As always, SCTE‘s Cable-Tec Expo is the event of the year for cable technologists, and 2007 has been no exception.

The annual tech mecca was located in Orlando, FL, this year, where cable folk rubbed elbows with Baptist conventioneers and Disney-bound tourists. Attendance numbers were up 6 percent from last year, at 10,700. And the technology was as hot as the weather. Schedule of events Pre-Day 1 (Day Zero?) featured the annual Learning and Development Conference, an all-day Metro Ethernet Forum conference, the annual SCTE membership meeting, the SCTE board elections – where newly elected members took office and some key seats were reapportioned, and finally the Arrival Night Reception hosted by JDSU, but which old hands still think of as the Wavetek party.

Day 1 of the show kicked of with a keynote speech by the NCTA‘s Kyle McSlarrow, transitioned to the annual CEO and CTO panels, then to the awards luncheon, the much-anticipated opening of the show floor, and culminated with Expo Evening at Universal Studios City Walk.

Days 2 and 3 were dominated by workshops, tech sessions and heavy show floor traffic. Hot topics Some of the major hot topics of discussion, both at the show and afterward, centered on high definition (HD) and the technical challenges thereof, edge quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) modulators, switched digital video (SDV), the infamous separable security mandate, training and business services.

The HD session featured three vendor panelists and then two cable operator commentators who spoke after the vendors made their presentations. Key take-aways were competitive concerns and expanding (or maximizing) bandwidth to maintain quality.

The buzzwords swarming around the edge QAM releases on the show floor were high-density, universal, redundant, and efficient with a few mentions of interoperability – and even deployments – thrown in for good measure.

The underlying message of the switched digital technical sessions is that if a relatively few strategic parameters are carefully planned, implementation can be a short and easy process. BigBand‘s Bob Wolfe pointed out some key variables in the "Installation and Monitoring" technical session.

The "7/’07 Separable Security Mandate and OCAP Plans" session detailed some of the growing pains of installing set-top boxes with removable CableCards. The deadline hadn’t yet hit at Expo, and reports from the field thus far have been scant, so we all await intel with bated breath.

Changing technology, triple and quad play, home networking, baby boomer retirement, and the entry of the millennial generation into the work force are just some of the factors operators must contend with as they look to hire, train and retain technicians.

The show floor itself abounded with technology: entirely new stuff, improvements to existing stuff, old reliables that don’t change and don’t need to. For one impression of what products were really cool, check out Ron Hranac’s column. Get thee online Note that CT‘s writeups on all these topics and more are available at the dedicated Expo section of our Web site, The mini-site will run through the end of this month.

The Daily



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