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Cable Operators

Cable-Tec Expo: Tablets, Broadband and More

10/25/2010 12:01 AM Eastern

New Orleans — Tablets
were the flavor of the
week at the SCTE’s Cable-
Tec Expo, with vendors
betting that cable
operators will want to
offer their own branded
alternative to the likes
of Apple’s iPad and give
subscribers a new way to
interact with their TVs.

The heightened interest
comes after some
operators are already
moving full-speed ahead
on the concept. Comcast
is gearing up to launch
an enhanced iPad app
for TV navigation next
month, and CableLabs
has an initiative underway
to arrive at a common
technical approach
for communicating between
tablets and settop
boxes.

At Cable-Tec Expo,
NDS was demonstrating
the “Mango” concept
on an iPad, which is laid
out like a magazine to
highlight programming
personalized to an individual
subscriber. The
Mango application, in addition
to enhancing navigation
and letting viewers
control their DVRs, could
also serve advertising associated
with programming
on TV.

“It ’s a much improved
experience over
the guide you get on the
set-top box,” said Steve
Tranter, NDS’s vice president
of broadband and
interactive. “It cures the
human interface issue.”

While the demo was
done on an iPad, the app
could run on any device,
according to NDS.

Ericsson was showing
a tablet prototype
based on Google’s Android
operating system,
which allows viewers to
preview channels on the
device before tuning to
them on the big screen.

Technicolor, meanwhile,
has developed a
second generation of its
Media Touch tablet device
based on Android,
with a sleeker design
and a seven-inch color touchscreen. The Media
Touch 2 tablet will
be able to provide remote-
control features,
including searching TV
listings, and play back
and display media content
from a home gateway,
Technicolor vice
president of home networking
and applications
Benoit Joly said.

“It ’s a companion
product, to augment a
subscriber’s media consumption,”
Joly said.

Other news of note:

Cisco Systems announced
the availability
of a new line card — the
3G60 — for its cable-modem
termination system
that provides the ability
to deliver downstream
DOCSIS 3.0 connections
approaching 1 Gigabit per
second. The company’s
uBR-MC3GX60V (3G60)
Broadband Processing
Engine for Cisco’s flagship
uBR10012 CMTS can
deliver up to 576 downstream
and 480 upstream
channels per chassis.

Several MSOs — including
Comcast and Cox
Communications — are
testing the new 3G60 line
card. The line card delivers
10 times the performance
at one-tenth the
cost of DOCSIS 2.0 solutions,
according to Cisco.

Arris signed a deal
to market and distribute
Javelin Innovations’
line of taps and line passives
that boost capacity
to 1.8 GHz. Under the
agreement, Arris will
become the exclusive
reseller in North America
and Latin America
for Javelin’s new line of
Wideband HFC Taps and
Line Passives. Arris said
it will begin shipping the
Javelin products in the
first quarter of 2011.

Motorola took the
wraps off Edge Home
Center, a Web-based
self-service console to
let broadband customers
set up their home
networks — and troubleshoot
any problems —
without calling up their
provider for help.

Home Center, to be
available in December
for first customer installations,
is part of Motorola’s
Edge Service Assurance
Software Suite. The system
provides gatewaymanagement
features,
Wi-Fi controls, PC diagnostics,
a network map
and security settings.
Subscribers can log in to
a Web portal, at home or
elsewhere, to manage any
device or service.

 • Both Aurora Networks
and Harmonic introduced
full-spectrum
dense wavelength-division
multiplexing transmit
ters — aimed at
helping cable operators
better utilize their existing
fiber runs and paving
the wall to all-digital
networks.

SeaChange International
and BlackArrow
are working to jointly
develop a targetedadvertising
solution for
multichannel video operators
in North America.
Th e joint solution is
expected to be released
in early 2011.

 

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