Contributed by Mark Palazzo, VP/GM for Cisco’s Cable Access Business Unit
On the last day of a New Orleans week that contained two major conventions - the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers’ (SCTE) annual Cable Tec-Expo, preceded by the Cable Television Association for Marketing’s (CTAM) Summit -- early morning shop talk requires a strong cup of coffee.
That’s what prompted this impromptu chat between me and Leslie Ellis, Multichannel News columnist and winner of the 2010 SCTE/WICT Women in Technology award.
Compared to last year, video over IP moved from early-stage talk to deployable reality. More and more cable engineers are working on how to send linear and on-demand video services over bonded DOCSIS channels. In our booth, for instance, traffic was especially heavy around our demonstrations of video streaming to IP set-tops and wireless devices, like an iPhone.
Leslie asked me what the buzz was in our booth. My answer: “VDOC”, which is our name for Video over DOCSIS. Our new 3G60 line card solicited a lot of questions, mostly about downstream CMTS density. Our density increased to 700 downstreams in the 3G60, from 200 - an appreciable enhancement. People also seemed surprised, in a good way, about how substantially CMTS port costs have dropped over the past five years.
The cable marketers came to New Orleans earlier in the week, with somewhat parallel thoughts -- like how cable can participate in the explosion of IP-connectable devices. Also hot at CTAM: EBIF, and how it can be used to interactive-enable ads and TV shows, as well as to add IP functionalities to the legacy set-top base. Off camera, for instance, we talked about the first-ever “ITV Idol” contest for EBIF apps (Starz won).
All in, it was a long week, but a very good one. Next year, when we look back on this year’s SCTE Cable-Tec Expo, I’m betting we’ll be amazed at the speed by which IP technologies continue to advance in to our lives and work.