Bit Rate

SCTE Journal: Dialing For Digital

6/25/2008 3:30 PM

Philadelphia—Yesterday, Comcast execs spoke in fairly general terms about their analog-reclamation strategy. Then even more interesting tidbits came in over the transom after the day’s sessions had ended.

The MSO has settled on Motorola, Pace and Thomson to supply as many as 6 million digital-to-analog converters in 2008 and 12 million in 2009, according to an industry executive who told me about Comcast’s current plan. (However, a Comcaster tells me those numbers appear to be somewhat high.)

At any rate, those "DTAs" are a key element of the operator’s aggressive campaign to eliminate dozens of bandwidth-hungry analog TV channels in 20% of its footprint.

See: Comcast Picks DTA Partners.

Here’s a rundown of additional news and notes from Cable-Tec Expo:

* Comcast’s SDV Sweet Spot(s): Comcast distinguished engineer Phil Gabler provided some insight into the MSO’s four technical trials to date with switched digital video.

Panasonic Toughbook CF-U1* Panasonic debuted the ruggedized Toughbook CF-U1, the first "ultra mobile PC" to integrate Intel’s new low-power Atom processor. Designed for field technicians — with a "full-shift" battery life of 6-8 hours – the 2.5-pound computer runs either Windows XP or Vista and carries a list price of $2,500. The CF-U1 includes a 5.6-inch screen, 1D and 2D barcode and RFID readers, and a 2-megapixel digital camera.

* Comcast Tests 100-Gig Ethernet With Cisco: MSO completes a 100 Gigabit Ethernet technology test over fiber between Philadelphia and McLean, Va.

* Cisco Touts SDV, Wideband Customers: Canadian operator Rogers to deploy Cisco/SA switched digital video system; Japanese operator J:COM uses Cisco DOCSIS 3.0 modems.

Juniper Networks announced that Comcast has ordered additional Juniper Networks MX-series Ethernet Services Routers and T1600 core routers. Last year, Comcast began deploying the MX-series platforms to support business services offerings in major metro areas. The MSO expects the new Juniper routers to be incorporated later this year into its metro regional network architecture, which carries traffic for all of its services.

* JDSU released the PathTrak Video Monitoring system and the PathTrak RPM3000 system module to ensure high-quality delivery of video, VoIP and high-speed data services. The system proactively monitors for RF and MPEG impairments and provides both live and historical performance measurements throughout the network.

* Motorola announced its first gigabit passive optical networking (GPON) cable customer: Compton Communications, an Ontario operator that will use Motorola’s fiber-to-the-home solution for the launch of its all-fiber network and new commercial service offerings. Specifically, Compton will use the Motorola AXS1800 Optical Access Platform and ONT1400GT Optical Network Terminal.

* Motorola also released the Digital Addressable Controller 4.0 software upgrade for existing customers of the DAC6000, which provides secured access control for video distribution systems. New features in DAC 4.0 include a newly designed Web-based user interface and automation of manual processes like channel map changes.

* Time Warner Cable Picks Synchronoss For Online Orders: MSO will use Synchronoss’ electronic order management system to process online orders for its triple play.

* Arris and Cisco released a joint proposal for technical criteria supporting multi-wavelength optical networks at the SCTE technical committee. The two companies said their solutions will help enable expanded optical transport capacity for existing HFC networks or within greenfield deployments.