"NCTA Recommended Practices for Measurements on Cable Television Systems" is adopting new parents. The NCTA has transferred responsibility for the document’s publication and ongoing maintenance to the SCTE. (For the initial announcement, click here.)

Rob Stoddard, SVP of communications and public affairs for the NCTA, described the transfer in happy terms.

"We know it’ll be in good hands and well-managed by those who know these issues best," he said.

"Recommended Practices," long the Bible for cable test and operating procedures and parameters, was initially published in 1984 and is now in its third version, published in 2002. When it was first published, the NCTA had a strong and active engineering committee. Now, 25 years later, that organization focuses more on public policy and legislative and regulatory issues, while the SCTE carries the industry’s engineering banner.

"It seemed appropriate, then, to transition the management and ongoing distribution of this document to SCTE due to the leadership and expertise they provide in this area," Stoddard said.

The SCTE’s Engineering Committee has gathered a small group of experts to update the document. SCTE VP of Standards Steve Oksala said the group contains many of the same people who worked on the last edition.

"The people who were the drivers of it in the NCTA engineering committee days, basically many of them are involved now with the SCTE program," he said. "The management may have changed, but the people who actually do the work are by and large the same people."


Despite seven years’ passing since the last update, "Recommended Practices" needs relatively few changes, Oksala said.

"It (is) still good solid information, which is why people like the chair of our engineering committee, Charlie Kennamer, still has a copy on his desk," Oksala said. "So it was not a matter of, ‘Oh, all that stuff is wrong now.’ It’s a question of, ‘How do we add to it so it’s just as useful in today’s world as it was back when the third edition was published?’"

Oksala said the group was looking more at additions and "housekeeping" changes to the document than major changes.

"The whole area of digital TV is really not given a lot of focus," he said. "What do you do about leakage in a digital system? Well, that’s really not covered. There are a few obvious things, like it might mention a particular brand of test equipment; well, that probably isn’t available any more. So there’s some minor updates like that."

(For more about leakage in digital systems, click here, here and here.)

To provide comments or inquire about "Recommended Practices" and the group, contact the SCTE at 800-542-5040 or [email protected].

– Ron Hendrickson

Read more news and analysis on Communications Technology‘s Web site at www.cable360.net/ct/news/.

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