Three Dynamic Topics For ’08

1/04/2008 7:00 PM Eastern

Three big topics permeated the engineering lingo scene this year, and will assuredly gibberish themselves well into 2008.

Big topic No. 1: Advanced advertising and the furious, industry-wide paddling, via the so-called “Project Canoe,” to “interconnect the interconnects” around the cabled country.

Prior to the summer news of Canoe, the state-of-the-state in advanced advertising was the notion of “dynamic VOD.” That’s the one about splicing a newer, fresher ad into a stored video-on-demand title. Up until then, ads were baked in as each title was formatted for storage.

Here’s what we’ll probably hear a lot about, tech-wise, in the ’08 advanced-advertising scene: SCTE DVS 629. Spelled out, it’s the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers’ Digital Video Subcommittee, which is working on a standard, numbered 629.

DVS 629 adds a different flavor of dynamic into dynamic VOD. If this year’s dynamic VOD (known in tech circles as SCTE DVS 30 and 35) was about how to splice a new ad into an old title, then next year’s dynamic VOD, via SCTE DVS 629, is about how to pick which ad gets spliced.

Among the gibberish that 629 introduces: “ADM,” for “Ad Management Service;” “ADS,” for Ad Decision Service; “CIS,” for Content Information Service” and “POIS,” for “Placement Opportunity Information Service.”

More on these in a future translation. Promise.

Big Topic No. 2: The scuffle-pocked work to find a reasonable way to do “two-way plug-and-play” connectivity between CE devices and cable services.

This one already gave us CableCards, plus the shifting nomenclature for set-top middleware. Now, we call it “OpenCable Platform.” We used to call it “OCAP.” A new name is reportedly imminent.

On the consumer electronics side, ’07 gave us “DCR-plus,” where the “DCR” stands for “Digital Cable Ready,” which raises a wearying list of questions about protocols and potentially bifurcated workloads.

Big Topic No. 3: Anything that moves or lives within the swiftly growing world of Internet Protocol (IP). This includes strategic things, like interconnecting individual cable backbones for handing off voice calls more economically (read: avoiding termination fees paid to telcos).

It includes arcane-but-important things, like ENUM (pronounced as the letter E, plus “numb”), which stands for “Telephone Number Mapping.” Think of it as the White Pages for routers. It’s what works in the background, converting phone numbers into IP addresses.

And then there’s that giant whooshing sound that is the movement of video to the Web, which pairs nicely with IP-side inventions like DOCSIS 3.0. That’s the one where you bond together four or so 6 MHz channels, sum the throughput, and wind up with burst downstream speeds of 150-plus Mbps. (Mercy!)

That’s the short list. I wish you a thriving and translatable 2008.

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