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Cleaner, Greener Set-top Boxes Under a Landmark Voluntary Agreement

chowjBy Joe Chow, VP & GM, Cisco Connected Devices BU

The Set-top box sits at the heart of our home entertainment centers, providing hours of enjoyment for the best of what’s on television. Over the past few years, it has become clear that we can do better when it comes to reducing set-top-box energy consumption.

That’s why Cisco has engaged in a robust dialogue with energy advocates, television providers, other equipment manufacturers and, ultimately the Department of Energy (DoE), to see if common ground could be reached on the energy efficiency of set-top boxes. Today, we are pleased to announce that a voluntary agreement has been forged.

This agreement preserves the highest quality consumer television experience, while making significant reductions in energy usage and greenhouse gases. This is a landmark agreement, which saves consumers money, protects the environment, and provides regulatory certainty for manufacturers and providers alike. That’s what I call a win-win-win.

Here’s what the agreement will do:

This agreement will save consumers at least $1 billion annually in energy costs, it will save 500 megawatts of energy every year (enough energy to power 4 million light bulbs all year round) and will prevent five million tons of CO2 emissions per year.

It commits PayTV providers to deploying energy efficient set-top boxes to at least 90% of all subscribers nationwide. Additionally, Cisco and other manufacturers are committed to design, build and provide set-top boxes and multifunctional gateways that meet stringent energy efficiency requirements, while maintaining the ability to provide the anytime, anywhere, any device video experience consumers have come to expect.

Cisco is proud of this agreement, and we look forward to providing our customers with cleaner and greener set-top boxes, so we can all return to our regularly scheduled programing.

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Videoscape Helps Customers in India, Mexico, Brazil and Germany Deliver New Connected Video Experiences

In Sao Paulo, GVT TV needed a way to protect its satellite-delivered video content.

In New Delhi, direct broadcast satellite provider Tata Sky needed a way to outfit its customers to stream video to IP-connected screens.

In Mexico, Megacable — the first in the country to launch broadband Internet over cable, needed to build the back-end video acquisition and distribution for an IP-based on-demand service to tablets and connected devices.

And in Germany, Deutsche Telekom needed a better view into its CDN (content delivery network), and a way to bridge into its “Entertain To Go” package of TV Everywhere content.

In all four cases, core components of Cisco’s Videoscape portfolio rose to the challenge: GTV TV selected our Videoscape VideoGuard® Smart Cards. GVT’s service footprint spans 146 cities in Brazil, and expanding.

Tata Sky deployed our Videoscape Video Everywhere technology — a Read More »

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Cisco@SCTE Expo 2013: Seven Papers and a Breakfast

It wouldn’t be an SCTE Cable-Tec Expo without a stellar lineup of technical papers and workshops – even better because each one happens twice, to alleviate trade show schedules.

This year’s program features seven papers and presentations by my engineering colleagues, and a breakfast. Food first: Please join us at 6:30A on Tuesday for a Light Reading breakfast session titled “Monetizing Wi-Fi,” featuring Jared Headley, Senior Director of SP Mobility for Cisco. Here’s a link for more info.

In papers and presentations, here’s what Cisco’s technologists are contributing to the 2013 SCTE Cable-Tec Expo:

  • A deep-dive on DOCSIS 3.1 and “downstream convergence layers,” researched and written by John Chapman, SCTE Cable ‘Hall of Famer’, Cisco Fellow and CTO of its Cable Access Business Unit. It’s part of the Pre-conference DOCSIS 3.1 Symposium, which runs all day (10A-4:15P) on Monday, October 21. (In room 309, if you’re going.) John’s a DOCSIS pioneer, and always worth seeing, especially if you harbor any curiosity about how MAC-layer data will get onto the PHY layer – and lots of other 3.1 detail.
  • The amount of video distributed over IP is growing fast. John Horrobin focuses on this phenomenon in a session, titled “Implementing End-to-End IP Video Solutions,” drawing from lessons learned in field deployments to compare multicast to unicast and switched techniques. His paper and presentation, titled “Pioneering IP Video in Cable Networks,” also explores current events in the combining network, and how it will evolve in step with CCAP deployments.  Gateways with 16 and 24 tuners, that can deliver signals to connected devices over Ethernet, MoCA and Wi-Fi, are also detailed.  John’s on at 1:15-2:30 on Monday, 10/21, and again on Thursday from 2:30-3:45.
  • The decades-old old engineering challenge – how much to store, vs. how much to stream – is Read More »

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A Practical Path to Gigabit Services Over Cable

By John Mattson, Senior Director of Marketing, Cisco Cable Access Business Unit

By now you’ve heard from AT&T, Google Fiber, Verizon, and the mainstream media, about their plans to offer Gigabit services in over14 states that’ll get wired for 1 Gig next year. Will Gigabit become a “New Norm”?

And if you’re a broadband service provider, you’re thinking, “okay, so, my fastest tiers are my lowest subscribed – tell me again why I need to rush to get this done right now?”

Far be it from me, or us, to pile on to this particular viewpoint, when it comes to Gigabit DOCSIS. Naturally, we see a reason for it. We sell the equipment. But I do think there’s a more plausible way to look at it, which is timely, because it’s a technical discussion, and this is the week of the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers’ annual Cable-Tec Expo in Atlanta.

We propose the following question to our cable operator customers: What if there was a way to profitably offer very high-speed services in your upper service tiers, while increasing speeds in your lower tiers, without massive disruption and the dreaded “forklift upgrade”? We believe there is. Think about it: Read More »

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Cisco’s TV Technology Footprint Spans Nearly 300 Million Homes

chowj-300x400By Joe Chow, VP & GM, Connected Devices Business Unit, Cisco

Headsup: Worldwide, Cisco’s TV technologies are present in nearly 300 million homes. Three. Hundred. Million. Homes! As my kids would say: Get. Out! That means that nearly a quarter of the homes on planet Earth are watching TV powered by Cisco – pretty amazing, right?

For us, it’s a very big deal, because it makes us the market share leader in set-top boxes. It took a long time to get here. We’re very happy, and grateful, to the 150 service providers and media companies who chose us for the television services they deliver.

One of the reasons for the introduction of the set-top box, dating back to the analog boxes of yore, is to secure television programming from theft. On the condition that you’re a subscriber, you get access to multichannel video. That, and channel expansion beyond channel three (which was as high as early television sets could go) gave Read More »

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