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Xfinity iPad Demo at The Park 2011

Xfinity iPad Demo at The Park

If you strolled around the exhibits at last year’s Cable Show in Chicago, you had to notice the crowd gathering at an edge of the Exhibit Floor. Seated on (and standing around) benches within a display that resembled an outdoor park setting, the onlookers were getting ready for the next live presentation from The Park – a novel, live-demonstration stage that made its debut at The Cable Show 2011.

For three days, The Park featured back-to-back demos, interviews, announcements and dialogue around some of the latest cable-powered innovations in the marketplace. We learned about new applications in mobile services, tablet video, set-top advancements and more. There was even a live focus-group featuring young adults who talked candidly about their media usage habits.

The Park was a big hit. Big enough that it has inspired a sort of 2.0 version for The Cable Show 2012 in Boston. Rebranded as Imagine Park, the idea is to again create some serious buzz around

Focus Group at The Park

One of the Consumer Focus Groups

live events and demonstrations from a prominent location on the Exhibit Floor. This year, the agenda is expanding to offer an even richer array of presentations and dialogue. And yes, the Blogger’s Corner will be back, offering journalists a prime view of the action.

Speaking of action, here’s one you can take now: Submit an idea to be on stage at Imagine Park in Boston at this year’s Cable Show. The RFP is out there, and submissions are happening now. Nothing’s off-limits: If you and your company have a cool idea, product or app that runs from a cable-powered platform, it might just be perfect for Imagine Park. So take a shot. And as they say, let your imagination run free.

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Inspiring Innovation - The 2012 Spring Technical Forum

The Spring Technical Forum Technical Proceedings are like the treasure map everybody’s after in any self-respecting pirate movie: full of reference value, and very possibly the key to a major discovery.

This is the published resource, after all, that offered some of the first glimpses of game-changing cable technologies including satellite delivery of video signals and HFC architecture, well before they became everyday features of the modern cable industry. Similarly, last year’s Proceedings delivered fresh insights about current (and soon-to-be) technology and engineering initiatives including cloud-stored media access over cable networks and Social TV – areas that are now attracting keen interest from developers, technology vendors and investors.

So what’s in store for the 2012 edition of the Proceedings? We’re not entirely sure yet – the deadline for submissions extends until Jan. 6, 2012 – but a fair guess suggests we’ll see breakthrough thinking around emerging-tech subjects including cable Wi-Fi networks, Ethernet over cable, encoding/transcoding, IP video (and lots of it), plus an interesting new focus around energy management of home devices. A recent NCTA press release around the Spring Technical Forum offers a more exhaustive list, including:

  • Wide-area Distribution Technologies
  • Mobile Video/Applications
  • Optical and RF Engineering
  • IP Transport/IPv6
  • BSS/OSS/ISP Operations
  • New Encoding Protocols
  • Engineering Economics
  • IP Video
  • Energy Management
  • Cloud Processing
  • Ethernet over Cable and other Business Services
  • Advanced Advertising/Interactive Services
  • Wireless Services
  • Enhanced Navigation/Search/Discovery/Share
  • Social TV
  • Network Safety and Security
  • Cable Application Frameworks

Of course, it’s also possible the Proceedings peer-review team, led by GCI Cable’s Chief Technology Officer and Forum Selection Committee Chairman Dan Pike, will uncover something entirely original from the abstract submissions that nobody even contemplated. That’s the beauty and the appeal of the Spring Technical Forum Proceedings, which are the successor to the NCTA Technical Papers. For more than 50 years, they’ve been presenting leading ideas in cable science and technology, in many cases, well before their time.

Here’s looking forward to a few more surprises in store for 2012. And if you happen to have a great idea for a breakthrough presentation, here’s the place to tell the world (or at least the review committee) about it.

Remember, abstracts are due by Jan. 6. Good luck!

Here’s our major takeaway from January’s Consumer Electronics Show: 

Cable + Internet Connected Devices = Revolutionary Stuff.

It was impossible to come away from CES without feeling that something seriously exciting is going on around the blending of cable video service with a new breed of video-capable Internet-connected devices.

In case you missed it, a highlight of the show was the joint appearance by the CEOs of Comcast and Time Warner Cable at the Samsung keynote.  The cable demonstration included new applications that essentially make a full range of cable video services available over Samsung Smart TVs, tablets and other IP devices. This collaboration delivers a best-of-both-worlds experience by blending cable’s highly reliable and robust video offerings with the portability, interactivity and capability of new video-capable, Internet-connected devices.

During the demo, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts showed off a nifty feature that allows a customer to select a full-length movie from Comcast’s Xfinity On Demand library, start it on a full-screen TV set, pause it, and resume watching on a Samsung Galaxy tablet. Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt later introduced an integrated video service that lets Samsung Smart TV and tablet owners plug into the full Time Warner Cable video service without the need for an intermediary set-top box.

We think you’ll agree: this is cool stuff. And it’s also certain to be a focal point of discussion and demonstration at The Cable Show 2011.

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