Monday, February 29, 2016

Multi-Gig DOCSIS 3.1

The big news from CableLabs last week was that the smart people there are working on symmetrical multi-gigabit version of DOCSIS 3.1—“Full Duplex DOCSIS 3.1,” they’re calling it -- that can deliver upstream and downstream speeds of up to 10 gigs over existing 1GHz HFC networks. 

We’ll leave the technical details to Belal Hamzeh and Dan Rice, who authored a blog on the breakthrough, but from where we sit, technology breakthroughs that improve cable’s competitive position against would-be challengers are good for all of us in the industry.

We’ve opined before that cable operators will have the advantage in an Internet of Things world, where smart devices are connected through STBs or other broadband hubs in the home.  It’s our belief that cable’s established relationships with customers gives the industry a leg up against competitors who must go through the time and expense of building networks, attracting customers and generating revenue.

Cable has maintained its leadership in part because how operators and vendors have met changing customer needs by leveraging the flexibility of the industry’s existing HFC plant.  Like the advanced services and 4K set-top boxes that our customers already are bringing to market, Full Duplex DOCSIS 3.1 will help the industry compete for subscriber loyalty in the years ahead.

Monday, February 15, 2016

AltiView 3: Features and flexibility in a next-gen UI platform

With more competition than ever for consumers’ attention, pay-TV operators are seeking user interfaces that can easily be tailored as precisely as possible to viewers’ wants and needs.  In this video, our SVP and Chief Architect, Bill Helms, explains how AltiView 3 enables unparalleled flexibility for pay-TV UIs, including UHD support and the option to incorporate such features as program popularity, genres, previous viewing selections and even metadata from consumers’ other media sources to inform search, discovery and navigation. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Winning Ticket For Pay-TV Operators

Forget the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.  The results that pay-TV operators are interested in have been tabulated, and they paint a clear picture of why intuitive navigation experiences are becoming increasingly important. 

According to the Leichtman Research Group, 81% of U.S. households now have a DVR, use VOD services from a cable or telco provider or subscribe to Netflix.  Moreover, 30% of households use two of those services and 13% use all three.

What this means is that subscribers are making use of more platforms than ever when it comes to content sources, creating a need for navigation that presents a 360-degree view of all available options.

Rather than searching individual silos for content of interest, subscribers are seeking to narrow the myriad of entertainment choices to their specific interests.  Forward-thinking operators are migrating from traditional guide paradigms to advanced user experiences that prioritize channels from all sources based on established viewing preferences, and supplement video content with related applications that enhance the viewing experience.

As content sources continue to expand, viewers can be expected to “vote with their feet” – shifting their loyalties to those experiences that offer the best views across linear TV, DVR, VOD and even SVOD.  The winners will be those operators who invest in new technologies that continually strive to offer personalized, customizable interfaces that most accurately address viewers’ individual preferences and needs.