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The Future of IP Video and DOCSIS: John Chapman, Part One

As multichannel video providers beeline toward an IP-based service infrastructure, they seek capacity, efficiency and QoE, notes John Chapman, Cisco Fellow and Chief Architect, who was interviewed on the floor of The Cable Show, in Los Angeles.

If you’re thinking about how multichannel video shifts to IP transport, from MPEG transport, you’re probably already well-versed in the language of DOCSIS 3.0, and its channel bonding features.

Bonding multiple 6 MHz channels together is the foundation for a multicast, IP version of today’s linear broadcast offerings. In doing so, cable operators dramatically expand their shelf space for multi-screen, multi-format video offerings.

Likewise, by converging video services into one, IP-based pipe, cable operators save in operational and capital expense. And, over time, as more MPEG-based video streams shift into the IP domain, their bandwidth can be recovered and applied to other applications.

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Cisco Invites You to Enter the “What If Your TV Could” Video Contest – Opportunity to Win USD$10000

If your TV could do anything what would YOU want it to doToday at the Cable Show, Cisco launched What If Your TV Could…?, a video contest asking consumers to submit creative ideas about what they wish their TV could do. For an opportunity to win USD$10,000, participants will enter a short video explaining what future capabilities they would like to see on their TV.

Consumers are encouraged to submit video responses to the question, “If your TV could do anything, what would YOU want it to do?” on Cisco’s contest website at www.ciscocontest.com.

Videos must be less than three minutes in length. The public will have the opportunity to rate, comment and choose their favorite videos. Winners will be based on the number of views, average rating and creativity as determined by a panel of judges from Cisco.

The best video will win the grand prize of USD$10,000. The three top-viewed videos will receive a USD$500 gift card to Amazon.com. Submissions will be posted on the contest website for the public to view.

For contest terms and conditions, please visit: http://www.ciscocontest.com/.

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Mobile Broadband: Because You Can Only Go So Far with Physical Plant

When it comes to “the four any’s” (anything, anytime, anywhere, any device) it’s the latter two (“anywhere” and “any device”) that are tricky. Especially if the majority of your network is wired.

The train corridor along the East coast of the United States is a good example: Up until very recently, commuters who wanted a mobile broadband signal did so by purchasing a special dongle from their cellular carrier, and paying a monthly service fee.

That all changed on April 15, when Cablevision, Comcast and Time Warner Cable announced free Wi-Fi access to existing broadband subscribers when they’re in the New York metropolitan area. The idea: Turn on the laptop or Wi-Fi-equipped screen. Select from three SSIDs, one for each operator, which appear as hotspot connect options. Pick your service provider, login -- free mobile broadband.

In the background, here’s what happens to make all that cross-MSO roaming work: Outdoor cable modems plug into the MSOs’ fiber optic facilities. Power for the modem comes from the cable network; control mechanisms include subscriber authentication, provisioning, security, and management.

Another consideration in extended-reach Wi-Fi installations: How to deal with unwanted interference within the unlicensed spectral boundaries of the Wi-Fi signal. This interference can come from such mundane items as microwave ovens, garage door openers, and cordless phones, and can have an impact on the quality of the signal users receive on their Wi-Fi networks.

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Our Take on the Top-3 Trends at This Week’s Cable Show in L.A.

Three trends seem remarkably clear as we head into this year’s Spring Cable Show: IP video, cloud-based services, and mobile broadband.

Put them all together, and you have what we at Cisco call “medianet” -- a catch-all phrase for our all-IP, next-generation network components. Several of them will be on display in executive suite ES-78. We welcome you to come in and see!

For those readers who perhaps aren’t in L.A. for the Cable Show, here’s an overview, starting with IP video. It’s big, we think, for two reasons: Consumers want to watch Internet video on their TV, and they want to watch their subscription video on screens other than their TV.

To do that, you need IP-based video components. Because we strongly view IP video as the third wave of video delivery (after analog and digital delivery), we’re very excited about our work with cable operators on a unified viewing experience for subscription, on-demand and online video.

In fact, we’re probably the biggest chanters of the mantra that is “the network as the platform,” which is why a second part of our IP video strategy is about enabling ways for operators to monetize over-the-top video traffic, by creating value back into the content eco-system.

As far as “the cloud” -- it’s just hard to avoid “cloud talk” these days, and we’re no exception. It’s because we think that cable is a cloud, in its own way. And here at Cisco, we’re on a mission to find ways for cable MSOs to monetize their backbone, regional and access networks.

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The Appearance of Cloud-Based Business Services

Cloud business services are now beginning to rapidly appear, often delivered out of service provider public clouds. Cloud computing offers businesses the ability to increase productivity by enabling their end-users to work anywhere, anyplace, at anytime. Delivering multiple services in a multi-tenant environment also offers Service Providers the opportunity to decrease their data center costs through consolidation and efficiency. This shift from standalone applications designed to work entirely within a silo to a flexible network of information really benefits the end-user.

Cloud-based applications are delivered from the data center across the next-generation network to the user’s fingertips and can scale to business needs, cost less with an on-demand pricing schema, and allow the business to focus on its core competencies instead of figuring out how to deploy the latest applications. What’s great here as well, is a multitude of cloud-based applications and services for consumer mobile platforms are being developed with the corporate world in mind.

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