Boxes Rock at Tech Expo

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The theme is "Outside the Box," but this year's
CableNET exposition is heavy on boxes: OpenCable digital-cable set-tops and
point-of-deployment security modules, to mention a couple.

The set-tops and POD modules are a cornerstone of the
message that Cable Television Laboratories Inc. and the California Cable Television
Association want to send with their technology exhibit at December's Western Show: The
vehicles for delivering cable's next generation of advanced products and services are
ready for market.

CableLabs president and CEO Richard Green said the Outside
the Box theme "exemplifies the innovative thinking that has led to a host of advanced
services that will change consumers' lives."

"And CableNET once again contains a wide array of
products and services that are available already or that are soon to be deployed on cable
systems," Green said.

Along with standards-based cable modems and
Internet-protocol-telephony technology, the new set-tops and PODs represent some of the
products being generated by the industry's Data Over Cable Service Interface
Specification, OpenCable and PacketCable initiatives, which are steering development of
the advancements cable will be rolling out in force during the coming year.

This edition of CableNET is bringing together
cable-industry incumbents, along with potentially significant newcomers from the
communications and technology worlds that aim to use the "open" interoperability
standards approaches of those three initiatives to crack the burgeoning North American
market for advanced services and equipment.

"When you've got all of these new vendors
participating in CableNET, and the fact that we've focused on technology in the past few
years, that's had an impact, and we are seeing a lot of folks from Silicon Valley and the
'' companies," CCTA vice president of industry affairs C.J. Hirschfield said.

Accompanying the gear emanating from cable's development
work are other products that are seen as significant drivers of new revenue, including
home-networking gateways capable of distributing cable's broadband video, voice and data
connection throughout a home or business.

CableNET will feature nearly 60 vendors, and it will cover
nearly 10,000 square feet in the Los Angeles Convention Center, up from 8,000 last year
and 6,000 in 1997.

Besides display categories focused on broad areas, such as
digital services, are three highlighted, specialty areas.

One area devoted to PacketCable, the CableLabs initiative
focused on IP applications, will feature five phone booths at which attendees can make
actual outgoing calls using IP networks.

Another specialty display highlights OpenCable set-tops
supporting advanced services such as digital video, high-speed Internet access via
integrated DOCSIS modems and IP telephony. With a July 2000 federal mandate that the
industry offer retail-ready set-tops with security functions contained in a separable POD
module, a number of vendors are also demonstrating either PODs or other products --
including a set-top-integrated TV set from Panasonic AVC American Laboratories -- with
active POD slots.

The home-networking specialty display area features
demonstrations by vendors operating networks on different connectivity platforms: phone
lines, power lines and wireless. Those include Motorola Inc., which will show its wireless
home-networking scheme incorporating a DOCSIS modem with wireless connectivity to multiple

Many of the demonstrating vendors are cable-industry
veterans, but joining them for the first time are some heavy hitters like Swedish
telecommunications-gear giant Ericsson Inc. Ericsson is showing modems that it hopes to
get certified by CableLabs as DOCSIS-compliant, or interoperable with any DOCSIS
cable-modem-termination system.

"The goal of CableNET is to show the world, because of
the large international influx, what cable systems are capable of delivering over the
course of the next year or 18 months," CableLabs spokesman Michael Schwartz said.

Among the newcomers with an Internet-Silicon Valley bent is
RealNetworks Inc., which will demonstrate live and on-demand broadband streaming media.

Participating companies in CableLabs' initial lineup
include, by general category:

• Cable modems, related software and headend
equipment: 3Com Corp., Broadband Access Systems Inc., Com21 Inc., Conexant Systems Inc.,
Daewoo Electronics Corp. of America, Ericsson, General Instrument Corp., Microtune Inc.,
Motorola, Netcom Systems Inc., Nortel Networks, Portal Software Inc., Redback Networks
Inc., Samsung Telecommunications America Inc., Terayon Communication Systems Inc., Texas
Instruments Inc., Toshiba America Consumer Products and Zoom Telephonics Inc.

• Advanced digital set-tops, POD modules, integrated
TV sets and applications: ATI Technologies Inc., Canal Plus Technologies, Canon USA Inc.,
Cisco Systems Inc., DiviCom Inc., Equator Technologies Inc., IBM, ICTV Inc., Interactive
Channel, Mindport, NagraVision, NDS Ltd., Oren Semiconductor, Pace Micro Technology plc,
Panasonic AVC Labs, Philips Consumer Electronics Co., Pioneer Digital Technologies,
Samsung, Scientific-Atlanta Inc., SCM Microsystems Inc., TeraLogic Inc. and Visionetics

• Home networking: ADC Telecommunications Inc.,
Intelogis Inc., Motorola, Nortel Networks and ShareWave Inc.

• IP-telephony hardware and software: ADC, Clarent
Corp., GAD Line Ltd., IPCell Technologies Inc., Lucent Technologies, Motorola, NetSpeak
Corp., Nortel Networks, Telcordia Technologies Inc. and Toshiba.

• Other high-speed-data applications: Media Station
Inc., RN and WorldGate Communications Inc.

• Video-on-demand: Elmsdale Media, nCUBE and SeaChange
International Inc.

• Other digital services and applications: Cabletron,
Criterion Design and Programming Ltd., Fore Systems Inc.,, Probita Inc., S-A,
V-Bits Inc. and Zenith Electronics Corp.

CableNET's sponsoring companies this year include Cisco,
CommScope Inc., Gilbert Engineering, MediaOne Group Inc., Mountain Cable Industries, PPC,
TeleCrafter Services Corp. and Thomson Consumer Electronics.