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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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In Defense of the American Pay-TV Bundle

By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

It’s not a popular opinion. On the internet, it goes over about as well as saying you hate kittens. But I have to say it: I love the cable bundle.

I realize this goes against the grain. Find any article on the web about bundling of TV channels, and at least 75% of the comments on it will be irate—people fulminating over the injustice of paying for channels they don’t watch, railing at networks for not selling their shows online the day they air, advocating that the entire pay-TV ecosystem be blown up once and for all.

Read More »

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Behind the Contours of the Contour

Earlier this week, our colleagues at Cox took the wraps off a beauty of a next-new version of personalized television, branded “Contour.” It’s a continuation of its service extensions earlier this year into screens “beyond the TV,” such as iPads, tablets, laptops, and smartphones.

Until Contour, the app was called “Cox TV Connect,” and offered a hundred or so linear channels. With the additions that shaped it into “Contour,” Cox customers get that plus a whole lot more — and I say that because it really is a whole lot more.

More means Read More »

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