.

Denhart steps down as CEO at BlackArrow

November 25, 2014 7:16 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

BlackArrow’s Dean Denhart is stepping down as the company’s chief executive officer. He’d held that position for the last 7 years. BlackArrow president Nick Troiano will lead the company moving forward. “Dean has been a key part of BlackArrow’s success and he has positioned us well for the future,” said Troiano.

Building A Converged Video Architecture: A Panacea for Multi-platform Woes

November 25, 2014 5:54 pm | by Les Carter, vice president/chief architect, BlackArrow | Articles | Comments

A scalable converged video architecture lets the pay-TV service provider rise above the challenges of multi-platform video integration and allows them to focus on the business side of monetization. It also means more relevant ads for consumers and cross-platform, addressable ads for advertisers. In the end, this architecture has a little something for everyone.

Kids’ VOD network Kabillion lands deal with Cablevision

November 25, 2014 4:51 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Kabillion, a VOD network that features content for kids, recently reached a carriage agreement with Cablevision. With the Cablevision deal, Kabillion is now available to more than 50 million homes across the United States. Other programming partners for Kabillion include Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, Verizon and Bright House Networks.

Report: DOCSIS channel shipments up 85 percent YoY in 3Q

November 25, 2014 12:49 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Pushed along by investments in high-bandwidth services, DOCSIS channels shipments were up 95 percent year-over-year in the third quarter. The move from CMTS platforms to the cable industry’s Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) is also well underway with CCAP revenue increasing 7 percent in the third quarter to $360 million, according to a report by Infonetics Research.

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