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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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Behind the Scenes of Cloud DVR

In the three months that passed between this year’s Cable Show, in Washington, D.C., and this week’s IBC conference, in Amsterdam, one thing is certain: Cloud DVR. It’s on.

Comcast started the buzz, with its X2 platform. Ever since, we’ve seen a surge of interest in cloud DVR from service providers around the globe.  Directionally, it’s gone from “that sounds interesting, let’s keep an eye on it,” to “we need to do this — let’s get a proof of concept going.”

That’s all good news for us, of course, and seems a good reason to share a few observations we’ve made along the way, as cloud DVR services go to market.

One: Linear parity matters, especially for advertising. If ever you want to create an instant imbroglio, tell the people in the ad sales department that the new service – cloud DVR, in this case – doesn’t provide linear parity. Put another way: Support for basic ad zones is a table stake, when it comes to cloud DVR.

So: Putting DVR services in Read More »

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What Does It Take to Stay Ahead in Today’s Dynamic and Competitive Video Market?

One critical factor to stay ahead in today’s dynamic and competitive video market is the agility to deploy new services and hardware fast.

But what do service providers really need in order to be agile?

An open client software is a great start. It provides a core software base so service providers can focus on innovating rather than handling fundamental software components. It is continually enhanced by the developer community and easy to integrate with hardware and software components from third-parties or the open software community.

A fine example of open software for video CPE is the RDK (Reference Design Kit). Originally begun by Comcast two years ago, RDK is evolving into a standardized open software base for the industry. It is enjoying growing support from a broad community of Service Providers, SoC, OEMs, software vendors, and system integrators. It provides a shared set of software components for QAM, IP, and hybrid devices. And it has a modular, layered architecture for easy hardware and software updates.

As an open software that enables agility, RDK ticks all the right boxes.

But to realize that agility—that is, to actually bring new services and platforms to market at a rapid pace with success—service providers need a partner with the right expertise, resources, and software components

What does this entail? Read More »

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