Cable-Tec Expo Rewind: From HMTL5 Guides to Loose F-Connector Nuts

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Atlanta — As SCTE’s 2011 Cable-Tec Expo draws to a close, here’s a roundup of notable news culled from the week’s torrent of announcements in Hotlanta — which, until Thursday’s high of a cool 54° F, exhibited unseasonably mild temps:

* Canada’s Shaw Communications is developing an HTML5-based interactive program guide, using Motorola Mobility’s DreamGallery software (picked up with the Dreampark acquisition this year). Shaw will begin launching DreamGallery on the Motorola DCX3200 HD set-top, which supports both MPEG-2 and MPEG-4. It’s the first DreamGallery deployment in North America. A cloud-based HTML5 platform can let operators “innovate at Internet speeds,” in Motorola’s marketing-speak, as well as deliver a consistent guide across multiple devices.

* Elsewhere in the Great White North, Cogeco Cable, Canada’s fourth-largest cable operator, picked Tektronix’s flagship Sentry digital content monitor to help ensure video quality.

* Evolution Digital demo’d a whole-home DVR solution with the TiVo Premiere Q four-tuner box and Preview set-top (pictured at right), along with Clearleap’s Stream on Demand application. The joint solution is pitched as a low‐cost, IP-based VOD solution for independent cable operators.

* Harmonic has shipped more than 2 million edge QAMs to cable service providers worldwide, doubling the number of QAMs shipped since the company passed the 1-million mark in August 2010. The company said its edge QAM products power services for more than 70 million cable subscribers worldwide, including with 18 of the 20 largest MSOs in the U.S.

* In another milestone, PPC said it has shipped the 100 millionth product in its SignalTight F-connector line, which started shipping in January 2010, to more than 75 operators in 42 countries. The SignalTight connectors are designed to provide signal-transmission performance approaching that of a fully tightened connector — even when the nut is loose. (Lots of loose nuts out there.)

* Arris and Cisco announced an agreement on a wavelength management plan in the C-band (1550 nm), designed to provide MSOs an International Telecommunication Union (ITU)-based full-spectrum Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) multi-wavelength optical solution for increased capacity and expanded services. (Did you get all that?) The vendors are scheduled to present a joint technical paper, “When Wavelengths Collide, Chaos Ensues: Engineering Stable and Robust Full Spectrum Multi-Wavelength HFC Networks,” on Thursday from 1:00 - 2:15 p.m.

* BelAir Networks announced the GigXone small cell system, designed to let service providers enhance Wi-Fi or multimode 3G/Wi-Fi wireless coverage in dense areas.

* CommScope launched a fiber-optic cable solution, dubbed the Low Count Fiber Drop cable, designed for “true one or two fiber drop applications” in FTTx networks. The product gives operators the flexibility of deploying a fiber-optic cable designed specifically for the drop portion of a network.

* Xilinx was demonstrating what it claimed is the cable industry’s first Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) delivering up to 160 QAM channels through a single RF port. The company said cable equipment vendors incorporating its 7 series FPGA architecture — bundled with IP cores and system integration provided by RADX Technologies — can accelerate the development of equipment to meet the new Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) spec from CableLabs.

* Cheetah Technologies demo’d Network Tracker Plus, a network performance monitoring device that analyzes analog video, DOCSIS data and QAM digital video channels in an HFC network, which is now CableLabs-qualified for DOCSIS 3.0. The vendor also released V-Factor Source Monitor release 2.7 for video monitoring, which more than doubles its density, and the V-Factor Stream Probe QAM release 4.12, which includes a feature to remotely monitor hub sites and stream live video back to a central management site for real-time viewing.

Other highlights from the show this week:

> Cable CTOs: Only The Paranoid Survive

> DOCSIS Gear Prices Falling As Bandwidth Usage Soars

> New Platforms Offer ‘Promise’ Of Profit

> Cox’s Esser: Cable Has To Compress Innovation Cycles

> Cisco To Crank Up Edge QAM Capacity

> Arris’s Next Gateway To Sling Multiscreen Video

> Cox Targets 35 Channels For Tablet TV App


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