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2012 Leading Lights Finalists: Best Product (Cable)

Jeff Baumgartner
The Bauminator
Jeff Baumgartner

Hitron's 's CGNV Docsis 3.0 (24x8) Voice Gateway/CVE-32372 (European version)
Hitron Technologies Inc. is applying pressure on all cable modem and gateway vendors by being first out the chute with a new breed of Docsis 3.0 gear that gets North American cable operators within shouting distance of a 1-Gbit/s downstream, and well past that mark in EuroDocsis systems that use 8MHz-wide channels. The company's latest wares will also fill an important gap on the high end as the industry gets to work on the new Docsis 3.1 platform.

Hitron's new line of gear is expected to play a key role with some sizable MSOs as they embark on IP video migrations that will deliver on-demand and linear TV over the Docsis platform. And Hitron evidently is pretty far along, expecting to submit its first 1-Gig gateway product for certification testing at CableLabs in November 2012.

Intel Corp.'s Puma 6
But Hitron could not get so far along if it was not for the emergence of the Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) Puma 6, a new Docsis 3.0 chip family that comes in two flavors -- one that bonds 16 downstream channels and four upstream channels, and a media gateway configuration that ramps things up to 24 x 8. While the Puma 6 has attracted early adoption by some top cable modem manufacturers, we are hearing that none other than Comcast is already starting to standardize on Puma 6 technology as it pursues a faster class of data and voice gateways and, down the road, more advanced video gateways.

And Intel appears to be well ahead of the competition as the next phase of Docsis 3.0 takes hold, and we're still more than a year away from seeing Docsis 3.1 CPE see the light of day. Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) still has not come out with a product that succeeds its current 8x4 Docsis 3.0 silicon, and STMicroelectronics NV (NYSE: STM)} is just now entering the Docsis 3.0 market.

Motorola Mobility Inc.'s APEX3000 High Density Universal Edge QAM
Until CCAP gear is ready to roll out in earnest, cable operators still face the significant issue of cramped headend space and the need for dense edge QAMs that can support legacy services such as video-on-demand, switched digital video and their digital broadcast video tiers.

Motorola's answer to that challenge is the APEX3000, a low-power edge device that can be packed with up to 1,536 QAM channels that essentially offers cable operators a bridge to a full CCAP down the road.

RGB's TransAct Packager with Just-in-Time-Packaging
RGB Networks Inc. has put its 2010 acquisition of RipCode Inc. to work by introducing a feature that makes it easier for cable operators to deploy TV Everywhere services while also offering significant savings on storage and bandwidth costs.

The new "just-in-time packaging" (JITP) feature lets those operators stream video on-the-fly in the proper format and at the right bit rate (for an Xbox, iPad, iPhone or Roku Inc. box, for example) without having to pre-encode that content and waste storage space. While that doesn't sound like a big deal, it is when content libraries continue to broaden and expand to support more than 150,000 hours of video. Another potentially cool application for this is for network DVRs that can deliver recorded content not just to the set-top box, but to mobile devices, too.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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