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Yesterday we took a stroll around the show floor to look for some of the coolest technologies on display at The Cable Show 2012. Via the video below, take a walk with us, then get by the Show floor today to see more for yourself.

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Industry Panel at the Tuesday General Session. From left to right: Julia Boorstin (CNBC), Edward Burns, Rio Caraeff (VEVO), Dan Mead (Verizon Wireless) and Neil Smit (Comcast Cable).

The second day of The Cable Show 2012 gets underway with the second general session. The session got off to a start with Verizon announcing a new content discovery service as part of a discussion of content delivery and consumption.

Actor/director Ed Burns joined Rio Caraeff (VEVO), Dan Mead (Verizon Wireless), and Neil Smit (Comcast Cable) to discuss consumer consumption patterns, and new delivery methods to reach an audience.

Careff made the observation that we are in the midst of a change in consumer attitudes that may be generational – with the prior generation valuing content ownership and the newer generation valuing access. All the panelists agree that consumers are demanding more content on more platforms, and providers are innovating to address and shape that demand.

Following the discussion of video delivery, NCTA’s Michael Powell sat down with the FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to discuss the regulatory environment, technological innovation, and life at the FCC with a full slate of commissioners.

Genachowski noted that while conference rooms are harder to come by, it has been nice to have a full complement again. The Chairman recognized cable for its commitment to connect low-income families and move the needle on connecting more of the nation to broadband.

Much of the discussion involved the idea that we have done much to encourage broadband adoption, but there is still much to do. Genachowski noted that cable, through Connect 2 Compete and other programs, is doing its part.

– Michael Turk

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This was originally published on NCTA’s CableTechTalk blog and was reposted here with permission.

Privacy, Please panel session at The Cable Show 2011. From left to right: Jules Polonetsky (Future of Privacy Forum), Lou Mastria (Canoe Ventures), Paul Rubin (Technology Policy Institute), Maneesha Mithal (Federal Trade Commission), Daniel Weitzner (White House Office of Science and Technology Policy) and Moderator: Susan Israel (Comcast Cable Communications).

Policy talk turned to consumer privacy at the Cable Show as representatives of the FCC, White House, think tanks and Canoe Ventures came together to discuss the need for privacy protection for consumers.

The Administration and Commission focused on ways to streamline privacy notices, make privacy policies more transparent, implement “do not track”, and identify ways to make privacy easier for customers to understand.  Daniel Weitzner of the White House Office of Science and Technology commented that the goal is to allow consumers to understand how their personal information is being collected and used.

A number of questions were raised including the definition of “commonly accepted practices”, which have given some companies pause, and the difference in requirements between regulated an unregulated industries.

Paul Rubin of the Technology Policy Institute noted that the government changes are fairly significant, and he has seen no cost-benefit analysis to assess the burden on companies.  Rubin noted that the legitimate use of personal data has never actually generated a consumer harm.  There is, he says, no data to indicate that legal use is a problem.  While he acknowledges that people don’t want stuff known about them.

He pointed out that it is possible for information to be known, but not by people.  He says we are incapable of understanding that the “knowing” only occurs as aggregated in databases.

Rubin went on to suggest that the government should spend less time regulating and more time educating people on how this information works and the fact that nobody sees the data.

Drawing a clear line between legal use and illegal use, Rubin also noted that inadvertent data disclosure through hacking is a security problem, not a privacy problem.

Jules Polonetsky challenged Rubin’s position and said it’s not about harm.  It seems, he says, that privacy has gone beyond a question of harm and what must be addressed is the value proposition.  Consumers should be made to feel that they are in control, and that the data is in service of the customer’s needs, rather than the company’s.

Polonetsky says the focus should be on data optimization, not data minimization.

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Michael Turk is a Partner in CRAFT | Media / Digital, a full-spectrum communications agency.  Learn more about CRAFT at www.craftdc.com.

Rumors have been swirling at The Cable Show about Brian Roberts’ keynote and the new initiative Comcast would be rolling out.  Roberts had several announcements to make and didn’t disappoint.

First, Roberts announced that the next step in Project Infinity is to take the information out of the set top box and put it in the cloud.

The traditional EPG is being replaced with a cloud based guide and an RF remote that no longer requires line of sight.  The new guide will allow you to use the numerical keys on your remote like a keyboard, so typing 426 will find HBO, so the user no longer needs to remember the channel number.  Searching 282 could yield search results for QVC, the movie Avatar, the Chicago Cubs, etc.

The guide also features a recommendation engine that will suggest programming across a variety of viewing options.

Comcast has also integrated Facebook into their guide allowing you to see shows that your friends like as a search for television.  It also allows you to Like programs from within the guide to share that information with your friends.

Saving the best for last, Roberts demonstrated the next stage in the evolution of the cable’s high-speed network.  Over 11 miles of cable plant in Chicago, Comcast is testing, over a fiber/coax hybrid network, speeds in excess of 1gbps.

To demonstrate that speed, Roberts downloaded an entire season of 30 Rock in HD in roughly a minute and a half.

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Michael Turk is a Partner in CRAFT | Media / Digital, a full-spectrum communications agency.  Learn more about CRAFT at www.craftdc.com.

As Day Two spun up at The Cable Show 2011, NCTA’s new President and CEO Michael Powell sat down to chat with FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.  The two talked about a wide range of topics including outdated telecom laws that no longer reflect a converged media world. Genachowski said he saw the need for a broader rewrite of those laws, but until that happens we will be challenged by having to deal with one issue at a time. Genachowski also urged cable to create state versions of C-Span around the country to open the doors of state houses to citizens.

As the two discussed the role of broadband in the US, Genachowski recognized the cable industry’s infrastructure investments – calling it one of the great American success stories.  He noted that cable makes broadband available to 93% of the US and did so starting with nothing but private investment and pioneers looking for a new way to deliver television.

Discussing the “terrible economic situation of the last few years,” Genachowski suggested that US broadband will be one of the key drivers to turn the economy around.  Discussing US broadband more broadly, the Chairman noted the US leads most of the world in 4G, video programming, and both wired and wireless deployment and adoption.

Powell asked Genachowski about the ongoing issue of households that have access to broadband, but choose not to adopt.  Genachowski noted the broadband gap of people without access, the spectrum gap of people without access to mobile, and the adoption gap.  He suggested that having 67% of Americans connected was simply not good enough and hailed efforts by Cox, Comcast and other operators to address the access problem.

Genachowski called on the broadband industry to help close the adoption gap and repeated his intention to create a broadband task force to address the problem.

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Michael Turk is a Partner in CRAFT | Media / Digital, a full-spectrum communications agency.  Learn more about CRAFT at www.craftdc.com

The 2011 Spring Technical Forum - hosted by CableLabs, NCTA and SCTE.While there is a lot of big picture thinking at the Cable Show, much of the discussion revolves around much narrower topics.  The 2011 Spring Technical Forum allows innovators to present papers and that may eventually change the way operators deliver, promote and manage content.

An afternoon panel exploring ways for subscribers to discover content presented a number of things operators can do to help their customers find what they want to watch.

  • Michael Papish of Rovi Corporation presented changes in content ID technology that allows operators to present data about programs, but also the recommendation of related content.
  • Steve Tranter of NDS discussed changes that will allow storage of guide data in the headend, while pushing supplemental guides to the set top box on demand.  Changes will also allow delivery of different guides over IP to tablets and PC, but also allow integration of social media and additional content from the Internet.
  • Rob Malnati of Motorola Mobility discussed TV Everywhere deployments and suggested a compelling web experience – allowing interaction with games, converged media, social networks – is the next step.  For example, customers want to share their content consumption and get recommendations from friends.Those experiences should become the experience on the set top as well, providing a continuous experience.  Additionally, using the laptop or tablet as a companion device allow new ways to interact with TV while watching.
  • CableLabs’ Frank Sandoval suggests that cable subscribers are a social network, connected through cable, and whose collective viewing habits shape the network.  The remaining piece is the creation of broader interaction. The key would be separating the customer’s highly secure information (billing, etc) from things like viewing history that could provide recommendations etc. the benefit, however, would be to provide social structure to television consumption.
  • Comcast’s Agustin Schapira discussed the API’s that operators can create to facilitate the types of innovation the other panelists presented, highlighting rules they should follow.  The rules, Agustin says, are that APIs should not create a burden, should not result in losing control of services, should be easy for developers to leverage, should not add obscurity, and their deployment and use should be possible within 30 minutes.

 

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Michael Turk is a Partner in CRAFT | Media / Digital, a full-spectrum communications agency.  Learn more about CRAFT at www.craftdc.com.

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