Top Five Translations of '08


As the year zigzags to a close, it seemed useful to compile a list of the Big Five technologies needing translation in 2008.

We'll start with technological work that will steamroll, with gusto, right into 2009: DOCSIS 3.0, DSG and DTA.

Also in that category, we'll look at EBIF and SCTE 130, which tend move together in advertising-technology circles.

The Three Big Ds

DOCSIS 3.0, the latest chapter in cable-modem technologies, redlined the tech-buzz meter in 2008, mostly because it adds so many features — and especially that channel-bonding doozy. It's the super-sizing of broadband data, and a seriously good silver bullet against telco maneuvers.

DSG, or the DOCSIS Set-Top Gateway, started to shimmy into tech lingo more frequently in 2008 and will get louder in 2009. It's the headend part of a cable modem built into a high-end digital set-top box.

Right now, DSG's intended use is to shuttle dull but necessary back-office data to and from set-tops. Things like “Am I connected to a paying customer?” Or, “Do I need fresher guide data or a software update?”

DTA, the Digital Terminal Adapter, will land front and center into millions of Comcast households with gusto in 2009, as the company moves swiftly to make more room for digital stuff — HDTV, DOCSIS 3.0 — by reclaiming its analog spectrum.

Reclaiming analog shelf-space means making those analog channels digital-only, which means hooking one of those DTAs onto every analog set in the house. Otherwise: No picture, no sound.

Some DTAs may come with a remote control, too. That's a bonus for many older sets which either didn't come with a remote, or came with one that was long ago used by Fido as a chew toy.

Advanced Advertising Technologies

And then there's EBIF — the Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format — and an acronym ripe for renaming. EBIF is the body of work that lets program networks and advertisers insert a trigger into a show or ad.

Nationwide, and across all major cable operators, those EBIF triggers can be enacted and fulfilled.

With a big caveat that EBIF is not just for ads — let us (please) not teach consumers that any time they see a trigger, it's an ad — enter SCTE 130, the standard that lets it be used for advanced, targeted advertising.

Those are some of the more significant technologies spicing the 2008 landscape. All will persist into 2009 — with a dash of mobile broadband, a splash of SIP, and handfuls of whatever we call moving video into a house or business through the cable modem, then putting it up, with excellent quality, onto people's big-screen HDTVs.

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