This year's Atlantic Cable Show is weighted heavily
toward technology, and it will feature the cable industry's favorite poster child --
digital services -- front and center.
Closely behind digital is the re-emergence of
"convergence" topics that address the shifting mix of cable, telecommunications
and software issues facing the industry.
The show begins this Tuesday (Oct. 13) in Baltimore,
running through Thursday morning.
How local cable operators will use new digital services,
and the growing necessity for them to at least explore the use of high-speed data, are
top-of-mind issues for more than 4,800 cable- and telecommunications-industry
representatives who are expected to attend the show.
More than 400 hardware, software and programming exhibitors
will also be in Baltimore. And top industry technologists will attend the show.
A Tuesday session titled "Convergence" will be
moderated by Richard Green, president and CEO of Cable Television Laboratories Inc.
"Convergence was touted as being the future direction
of the telecommunications industry, but nothing happened," Green said. "Now,
with business interests catching up, we'll see more interaction among broadcast,
telecommunications and cable."
A key executive from the consumer-electronics industry --
Circuit City's chief technical officer, Arpad Toth -- will join Steve Necessary, vice
president of marketing for Scientific-Atlanta Inc., and Joseph Cece, senior vice
president, strategic planning for Cablevision Systems Corp., on the convergence panel.
Toth's presence typifies the consumer-electronics industry's growing role in
Back-to-back digital-video sessions Wednesday will detail
how select operators have fared so far with digital launches, and how the
"killer" digital technologies are progressing in labs or on design computers.
Bill Goodwyn, senior vice president, affiliate sales and
marketing for Discovery Networks U.S., will moderate the show's first panel devoted
to digital services.
Wednesday's second digital session will peek into the
laboratories to see what's coming next. Video-streaming should be a hot topic, along
with the integration of network providers into the cable business.
Later on Wednesday, a "Digital Broadcast Delivery
System" session will bring together a panel of interactive experts to discuss DBDS
communication paths, headend components and network-management architecture. It will be
moderated by Julius Bagley, director of engineering for S-A.
Digital program insertion is a topic for Tuesday, when a
panel will explore ways to effectively insert local programs and advertising into digital
television, which remains a technical puzzle. It will be moderated by Carol Derr McBride,
director of digital-video programs for ITC Holding Co.
An update on standards-based, interoperable cable modems --
led by Rouzbeh Yassini, president and CEO of YAS Corp. -- will take place Wednesday. Plus,
a test-instrument-technology panel -- moderated by Terry Bush, vice president of marketing
and sales for Trilithic Inc. -- will unveil the latest in normalization, digital-signal
processing, constellation meters, detection services without RF and more.
An emergency-alert-system "implementation and
testing" panel will update operators and manufacturers on EAS activation during its
With technology blurring the lines between the cable,
telecommunications, computer and software industries, convergence is expected to
officially make its comeback during the Atlantic Show.
Plus, "integration" will be a much-used word at
the show, according to Yvette Gordon, director of interactive technology for SeaChange
International Inc. and a speaker on the DBDS panel.
"In the past, we were just preparing for digital.
We're no longer just selling the thought," Gordon said. "Integration will
be the big buzz at the show."