Monday, November 24, 2014

The End of the CableCARD

Written by John Carlucci, Alticast US CTO

From time to time, we reflect on the end of CableCard...
The US House of Representatives passed legislation that will sunset the CableCard generating separable security requirement over two years. In September, legislation was introduced into the Senate that allows for a working group to investigate a substitute that would stimulate creation of “competitive devices”.  Bill S.2799 ( suggests a “software-based downloadable security system”.  The charter for the working group is shown below. 

  • (1) IN GENERAL- Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission shall convene a working group of technical experts representing a wide-range of stakeholders, to identify, report, and recommend performance objectives, technical capabilities, and technical standards of a not unduly burdensome, uniform, and technology- and platform-neutral software-based downloadable security system designed to promote the competitive availability of navigation devices in furtherance of section 629 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 549).

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

What You Need to Know About Cloud DVR

If you’re at all thinking of rolling out a Cloud DVR service you need to listen to Light Reading’s recent webinar “Sunny Skies for Cloud DVR?”. Our CTO John Carlucci is one of several industry luminaries who examine the benefits and challenges of implementing a Cloud DVR service.

Even if you’re not already thinking about Cloud DVR, you really owe it to yourself to still listen to the webinar to understand its potential to reduce subscriber churn, trim capital costs and deliver a more personalized TV Everywhere viewing experience.

Some highlights include:
  •       You don’t have to millions of subscribers to be successful.  An economically viable Cloud DVR service can have as few as 50,000 subs.
  •       Unlike STB-based DVRs, which can only simultaneously record as many programs as they have tuners, there’s essentially no limit to how many simultaneous programs Cloud DVR can record.
  •       Cloud DVR reduces subscriber churn – Telefonica has seen substantial reductions in churn which is attributed to their popular Cloud DVR service.
  •        Providing content from the Cloud allows operators to take advantage of IP content delivery to HDMI dongles and other emerging CPE that are smaller, portable and which consume less power.
  •       Local ad insertion doesn’t have to be affected by a Cloud DVR service, ensuring that this important revenue stream is maintained.
  •       Cloud DVR can provide a personal vault for User Generated Content (UGC). As users increase the content they want to keep in the cloud, operator can add a new revenue stream by selling additional storage space.

The largest operators are setting the pace with Cloud DVR offerings while breaking ground by improving efficiencies, establishing best practices and driving down the costs. 

Cloud DVR is a future proof method for expanding viewer services. Planning for spinning up this service should be on the horizon for any operator that serves up content.

Monday, November 10, 2014

3 Out of 3 CTOs Agree: There is a Cloud in Cable’s Future

If you haven’t already watched the Broadband Technology Report’s recent roundtable of industry CTOs – including our own John Carlucci – you’re in luck as you can still watch it here.

It’s an interesting and informative discussion as the three cable veterans talk about the state of the industry and what’s it its future. 

Some highlights include:

  •       The Cloud is for real and moving beyond hype as MSOs are increasingly taking advantage of it – growing Cloud DVR deployments are an excellent example of this trend
  •        As much as the Cloud is taking hold in cable, hardware isn’t going away any time soon.  As John points out, “I’m still waiting for analog to go!”
  •       Far from eliminating hardware, the potential of the Cloud may spur a new generation of subscriber devices that enable MSOs to offer more compelling services
  •       While no one thinks DOCSIS 3.1 is far off, it may in fact be closer than we expect

These are only a few of the topics discussed during this engaging roundtable which is well worth 30 minutes of your time

Monday, November 3, 2014

IoT – The Next Big Thing for Cable?

As expected, I heard about a lot of cutting-edge technologies at Cable-Tec.  While – as you might expect – the Cloud was a hot topic, what really struck me were a few whispers about the Internet-of-Things (IoT).  While nothing imminent nor distinct was mentioned, it made me glad to know I’m not the only one pondering what a world with tens of billions of connected devices could mean for operators.

Yes, I wrote tens of billions.

The numbers don’t come from me, but from the analysts at Gartner and ABI Research.  ABI expects there to be more than 30 billion devices wirelessly connected to the IoT by 2020, while Gartner is more conservative projecting a still massive 26 billion devices in 2020.
I may be biased, but I think cable is in an excellent position to both facilitate and profit handsomely from the impending IoT revolution.

From its humble beginnings, cable has invested in technology.  We’ve seen one-way networks suitable only for the delivery of analog programming transformed into two-way, fiber-rich “smart pipes” with the capacity to deliver a plethora of digital video, telephony, high-speed data and even home security services to consumers and businesses.  Unlike satellite operators, cable is continually finding new ways to leverage its networks to deliver its own services, rather than charge smarter guys for leasing its bandwidth.

What’s more, when you think about some of the key requirements of the IoT, you realize that cable is indeed well positioned.  The need for reliable two-way bandwidth is obvious, and likely you recognize that the robust quality of service (QoS) capabilities IoT will require are already proven in cable.  Additionally, security is of paramount concern, and clearly cable has decades of experience securely delivering content to millions of subscribers.  Then consider that cable passes tens of millions of homes and businesses across the country and that operators are rapidly expanding their deployments of public Wi-Fi hotspots and you’ll probably come to the same conclusion I have:  IoT represents a tremendous opportunity for operators.

Clearly we’re at the beginning of a revolution, with a lot of work first needing to be done by standards bodies, the vendor community, regulators, operators, chip companies and many others, but IoT is coming and it’s good news for operators.