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Top 5 Tech Articles You Might Have Missed: Week of September 19

This week, the tech world has been abuzz about some major company shifts. On Monday, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings publicly announced that the company will split into two separate businesses. Netflix plans to maintain its streaming video business model while spinning off its DVD rental service under the new name, Qwikster. Hewlett-Packard also appointed Meg Whitman as the company’s new CEO; with HP’s recent announcement to spin-off its PC business, many are speculating about coming strategic changes under Whitman’s leadership. On Thursday, Facebook announced potential partnerships with Hollywood studios, Hulu and possibly Netflix in the near future. How do you think these new deals and executive changes will impact the tech world?

In other news, Motorola plans on testing the highly-anticipated CCAP next year which will smooth out the transition to IP. Check out Motorola’s Jeff Walker’s conversation with Jeff Baumgartner of Light Reading, below, and Walker’s related blog post from last week.  Lastly, watch a few of our video posts from the last few days featuring Motorola Mobility executives and industry thought leader Shelly Palmer.  All are discussing key trends and issues presented at our Users’ Conference in San Diego this week.    

1. Netflix Apologizes to Customers & Rebrands Its DVD Service (Sept. 19) – By Ben Parr, Mashable: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has announced that Netflix will be splitting its DVD and streaming video businesses and rebranding the DVD division to win back the trust of its customers.

2. Whitman at H.P.? The Idea Distresses the Tech World (Sept. 21) – By David Streitfeld, The New York Times: As speculation swirled Wednesday that Meg Whitman might be brought in to save the troubled Hewlett-Packard, the tech world rendered a verdict: You have got to be kidding.

3. Moto Takes Long View on Cable Access (Sept. 23) – By Jeff Baumgartner, Light Reading: Motorola Mobility Inc. much-anticipated Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) product is on course for demonstrations, testing and lab events sometime in 2012.

4. Facebook seeks exec to cut deals with Hollywood, Hulu and, maybe, Netflix (Sept. 8 ) – By Jim O’Neill, FierceOnlineVideo:  The social networking giant will announce a platform that allows users to share what TV shows and movies they’re watching. What isn’t clear is just how much further the company will go.

5. Videos from the Motorola Mobility’s Users’ Conference – By Motorola Mobility, MediaExperiences 2 Go blog: Dan Moloney on convergence, Shelly Palmer on the two types of consumers or Joe Cozzolino on maximizing bandwidth.

Gimme More…Bandwidth!!

Consumers love multi-screen. And multi-screen loves bandwidth. Multi-screen viewing is doubling bandwidth usage every 9-12 months according to Motorola Mobility’s Joe Cozzolino. This trend is expected to continue. In-Stat reported Wednesday that IP video gateway shipments are expected to nearly double in 2012. Hear Joe outline Motorola’s strategy to help operators deliver maximum bandwidth…and the content consumers want to their connected devices.

All Eyes on Amsterdam as IBC2011 Approaches

With IBC just around the corner, we anticipate some of the trends we can expect to see as TV service providers converge in Amsterdam later this week.

Social TV companion services

The explosion of tablet devices and continued growth of the smartphone is extending video experiences to multiple screens. SocialTV companion services for the second screen tap into this exponential growth and empower people to find out more about what they watch, as well as letting them chat and share their viewing experiences with friends via social media – without interfering with the viewing experience on the main screen. SocialTV companion services are good news for TV service providers as they provide a logical extension to the programme being watched, and keep viewers engaged with their service for longer. TV service providers can also use social TV companion services to sell advertising and programme-related merchandising, to provide new revenue streams.

Multifunction Set Top Boxes

We are not going to see the Set Top Box (STB) disappear any time soon as TV service providers take advantage of its footprint in the home. But we foresee they will have more functions to support enhancements that include STBs with ‘click in’ DVR modules, and STBs with wireless capabilities that eliminate cables, as well as ‘connected’ STBs that can communicate with other digital consumer electronics in the home.

The TV Service Provider assumes a new role

TV service providers could soon be providing you with your home surveillance package. Cost-effective remote monitoring for the home will soon be available thanks to STBs that wirelessly link surveillance sensors and cameras in the home to your smartphone, to let you know who is approaching your porch, whether a package you are expecting has been delivered, or if your kids have arrived home safely from school. The same service provider could also sell you an easy-to-use home automation package that lets you programme your appliances from your smartphone to automatically start at times when energy tariffs are low. Look forward to using your smartphone to programme your sprinklers to water your lawn overnight, your washing machine to wash your clothes while you sleep, and switch your slowcooker on when you’re on your way home so that your supper has been heated by the time you walk into your kitchen.

Doing more with bandwidth:

The continual growth of digital TV services is putting significant pressure on TV networks. Expect to see technologies that boost bandwidth to allow service providers to allocate more channels to their existing networks, whilst reducing capital and operational costs.

IBC kicks off on September 8th: stay in touch with what’s happening at IBC 2011 through twitter (#IBC11).

Belgians Enjoy Greater Entertainment & Home Security Capabilities with IPv6

Motorola Mobility and Telenet, a leading provider of media and telecommunication services in Belgium, have combined forces to offer consumers greater entertainment and home security capabilities. 

With their advancement to IPv6 features using Motorola’s technology and Telenet’s network, operators can offer expanded IP services to a growing number of consumer devices including smartphones, tablets; Internet-enabled gaming consoles and TVs, and home security and monitoring applications.  Consumers can now lock their front door from a smartphone, or enjoy expanded entertainment options on a tablet.   As IPv4 addresses are quickly running out it is important for operators to be able to implement IPv6 to expand their IP services capabilities.

Specifically, Motorola and Telenet have successfully tested and evaluated the first phase of the IPv6 features of Motorola’s BSR 64000 Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS).  The tests demonstrated the IPv6 capabilities of the Motorola BSR 64000, which allows Telenet to deliver its residential broadband and video services across Belgium.  Check out some of the coverage from our announcement to learn more!

Dealing with the Cable Bandwidth Crunch, Strategies Differ

Author: Phil Miguelez, Director, Access Network Architecture

The growth in demand for unicast services—high-speed Internet and VOD—is both a gift and curse for cable operators. More demand means more opportunity for revenue, but it also means more strain on cable networks. Across the board, North American MSOs see downstream bandwidth running out in the next one to two years if no action is taken. That’s right, not running low, but running out. Of course operators won’t actually let that happen, but the pressure to upgrade networks is real, and strategies for dealing with the bandwidth crunch vary from system to system.

Analog is a bandwidth hog, and the decision to keep analog channels going exacts a price on the operator’s network. Comcast has made headlines with its transition to all-digital cable delivery to free up analog bandwidth, and the operator expects to complete the process nationwide by the end of the year. Part of Comcast’s motivation is the fact that it’s maintained a mostly 750 MHz cable plant. At the other end of the spectrum, Cox upgraded to 1 GHz years ago and has thereby been able to hold onto its analog channels, a competitive strategy designed to lure those subscribers who still own several analog TV sets. The recent introduction of new high-power RF hybrids are making the idea of a network upgrade to 1 GHz much more attractive by virtually eliminating amplifier moves and re-spacing. 

Time Warner Cable is somewhere in the middle between Comcast and Cox. With an 870 MHz plant, Time Warner has relied primarily on switched digital video to cut its bandwidth demand. Its transition to an all-digital network is on a much slower pace than Comcast, but with SDV, Time Warner can save bandwidth by keeping select channels switched off when they’re not in use. Charter’s following an SDV path too. It started an aggressive rollout of the technology last year.

Across all MSOs, node splits are still a favored method of increasing bandwidth to individual subscriber service groups, and splits will continue in the future as a normal course of business. However, operators will also keep looking for new methods to reduce the bandwidth crunch; methods that don’t strain their budgets. For that, new ways of thinking and new technology innovations are in order. Because downstream bandwidth demand is going nowhere but up.