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Cable/Video

Cable-Tec Expo 2012: 7 Hot Topics

Cable-Tec Expo, the industry's premier technology show, gets under way this week in Orlando and it won't be a Mickey Mouse affair, as this year's confab is sure to shed new light on some of the industry's biggest technology initiatives.

The news and views are sure to flow out faster than a tricked-out Docsis 3.0 cable modem, so be sure to catch up on the latest announcements, session coverage and on-site video interviews at our dedicated show site throughout the week. For now, here's a preview of what's topping our agenda heading into the event, and what we think will be some of the hot topics of the week.

Docsis 3.1's big reveal
Docsis 3.1 is probably the industry's worst kept secret at the moment since everyone at least knows of its existence and some of the elements that are likely to grace cable's future data platform, but this year's show will represent the official coming-out party. Show organizers have pulled together a special 90-minute panel dedicated to the project that will include insight from Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) and CableLabs execs, as well as from some of the industry's top cable operator engineers and technologists. (See Docsis 3.1 to Be Revealed at Cable-Tec Expo.)

A few technical elements for 3.1 have already leaked out, but this panel will (hopefully) answer some of the big-picture questions, such as: Why does cable need to update its Docsis platform? How far along are the specs and when will they be done? Will 3.1 be backwards compatible with Docsis 3.0 or simply coexist? Does this complement or compete with EPON Protocol Over Coax (EPoC), a budding Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) standard?

Is CCAP ready to pop?
Expect all of the access vendors with skin in this game -- Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), Casa Systems Inc. , Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Motorola Mobility, CommScope Inc. and Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT) -- to all have their latest Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP)-ready gear on display on the floor as cable operators get ready to conduct further tests this year and in 2013, which is expected to be the first deployment year for multiple cable operators.

And we'll also get a sense of the lessons learned so far as engineers, including Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) VP of Access Architecture Jorge Salinger, provide some of experiences from operational-readiness trials that have been in advance of CCAP hardware availability.

Home is where the network is
The access network is just a piece of the puzzle. Cable operators are trying to get a better grip on the home network as they widen deployments of whole-home DVRs, home security and automation services, wireless cable modem gateways, tablet and smartphone apps that control the set-top, and broader initiatives that call for the cable operators not just to install it all, but to maintain and manage what's going on. Tuesday's pre-show Digital Home Symposium will dedicate a whole day to this topic, covering everything from troubleshooting, best practices and managing quality of experience.

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craigleddy 12/5/2012 | 5:19:07 PM
re: Cable-Tec Expo 2012: 7 Hot Topics

The tech crowd may want to take note of comments made today at CTAM Summit, the cable marketing conference that's preceding SCTE in Orlando. A big focus on second screens and social media here.


Jon Feltheimer, CEO of Lionsgate, the studio behind Mad Men, The Hunger Games, ABC's Nashville and EPIX, urged cable to provide better user interfaces so that consumers can find on-demand content easier, and digital ad insertion (DAI) technology so content providers can monetize their VoD content easier. 


Holding up a smartphone, Feltheimer said, "The second screen is our future."


 


 

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:19:07 PM
re: Cable-Tec Expo 2012: 7 Hot Topics

Thanks for the update, Craig. Don't know about you, but I  watch TV with a tablet nearby a lot now, so that makes a lot of sense that cable's getting so active on the 2nd screen.  Missed today's festivities, but I'll be by CTAM on Tues. morning. JB




 
joanengebretson 12/5/2012 | 5:19:06 PM
re: Cable-Tec Expo 2012: 7 Hot Topics

The Walking Dead producers were touting their second screen capability last night. My laptop wasn't conveniently located. But I wonder if anyone else watched it and what they saw?

craigleddy 12/5/2012 | 5:19:06 PM
re: Cable-Tec Expo 2012: 7 Hot Topics

And one more note about second screens: Watch for the latest Heavy Reading Cable Industry Insider about second-screen technology, primarily about ACR and other cable approaches. It might get released tomorrow. 

craigleddy 12/5/2012 | 5:19:06 PM
re: Cable-Tec Expo 2012: 7 Hot Topics

Well, despite the focus on technology, I've been in a personal technology abyss. CTAM didn't spring for Wi-Fi at the Disney conference center (word is they charge an arm and a leg) and I'm not staying at the Disney hotel so I don't have Wi-Fi. They put hard wires in the press room but my ultra-thin MacBook Air doesn't have an Ethernet port and I don't have the right adapter. So, no Internet on my laptop. To file that item I had to go back to my room at the Marriott where Wi-Fi thankfully is still free.


There's a lesson in here somewhere. How about: sometimes technology still sucks. 

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