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Cable's Big Streaming Party

6:30 PM -- If you're heading to The Cable Show in Boston this month, one item to put on your agenda is CableNET, which focuses on some of the industry's newer, cooler technologies and is put on by CableLabs and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) .

This year's showcase promises 39 demos, centered around on areas like gateways, advanced advertising, multi-screen TV and how the industry is teeing up a new "light sleep" mode to keep set-top power-consumption in check. You can go here for the full list of demos and fill out your dance cards accordingly.

I'll be particularly interested in seeing some stuff that's not on that list yet, namely the cable operator-run CableNext demos (not to be confused with the overarching CableNET exhibit). CableLabs execs tell me one focus for CableNext is to show off how MSOs are making progress with the CE world by linking tru2way set-tops to CE devices via the home network using Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) , which is now part of the tru2way stack.

The idea's not entirely new. Among some fairly recent demos, cable's shown how DLNA can enable a PlayStation 3 to access content stored on a tru2way-based DVR. It's an interesting step forward, but not exactly something to get too crazy about. (See Tru2way Flashes Some Retail Hope .)

This year, I'm told the demos will take a significant step forward and show cable linear TV and VoD being sent from a tru2way set-top/gateway to a set of CE devices using DLNA. That makes things a bit more interesting because the tru2way box is transformed into a full-fledged server while making the CE devices (game consoles, etc.) start to look like IP video clients that can support features typically found in traditional set-top boxes.

Of course, there's a wide gap between a show demo and a real world deployment, so we'll have to see how long it takes for this idea to blossom into something consumers can actually take advantage of. But it will represent a solid step forward at a time in which the cable industry is trying to convince the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) , which will certainly have its people lurking about, that MSOs are trying to play nice with the consumer electronics industry without further government interference or rules.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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