TW Cable Takes MTV on the Road
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TW Cable Takes MTV on the Road
A new carriage deal between Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA) will let the MSO's customers stream the live feeds of BET, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV, Spike, and VH1 via PCs whether they are at home or not. After a spat over access rights, TW Cable eventually got permission to stream Viacom content via the MSO's own app for iPads and Android devices that are within reach of the customer's home Wi-Fi network, but this new deal also lets subscribers access those channels on specialized TV Everywhere websites. TW Cable customers will need to log in using their TW Cable credentials. (See TW Cable, Viacom Take iPad Fight to Court .)Aereo Inc. tweeted Monday night that "widespread DNS outages on the Internet" meant that its customers were having trouble accessing the company's site to stream live TV and watch content stored on the network DVR. The site appeared to be in working order again by Tuesday morning. (See Aereo Offers a Free Taste .)U.K. operator Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) will launch a TV Everywhere service this fall that will feature 30 live channels and access to more than 2,000 hours of VoD, reports Digital TV Europe, noting that the MSO will offer it initially on iOS devices, with Android support coming online sometime in 2013.YouTube Inc. has launched an app optimized for the iPhone (with ads), with one for the iPad in development. The new app, which will provide access to more ad-supported YouTube fare, replaces a system app from Apple that won't be included in iOS 6, states NewTeeVee.Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY)'s multi-screen Horizon TV service is coming online about a year later than expected, but part of that delay could be chalked up to the unusual order in which the platform was developed. Rather than starting with a box and working things out from there, the MSO opted to start with the user interface (NDS's Snowflake) and then pick out the manufacturers and other tech components, company CTO Balan Nair said at the IBC show in Amsterdam, according to Broadband TV News. (See Liberty Global Embarks on New TV Horizon.)
Cablevision Adds Wireless Expertise
Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) has hired Andrew Ip, a former Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S) engineer, as vice president of wireless technology and operations, offering a possible indication that the operator is looking to expand its mobile data and voice pursuits.Ip is officially tasked with continuing the development of Cablevision's wireless technology, including its Optimum WiFi network in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. He reports to Jerry Genova, Cablevision's executive VP of network management and field operations.Ip began his career as a radio frequency engineer at Sprint, where he designed and operated the company's 2G/3G CDMA network in the New York metro area and helped with budgeting and competitive network analysis. Ip most recently was a partner at Meridian Advisory Group LLC, where he led the consultancy's wireless practice and worked with clients on Wi-Fi planning and new technology validation. At Interactive Broadband Consulting Group LLC, he concentrated on mobile and fixed broadband products.Why this matters Cablevision's wireless activities have largely concentrated on its big Wi-Fi effort, but the company has dropped a few clues about grander plans. With Ip now on board and specifically focused on wireless, it could mean Cablevision is getting closer to executing more ambitious projects.Among the earlier hints: Cablevision has discussed the idea of developing a residential offering to be called Optimum Mobile that would support dual-mode devices that can operate on cellular networks and the MSO's own Wi-Fi network. Cablevision is still without a cellular partner, but recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filings implied that it's held discussions with T-Mobile USA about potential wholesale partnerships.Ip's new role does not extend to OMGFAST!, a fixed wireless service associated with Cablevision. The service offers 50Mbit/s broadband in parts of south Florida for $29.95 per month, using Multichannel Video Distribution and Data Service (MVDDS) spectrum. (See Cablevision-Linked ISP Hawks Wireless Data .)
Cablevision's small-business unit, Optimum Business, currently offers a benefits program that lets qualified customers get discounted wireless services and equipment from Sprint.
Comcast on Track for First CCAP Rollouts
Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is setting its sights on some small Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) deployments before the end of 2012, Vice President of Access Architecture Jorge Salinger said Monday during a Light Reading Cable webinar on the topic."We hope to deploy, in small scale, later this year, if the equipment is available," he said, adding that he expects deployments to ramp up in 2013. Comcast issued a CCAP request for proposal (RFP) earlier this year but has yet to announce its vendor selections. (See Comcast Issues CCAP RFP .)As a reminder, CCAP is a next-generation access architecture that will pave cable's path toward an all-IP platform by combining the functions of the edge QAM and cable modem termination system (CMTS). That will create a simpler service structure that can be managed, controlled and configured via software, while also increasing port density (important for space and cooling in cable headends). CableLabs has completed the CCAP hardware specs, and is in the fourth revision of the platform's Operations Support System Interface components, Salinger says.(An archive of this CCAP webinar will soon be available here within a few days.)Salinger said Comcast is about to conclude a CCAP operational-readiness trial that involves a "handful of service groups" -- a large enough sample to extract some lessons from.Among the early operational revelations: Comcast discovered it must strive to consolidate the monitoring of the network as it shifts to CCAP. Today's cable networks use different tools and alarms for different types of services (Docsis, video, etc.), and they tend to be managed by different teams. With CCAP, Comcast intends to adjust those operations so that one entity leads a coordinated effort.But there can be no CCAP deployments without CCAP equipment.The vendors claim they will be ready. Casa Systems Inc. introduced its integrated CCAP chassis at The Cable Show in May, and several other vendors, including CommScope Inc. , are expected to show CCAP-ready gear at next month's Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) Cable-Tec Expo in Orlando. (See Casa Puts Heat on Cisco, Arris & Motorola , Why CommScope Bought LiquidxStream, Harmonic Goes All-Out for CCAP and Signs of CCAP .)While Comcast appears to be out in front with CCAP, other major operators are expected to begin deployments some time in 2013.Deployment scenarios The suppliers represented on the webinar are taking different angles to CCAP. Casa is going with an integrated CCAP (CMTS plus edge QAM) device, while CommScope is developing a "non-routing" CCAP that could factor in to cable systems deployed with a modular CMTS architecture that uses the core CMTS device for the upstream path and edge QAMs for the downstream. (See Cable Rethinks 'Modular' CCAP .)
Going with a modular CCAP that ends up looking like a super-dense edge QAM could help operators handle video and data on the same platform. It would also preserve their existing architecture and line them up for a more integrated CCAP later on, said Shane Eleniak, vice president of advanced broadband solutions at CommScope.Casa VP of Marketing and Business Development Mark Sumner held that operators could be better served by going with an integrated CCAP at the get-go, arguing that it's an architecture that's easier to manage and operate in part because it's less complex and relies on fewer devices. But Sumner allowed that some operators with modular CMTSs will likely wait before jumping ahead to a fully integrated CCAP. "Neither one is a wrong answer. It depends on what your architecture is today," he said.Salinger said Comcast does have some modular CMTSs deployed and acknowledged that the operator isn't going to replace them right away.Salinger also outlined some options that MSOs should consider when migrating to CCAP:Augment capacity by installing CCAP and legacy gear side by side, and put new service groups on the CCAP platform.Use CCAP to surgically support a new type of bandwidth-intensive service, such as a network DVR. (See Comcast Tests Network DVR in Boston .)Go for a total infrastructure upgrade that would involve a full swap-out to CCAP in areas where an operator needs more density and where headend space is tight. But instead of chucking the old CMTSs and edge QAMs, the operator could redeploy that equipment in markets that don't yet need a full-fledged CCAP.
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