News

Your 2012 Cable Show Jargon Descrambler

5/21/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

IT’S CABLE SHOW WEEK IN BOSTON, AND
technology is once again driving
what’s been a pretty massive slate
of improvements and launches, just
since we all got together last year
in Chicago. Expect jargon; use this
handy descrambler for bearings.

In no particular order:

“BYOD” means “Bring Your Own
Device.” It’s long been a lament of
IT people, what with all the stuff
we now own that connects to the Internet from anywhere
there’s a signal. Now that we’re fetching video
and screens are in our hands, not hanging on the
wall, it’s becoming a cable tech-talk term, too.

“CCAP,” which last year at this time was
“CMAP,” will again be a big tech topic. It stands for
“Cable Converged Access Platform” and refl ects
the fact that the things that convey digital information
from headend to home — in cable, “QAMs,”
for quadrature amplitude modulators” — grew up
in different time frames and from different vendor
groupings, per service. Digital video and video
QAMs came first. Then data QAMs, for broadband.
In some cases, voice QAMs, although they’re the
spittin’ image of data QAMs.

Anyway, “CCAP” is an effort to make a one-sizefits-all QAM, which saves money all over the place.

Heard of “augmented reality,” but haven’t really
seen it? Look for it in the CableLabs CableNET
area, and in an Imagine Park panel on Monday
(11:45-12:30). It’s been happening among tech
enthusiasts for some time now. It lets you set up
the GPS coordinates on your phone so as to see
overlays of stuff near you that you may need — a
cheeseburger, a train, a doctor. Get there a few
minutes early.

Speaking of Imagine Park, it’s got a great lineup
this year (says someone who helped to plan it).
What is it? This is the second year of the former
“home of the future” exhibit, to showcase new
ideas in a park-like setting. Yes, there’s food, and
Wi-Fi — in both IPv4 and IPv6. (Mark that calendar!
June 6 is World IPv6 Launch Day.)

Also in Imagine Park, don’t miss the judged
debate on Tuesday (3-3:45). Is cable doing enough
to attract and keep young people/future heads of
household? Hear what future heads of household
from Harvard and Columbia decide.

Near Imagine Park, do yourself the favor of waiting
in the line to see “Surfaces,” put on by NDSsoon-
Cisco. It’s HDTV on your wall. You’ll exit thinking
about where you’d put that big bookshelf, if you
could use that wall for the big TV-without-a-TV.

Last but not least: Gateways will be big again this
year, in vendor booths and in a specific section of
CableNET. Quick refresher: “Headless” means no
video outputs, which means it doesn’t need to be
near the TV. “Hybrid” means it’s a bridge between
today’s world of RF and QAM toward all-IP.

As someone who spent the last 25-plus years
of life watching this industry evolve its technologies
— at what often felt like a glacial speed — it’s
nearly exhilarating to see this sprightly pace. In
both a geez-how-to-track-it-all, and a don’t-trick-me
sense … see you there!


Stumped by gibberish? Visit Leslie Ellis at translationplease.com or multichannel.com/blog.
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