Cable-Tec Expo 2010: More News and Notes

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Attendance at last week’s SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in beautiful N’awlins may have been down (see Cable-Tec Expo Draws 8,200 To New Orleans) but there was no shortage of interesting demos and developments.

Here’s a second round of notable items from the show:

* Cisco Systems’ new 3G60 card for the uBR10012 provides 72 downstream and 60 upstream channels — which most MSOs won’t need right away. So the vendor is selling the 3G60 in a “pay-as-you-grow” licensing model, with a minimum channels of 16 down and 16 up, according to John Horrobin, product marketing manager for Cisco’s Cable Access business unit. Cisco introduced the channel-licensing model with its 20-by-20 card on the downstream side and has now extended that to the upstream channels as well.

* SeaChange and BlackArrow talked about why they are working to more tightly integrate their systems for dynamic VOD ads. According to BlackArrow president Nick Troiano, the vendors took the initiative: “It’s about owning the problem. It wasn’t someone putting a gun to our heads.”

* ADB was pushing the concept of a “virtual” gateway, showing its set-tops share content and resources over DLNA with a PlayStation3 and iPad. “This is leveraging the hardware a subscriber already owns,” said Chris Dinallo, VP/product management and technical marketing. He noted that the number of tuners in a media gateway isn’t settled — so why not let MSOs more flexibly add two-tuner set-tops or DVRs as needed? ADB also was showing a portable tru2way analyzer to capture multiple parameters relating to tru2way (a.k.a. OpenCable Application Platform).

* Avail-TVN demo’d an end-to-end “TV Everywhere” solution that delivers content in H.264 MPEG-4 — and SSL-based encryption, the standard for the Web — so there’s no additional video transcoding or security client needed to reach an array of (authorized) devices that support those standards. Avail-TVN CTO Mike Kazmier said the system is in market trials now with scale deployments targeted in Q1 2011.

* ADB’s Vidiom Systems, in a similar vein, was showing an IPTV solution for smaller MSOs. Dubbed the Vidiom Open System Solution (VOSS), it’s based on the international GEM-IPTV specification with MPEG-4 content from Avail-TVN and network distribution gear from Harmonic. Vidiom was showing VOSS running games applications written for the Java-based GEM (Globally Executable Multimedia Home Platform), allegedly without any additional modification.

* Ericsson, as sponsor Cable-Tec Expo Chairman’s Reception on Wednesday, passed out green laser pointers (with a 650-nm wavelength laser). Great for the conference’s technical sessions but probably not a toy for your preschool-age kids back home — the device’s label warns against “direct eye exposure.”

* One innovation in the cable industry that was new to me: Brief Relief, a “disposable, portable lavatory system” aimed at field technicians, being hawked at the show by Potti Corp. I didn’t dig into details but the company says it’s designed to be used by both men and women — for more check out www.briefrelief.com.

Finally here are links to last week’s show coverage, for reference:

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