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Cable Technology Feature Article

April 18, 2014

Cable Technology Week in Review

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

The news was highly varied this week, ranging from megamergers (Comcast-Time Warner) to rural IPTV (News - Alert) deployments.

First up, Peoples Communications in East Texas has decided to add Skitter TV to its product portfolio. Since 1952, PCI has been offering broadband, telephone, and wireless, and is currently constructing a 600-mile fiber transport network that will serve several communities. Across that, it’s planning an end-to-end video platform for encoding, managing, streaming and viewing converged Internet TV, video on demand, and live broadcast and satellite TV.

On the regulatory front, the incentive auctions are still sparking controversy. Apparently, the rumored spectrum set-asides being considered by the Federal Communications Commission for upcoming auctions of former broadcast TV spectrum are obnoxious enough that AT&T (News - Alert) might not even bid. As Gary Kim (News - Alert) pointed out, ignore for the moment the likelihood that the threat to sit out the auctions is part of an effort to convince the FCC not to follow through with the rules. AT&T argues the proposed rules would limit it, and Verizon (News - Alert), to a single 10 MHz by 10 MHz allocation.

On the vendor front, El Garage TV, an Argentine-based content provider, said that it is using Grupo DATCO’s cloud-based video streaming solution, Sersat Alive, powered by Octoshape, for the direct and on-demand delivery of its content to broadband multiscreen devices worldwide. The deal will allow El Garage TV to multiply the number of OTT broadband channels and its 24/7 available lineup of content to its fans in Argentina, Brazil and Chile.

Meanwhile, Artesyn Embedded Technologies has released the SharpCaster video transcode acceleration engine, which is deployable in off the shelf platforms. It offers tiered motion estimation with large search ranges, all available mode decisions, and up to 80Mbps context-adaptive binary arithmetic coding (CABAC). Artesyn's SharpCaster accelerator can be used with broadcast and streaming equipment such as encoders, transcoders, video on demand (VOD) playout servers and video content delivery network (CDN) servers, said company officials.

Then there’s that mega-merger we mentioned. As U.S. regulators evaluate the proposed Comcast acquisition of Time Warner Cable, much will be made of the merger’s impact on video market share. Comcast arguably will be able to make a case that is not a big issue, principally because local competition really will not be affected since the two have no shared markets. But, already dominant, the cable industry is growing much faster in high-speed market share than telcos are growing, and the strategic value of high speed access for a cable operator arguably is higher than for AT&T and Verizon. Our analysis breaks it down.

Chairman Tom Wheeler (News - Alert) says the broadcast industry has reached an inflection point in which licensees "can move from being the disrupted to the disruptor." That’s because providers such as Netflix and others have in essence forced cable companies to redefine themselves into telecommunication companies instead of video transmitters, he said—a position validated by a new report from TDG titled "2020 Vision – Video Viewing Forecasts by Age and Service, 2013-2020," in which it revealed the use of legacy video sources are going to decline by 25 percent through 2020 as online service providers continue to capture larger market shares.

And finally, innovation marches on. Subscribers of UltraFlix, the NanoTech’s all 4K IPTV and over-the-top (OTT) UltraHD streaming video service, will now be able to watch some of the latest Red Bull Media House catalog offerings – made possible under the terms of a recently signed global distribution agreement between 4K Studios, a NanoTech subsidiary and Red Bull Media House. The deal covers shows like Red Bull Dreamline, Red Bull X-Run and Red Bull Streetstyle, all of which are produced in native 4K resolution. UltraFlix will be available through several devices, including NanoTech’s Nuvola NP-1 and NP-C 4K streaming media players.

To check out more details on all of this and more, visit our homepage. And have a great weekend!

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