At SCTE, Demos To Hit the Floor


Can't make it to the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers' Cable-Tec Expo in Philadelphia this week?

Here's a preview of some new products to be on display:

• EGT has packed three video-processing features — each geared toward high-definition content — into the VIPr Closed-Loop Transcoder appliance.

The unit handles MPEG-4-to-MPEG-2 transcoding; provides statistical multiplexing to fit three MPEG-2 HDs in one quadrature amplitude modulation unit; and can downconvert an HD feed into standard-def.

The product, currently in trials in several MSO labs, will be shipping in the third quarter. A full-function unit will cost about $10,000 to $12,000 per channel, or $60,000 to $72,000 for a three-unit stack that can process six channels, according to EGT.

• Hitachi Telecom will be covered in RFoG. That's “radio frequency over glass,” industry shorthand that refers to systems that transmit cable RF services over last-mile fiber networks.

Hitachi's Node-plus-Zero solution is based on a customer-premises optical terminal that works over gigabit passive optical network (GPON) wavelengths but supports existing cable headend equipment. Rick Schiavinato, vice president of sales and marketing at Hitachi Telecom, said the box will work with any GPON vendor's equipment.

“This product will never have to be yanked out,” he said. “The whole idea is to establish a relationship with the operators.”

Arris Group, getting in the “protocol-agnostic” spirit, will demo the Fair Bandwidth Management tool that works in conjunction with its cable-modem termination system.

The feature lets operators identify customers that cause congestion and then reduce those users' connection speeds, supposedly without any noticeable degradation. Conceptually, it's similar to other usage-based products from Camiant, Sandvine and Procera Networks.

Fair Bandwidth Management is a response to the trials and tribulations of Comcast, which has been raked over the coals by Internet activists for throttling back the peer-to-peer connections of its broadband subscribers.

Comcast has said it's testing out three vendors' bandwidth-management products as it moves to a “protocol-agnostic” approach to control heavy users.