Monday, June 30, 2014

Alticast Welcomes Cable Industry Veteran as its New Chief Architect and Senior Vice President of Technology


Bill Helms Joins Alticast to Lead Continued Product and Technology Innovation

Alticast, a global partner for the delivery of media entertainment, announced today that Bill Helms has joined the company as Chief Architect and Senior Vice President of Technology. As a cable industry veteran with more than 30 patents to his name, Helms brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to help Alticast continue innovating new products and applications for delivering increasingly interactive, multiscreen TV Everywhere services. 

Helms joins Alticast from Time Warner Cable (TWC) where he spent more than a decade as the operator’s Vice President of Subscriber Engineering and Technology.  At TWC, Helms was responsible for leading the specification and development efforts of architecture, applications and services for the company’s video product line as well as overseeing the entire development process of the equipment used by TWC subscribers for video, data and telephony.  Among his many notable accomplishments at TWC, Helms led the internal engineering teams responsible for the launch and integration of the TWC navigation application into over 10 million STBs and was also the lead technical representative on the Downloadable Conditional Access System (DCAS) joint efforts with Comcast and Cox Communications. 

Prior to his tenure at TWC, Helms held numerous technical positions with Scientific-Atlanta, DiviCom and Harmonic.  In his new role, he will report into John Carlucci, Alticast’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO).


“Over his 20 plus year career, Bill has earned a well-deserved reputation in the industry as a leader who can innovate and solve problems across the video service provider and supplier community,” said John Carlucci, CTO for Alticast. “Bill’s technical and business expertise, especially when it comes to understanding complex consumer, technology and operator trends, makes him an excellent addition to the Alticast team where we continue to pioneer industry-leading solutions.”

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Legal Guts of RSDVR Part 2


Written by John Carlucci, Alticast US CTO

The RSDVR legal framework was clarified with a much publicized split  US Supreme Court Decision in "American Broadcasting Cos. vs. Aereo". The text of the decision is available here http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/13-461_l537.pdf.


While some, such as Vox, (  http://www.vox.com/2014/6/25/5841820/the-supreme-courts-aereo-decision-could-endanger-cloud-storage ) are concerned about the impact of this decision on cloud computing, Variety's Editor-in-chief suggests it lifts a "fog" so station owners should get on with innovating (http://variety.com/2014/tv/news/analysis-broadcasters-need-to-embrace-innovation-now-that-aereo-fog-has-lifted-1201246894/). I agree, if legal service that brings consumers convenience and functionality are not created, evolving technology will create alternative sources that are not friendly to copyright holders.

Monday, June 23, 2014

TVoT


TV of Tomorrow, San Francisco was held last week, creating an opportunity to pick up on terminology trends. I was surprised a number of panels were using the term 'digital' to describe "content delivery to consumer devices' like phones and tablets, however, content to the living room TV is also digital. I am hoping this trend does not take hold, as it doesn't make sense. The older terms OTT (Over the Top TV) originally seemed to cover these devices, but with Smart TVs, TIVO, Roku and other devices, the television is also an OTT target, so that's not a fit either. As the market gets muddier with IP offerings and new devices like HDMI sticks, maybe the target device shouldn't be segregated this way. Of course most devices require specific transcoded video to meet display specifications, but in the end the streams are all digital, whether recorded or live. I welcome a different interpretation of how 'digital' was used at the conference to clear this up.

Another term that seems to be picking up steam is the "backwards L." This is the shape made when the main video content is pulled to the upper left of the screen leaving a portion of the screen for additional meta-data, personalization (tweets), or advertising. As our screen resolution continues to expand,  it's appears to be more acceptable to share the screen real estate with other related content.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

CSI TV Accessibility Conference Discussion



Written by John Carlucci, CTO Alticast

Last week, I had the good fortune of attending the CSI TV Accessibility Conference in London. The conference brought together a passionate group of advocates, technologist, policy creators and users of accessibility services. This team meets to reflect on current successes and future opportunities to enhance television accessibility. 

Generous design of television services benefit us all. For example, many of us have enjoyed closed caption text as we follow our favorite football game across a noisy sports bar. Closed captioning has been a successful technology. The adoption varies depending on which country; in the UK for instance, broadcast is more than 98% covered with closed captioning.

New television technology offers opportunities as well as challenges. The television user interface has expanded use of visual cues to help manage the complexity of vast channel lineups and on demand libraries. Text to speech technologies have been incorporated into TV to enhance navigation for the blind. Often however, when the TV is connected to a video service provider set-top box, this functionality is lost.

The growing dominance of video as the mass communication media, heightens the need for accessibility.  To enable education, information and entertainment for all, we must strive to make TV accessible.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

AltiView II


Check out this video of AltiView II, Alticast's next generation user experience. AltiView II is a UX design that personalizes entertainment in a unique way by keying in on genres and providing a simpler, yet personalized user experience.


AltiView II lets you spend more time watching and less time surfing.  Combined with smart recommendations, the user can easily discover content and dovetail in applications for an enriching viewer experience.  The architecture behind AltiView II lets operators decide what applications to package and what to charge for, letting them extend services and revenues.