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Videoscape Extends Network Intelligence into the Home to Reduce Multi-screen Costs

The SCTE Cable-Tec Expo held in Atlanta (Nov 15-17, 2011), provided further industry confirmation that multi-screen delivery has become table stakes for operators. Yet, an undercurrent of all the promise that multi-screen video can bring is the cost of delivering applications and services to additional screens. There are network costs for additional bandwidth provisioning, data center costs for transcoding content into various bit rates and formats, and customer support costs related to the launch of new services, among others. How can operators confidently launch multi-screen services under these circumstances? Cisco’s Videoscape addresses this operator concern with an architecture designed to mitigate the cost of multi-screen video delivery and to achieve tangible results.

Let’s take the use case of linear TV streaming to companion devices in the home. There is growing concern that consumers will treat their companion devices as they do their regular TVs, and continuously stream linear content to their connected devices, raising the cost to provision sufficient bandwidth to support subscribers. There are multiple ways to tackle this consumer behavior challenge. Better content discovery and recommendation can ensure that consumers only stream content they actively want to watch, and data caps can provide the disincentive to over-consumption.

Cisco’s Videoscape architecture addresses this challenge by extending cloud transcoding and network intelligence into the home. Videoscape multi-screen home gateways can alleviate some of the bandwidth concerns for streaming to Internet-connected Read More »

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Cisco Leads the way in standardizing IP Video delivery through MPEG DASH Specification

The share of time-shifted content as compared to conventional broadcast TV programming has been on a continual upward trend.  One third of U.S. consumers currently use a digital video recorder (DVR) or similar device for time-shifting.  However, as on-demand programming becomes more popular as a substitute for typical time-shifting, more consumers are visiting the Web to access their favorite shows and movies on a computer or mobile device.  Consequently, the Web is quickly becoming a popular choice for on-demand digital TV that incorporates content downloads and streaming using Web protocols.

The Streaming of MPEG Media over HTTP Ad Hoc Group (now known as the Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH) Ad Hoc Group) began working on the development of a specification and published a call-for-proposals in May 2010 to address this growing market.  After an initial evaluation period in July 2010, DASH Ad Hoc Group adopted 3GPP’s Release 9 as a baseline specification and began running several evaluation experiments. The DASH Ad Hoc Group is working on the standardization of the manifest file, delivery format, conversion to and from existing file formats, and the use of MPEG2 Transport Streams as a media format. The DASH Ad Hoc Group has also been coordinating closely with the 3GPP SA4 Working Group to better align their respective specifications in this area. Read More »

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Why I’m Feelin’ Good About Chicago and The Cable Show

By Mark Palazzo, VP/GM, Cisco’s Cable Access business

As industry vendors, we go into every tradeshow mired in details. From the packed meeting schedules to the booth demos (things go much better when they work…!) to the evening events with customers and industry colleagues, it’s far less glamorous than our non-convention-going friends might think. Right? Then there’s struggle to get the suitcase zipped, with the new tonnage of stuff needing transit back to the office.

It’s only afterwards, with a weekend in between to parse the major themes, that the answers come. I’ve checked in with several Cisco colleagues who were on-site in Chicago for The Cable Show last week. We’re in agreement that if the question is “I saw the whole thing! What happened??” in terms of this year’s blur of a Cable Show, our short list goes like this:

  1. Optimism reigns in cable. In years past, and especially last year, it seemed that a miasma of anxiousness blanketed the cable industry, led by fears of over-the-top video providers – and especially Netflix, as a contender for the industry’s own video-on-demand business. This year, we went into the show fresh with knowledge that Netflix traffic continues to gobble up broadband capacity — yet the sense of optimism amongst service providers was unmistakable. To me, it almost felt like the buoyant good will of the go-go-franchise years, in the late ‘70s. With continued evidence that DOCSIS can see the industry through even the heaviest of bandwidth-heavy times, coupled with significant advancements in both “cloud” and “client” – it’s gratifying, as a vendor company focused nearly entirely on network, client, and cloud! Read More »

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The Buzz About Cisco and Red Bee Media

By Bart Spreister, Sr. Director, IP Video Systems, Cisco

Today we announced our collaboration with Red Bee Media, an international media management company, to offer broadcasters and media companies the means to provide TV and other kinds of digital media through streaming video players and VOD portals.

That’s kind of a mouthful. Allow me break it down into my top three reasons why this is one of the more exciting deals I’ve had the good fortune to be involved with:

  1. Red Bee is cool, –plain and simple. Those who hang out on the U.S. side of the Atlantic may not have heard much about Red Bee Media before, so let me explain it this way: Imagine going to another country to hang out with your new colleague, who knows everybody and is doing all the coolest stuff in video. Red Bee is that kind of partner. They’re a highly respected TV and media aggregator in Europe, and especially the U.K. For instance, of the five major broadcasters there, Red Bee provides the online portal and client. They’re creative and connected and fun, which is a great combination. Read More »

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Yes, Virginia, There is a (Very!) Long-Term Future for DOCSIS Technologies

Contributed By John Chapman, Chief Technology Officer, Cisco Cable Access Business Unit, and Engineering Fellow

Earlier this year, as part of CableLabs’ “Innovation Showcase,” in Atlanta, we showed how DOCSIS 3.0-based technologies can gracefully and powerfully scale, if operators were to continue increasing the number of digital channels they place into a DOCSIS bond.

The question we were endeavoring to answer was this: Is DOCSIS dead, or does it have another 15+ years of life in it? The answer is clearly the latter.  Why? Because the classification and QoS features in backbone routers (like our recently announced ASR 9000 System) are architected for massive speed, in terms of packets-per-second – and those features will migrate down into cable CMTS gear.

The demo for CableLabs focused on our 3G60 CMTS cards, which bonded 48 downstream channels and 12 upstream channels, using 256 QAM in the downstream, and 64-QAM in the upstream. The result was a 1.6 Gbps downstream pipe, and 300 Mbps upstream. But that was back in February. The bond size was generous, but still partial. When you consider the full spectrum capacity of cable television systems – from 54 MHz to 1 GHz, downstream, and from 5 MHz to 42 MHz upstream – clearly, there’s a lot more breathing room for wideband IP services.

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