After a juggling act, of sorts, for the past few years, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) says the kinks have been worked out of its annual Cable Show. The group has worked together with the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) and CableLabs to seamlessly integrate technical sessions into the conference.

The 2011 Cable Show is scheduled for June 14-16 in Chicago.

Historically, the SCTE’s Emerging Technologies (ET) conference has been held in January, with a focus on high-level technical papers. Its Cable-Tec Expo was held in the May/June timeframe. A couple of years ago, SCTE opted to do Cable-Tec Expo in the fall and combine its ET conference with NCTA’s Cable Show.

The first combined show in 2009 in Washington D.C. was a bit of a washout from a technical standpoint. ET was held on a Friday afternoon after an exhausting week of other Cable Show activities. The 2010 show in Los Angeles was better, with ET sessions mixed in with other events.

Dan Pike, chairman of the NCTA peer review group that is selecting papers and planning content for programs, says combining ET with NCTA is just getting back to cable’s roots.

"In the 1970s we saw the industry had cooperative programs with SCTE," says Pike. "Some would say the last couple of years have been a change but, in truth, it’s a return to what’s come before."

Now that the logistics are getting smoothed out, the NCTA wants to boost the technical aspect of its conference. It aims to receive more technical paper submissions, particularly from such non-vendor sources as operators and academics.

Pike also says the NCTA has a long history of providing technical literature for the industry with a focus on the big picture, coupled with a five-year-or-more look at the horizon. According to Pike, the "watershed year" was 1973, when papers were presented describing the use of satellites, predicting the use of fiber and advocating for digital signals. The NCTA is encouraging those kinds of forward-thinking technical presentations to add to the mix this year.

-Linda Hardesty

The Daily


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