Cloud Software for Subscribers
Comcast Interactive Media – Xfinity TV App (operator winner)
Targeting Comcast Xfinity TV customers who have digital cable subscriptions, the Xfinity TV product and its back-end components – introduced in the fall of 2010 as a complementary download that would deliver an expanded entertainment experience customers could take anywhere – were designed, developed and software-distributed to more than 14 million homes in fewer than seven months. The app is available for free in the Apple iTunes Store as well as in the Android Marketplace. Since launch, Comcast continually has provided updates to the app to enhance the experience and to deliver more personalized features, including the ability to stream video content directly to any iOS device. The app also leverages emerging EBIF standards and Web services residing in the cloud to give customers the ability to access and control content seamlessly, when and where they want it.
Technicolor – MediaNavi (vendor winner)
MediaNavi is a cloud-based, operator-provided content platform that enables consumers to locate, view and share media from any source within their digital home networks. It provides a tablet-based user interface, and it hosts such components as social networking, metadata management, analytics, search and recommendation, and end-to-end content delivery; all these functions reside on the tablet, and operators set their own business rules. A "TV First" approach keeps the TV screen dedicated to the featured program; the remote control, menus, search functions and social interactivity reside on the tablet. To provide such remote-control capabilities to legacy set-top boxes, MediaNavi has its own command and control (C3) protocol that supports HTTP, EBIF and other standards. For purchased content, a Digital Rights Locker allows content to be viewed on a wide range of devices while keeping business rules and content rights intact. All subscriber activity and preferences can be tracked and understood.
Arcom Digital LLC – QAM Snare
QAM Snare can detect QAM channels leaking from a cable or a wireless network, and it features three different iterations: QAM Snare Navigator, QAM Snare Monitor, and QAM Snare Isolator. The QAM Snare Navigator displays street maps and shows the flagged location of current and previously detected leaks. The QAM Snare Monitor is a black-box-type device permanently installed in the truck, and it works in the background without any technician involvement. The QAM Snare Isolator is a lower-cost device, used in the home for close-in detection. Using QAM Snare, technicians don’t need to reserve an analog channel for leakage detection in the all-digital network; it allows for high-frequency leak detection, finding the sources of forward ingress caused by Long Term Evolution (LTE) and other off-air signals; it locates the many high-level leaks that exist in the higher frequency bands but that don’t exist in the aeronautical band; and it can use leaks to help troubleshoot other network problems.
Fiber-Optic Distribution System and Equipment
Aurora Networks Inc. – Universal Digital Return Platform
The Universal Digital Return was developed to help cable operators deliver increased bandwidth in the upstream. The technology’s band-split capability provides operators both with flexibility and scalability, providing them with a "deploy 85 megahertz now or later" opportunity. Operators can deploy the 5-megahertz to 42-megahertz split today and, with just a replacement of a unique ‘personality’ module, the Universal Digital Return unit can support the higher return split. Because no new equipment is needed for more upstream capacity – the base unit can be re-used with the new personality module – it helps operators’ return on investment. Digital return technology also overcomes performance shortcomings associated with traditional analog return technology. This is particularly evident with DOCSIS 3.0 deployments. With as many as two unique RF input channels per Universal Digital Return transmitter, as many as 15 wavelengths with CWDM and as many as 40 wavelengths with DWDM, the gear provides a fiber-efficient node-segmentation solution.
Cloud Software for Providers
Ensequence Inc. – iTV Manager Service Provider Edition
Cable, satellite and wireline service providers are using this interactive advertising platform to create and deploy branded interactive television experiences across their connected devices. iTV Manager either is being used in commercial production or is in the process of being deployed in more than 90 percent of the available U.S. EBIF footprint. Its campaign-management system supports independent sales groups with thousands of users in multiple regions, each with their own users, clients, campaigns, versions and templates while also providing collaboration and reuse across the sales groups. In addition, the iTV Manager platform integrates with customers’ existing sales systems, linear ad-delivery systems and content-management systems, thus simplifying interactive sales, production, video-asset management, and packaging and delivery.
Internet-Connected TV/Smart TV Solution
Rovi – TotalGuide Applications (TotalGuide for Set-Top Boxes and TotalGuide xD)
The growth of Internet-connected devices in homes has led to an increase in consumer appetite for new features and services across their entertainment media. Rovi’s TotalGuide Applications, targeting MSOs, were designed to help service providers scale deployment based on user behaviors and preferences while also letting subscribers become more comfortable with the new technology at their own pace. The app for set-top boxes simplifies content discovery and access to subscription services. It builds on Rovi’s TotalGuide xD, a white-label search-and-discovery app that extends and connects the cable experience to tablets, smartphones and PCs. Because the apps are powered by Rovi Cloud Services, MSOs can implement all deployment, product differentiation, flexible infrastructure and user experience across multiple platforms and devices. Because the solution is cloud-based and works within the existing cable ecosystem without replacing hardware or disrupting cable service, installation and management is faster, more scalable and cost-effective.
Residential Set-Tops and Gateways
Broadcom – Full-Band Capture Digital Tuning Technology
Broadcom’s 1GHz Full-Band Capture (FBC) digital tuning technology is integrated in three 40nm hybrid IP set-top box and DOCSIS 3.0 gateway system-on-a-chip solutions that deliver the cable tuner density and performance needed to convert current cable systems to IP-based video platforms. FBC directly digitizes the entire 1GHz downstream spectrum to cut the cost of bringing additional video streams and IP services to connected devices in the home. FBC also delivers simplified cable-tuner design while accelerating the deployment of DOCSIS 3.0 cable gateways and hybrid IP cable STBs. By directly digitizing the entire 1GHz downstream spectrum, FBC technology replaces all the analog tuners in a system. By doing this, overall system power is reduced.
Energy-Saving (Green) Technology and RF/HFC Technology
RF Micro Devices – RFMD GaN for CATV (dual-category award winner)
GaN is the optimal new technology in the CATV industry. Compared with Si and GaAs, GaN’s wider band gap contributes to higher BVgd (≥ 400 volts), allowing for more reliable and higher voltage operation, and for greater ruggedness against ESD and transient energy. RFMD GaN-based CATV amplifiers are more linear than are GaAs-based amplifiers, and they maintain better repeatable distortion performance with reduced current than do GaAs or silicon. In HFC networks with Node + (0) or Node + (1, 2, 3) line extenders, GaN greenfield installs require fewer amplifiers; every two GaAs amplifiers in the network could be replaced with one GaN-based amplifier. GaN also has higher frequency response and is able to maintain flat-gain response over frequency, meaning installs also would have longer HFC reach with no sacrifice in distortion performance compared with GaAs or Si. There are already more than 120,000 units of GaN-based amplifiers installed into HFC nodes, and no known field failures have been reported.
Technicolor – Certifi3d
Improperly produced 3D material can cause headaches, nausea, visual fatigue and other symptoms. To help mitigate this, the Certifi3D viewer comfort analysis service evaluates stereographic content against 15 objective criteria for 3D reproduction to identify the most common stereo errors that contribute to viewer discomfort in three broad categories: geometric errors, including image alignment, hyper-convergence (objects too close to the viewer), hyper divergence (objects too far from the viewer), and edge violations; retinal rivalries, including luminance/colorimetry variances, mismatched reflections and image contamination; and perspective conflicts, including 2D/3D perspective mismatches and pseudostereo (reverse stereo, where all or part of the left and right eye images have been swapped) geometric errors, hyper divergence and edge violations. Shots are given a green (pass), yellow (warning) or red (fail) rating, depending on the severity of the violation.
Wireless and Wi-Fi Product/Service
Quantenna – QHS7xx Third-Generation 802.11n 4×4 Four-Stream MIMO Chipset
Quantenna’s QHS7xx chipset targets such devices as home residential gateways, set-top boxes, routers, HDTVs and consumer-electronic gear. The QHS710 chipset can deliver multiple streams of HDTV video over 300 feet in real world environments with near-zero packet error rate (PER), regardless of signal impairments and other interference in the home. Starting at $10 per chipset, the QHS7xx’s 4×4 MIMO four-stream Wi-Fi technology (with four spatial streams capable of unequal modulation plus low-density parity check and dynamic beamforming can provide 150 Mbps throughout in 95 percent of homes worldwide, thus reducing deployment costs. Very large homes ranging to 7,000 square feet can use a single mesh node with frequency reuse capability to achieve coverage in nearly 100 percent of homes. The technology is capable of delivering multiple HD video streams in the home through multiple walls and as many as three concrete floors.
Multi-Screen Video Solution or Deployment
Motorola – Motorola Televation
Using Motorola Televation, viewers can watch live TV on tablets, smartphones or other connected devices in and around the home within range of a Wi-Fi router. Also, they can change and watch channels on their devices without disrupting other household members who are watching TV in other rooms. The device plugs into the home Wi-Fi router, transcoding programming in real time; it receives a QAM signal and uses a CableCard to decrypt content similar to a traditional set-top. To keep the programming secure while it’s streaming and to preserve the digital rights associated with the program, it uses Motorola’s SecureMedia IPRM-HN technology. Motorola also provides Software Development Kits for both Android and iOS development environments so video providers can develop client applications that let subscribers navigate, discover and select the shows they want to watch.
Home Networking Technology
Wi3 – WiPNET
More than 240 million U.S. homes have coax cabling, and the $199 WiPNET patented in-wall product delivers Ethernet over existing coax cables to TV locations throughout the home. WiPNET’s ports can facilitate IPTVs, smart TVs or consumer-electronics devices requiring a fast, secure wired Ethernet connection. The device takes fewer than five minutes per port to install, whereas it could take an hour or more to run a typical Cat5/6 cable. There also are no new holes to cut and no new headend switches or routers needed. An installer can install as many as 16 WiPNET ports in a single home, maintaining the existing cable TV or off-air antenna signals while adding two wired Ethernet ports that provide sustained 125-Mbps bandwidth.
Digital Rights Management, Conditional Access and Authentication
Verimatrix Inc. – VCAS 3.0
VCAS 3.0 is the third generation of the Verimatrix Video Content Authority System (VCAS), providing the tools and support digital-TV operators need to address new opportunities arising from the accelerating convergence of video delivery over multiple network types to a multitude of devices. VCAS 3.0 offers operators a way to securely deliver pay-TV over multiple networks along with providing support for diverse consumer devices, and a multi-layered ability to detect and combat other kinds of threats. Its technology approach includes a hardened, downloadable Verimatrix ViewRight security core for STBs, PCs and Macs in IPTV and hybrid applications as well as for mobile/CE devices including iPhone/iPad and Android that support HTTP Live Streaming. Because not all threats to digital-TV security look alike, VCAS 3.0 offers a layered set of tools and techniques, including client hardening, fingerprinting, video watermarking and clone detection, which help operators prevent revenue loss from theft of service. In addition, rapid renewability provides a fast countermeasure capability.
Coaxial Distribution System and Equipment
Steren Electronics International LLC – Ground Loop Isolator
Steren’s Ground Loop Isolator addresses a prevalent cable problem: The coaxial connection between the set-top box and the TV often has created a “voltage drain" that has been a source of damaged equipment (trouble calls) and also a difficult situation for an installer to explain if there’s a voltage arc. When two devices with “floating grounds” (i.e., no three-prong ground plug) are connected together (such as between a STB and an older TV, typical in multi-room installations), it will seek to ground the 60 volts, and this is the source of the voltage drain. The Ground Loop Isolator is designed to be a part of the standard installation materials that would be included in a "jumper" pack; the unit is installed inline with the coaxial cable connection between the STB and the TV. The unit, which costs less that $1 to deploy, is significantly cheaper than a truck roll to solve a voltage drain problem.
Sigma Systems – IP Video Services Accelerator
Cable operators are facing the rising threat of cord cutting from over-the-top providers on one hand, and from tough competition from satellite providers and phone companies on the other. Currently, many MSOs deliver linear video and pay TV services in separate operational silos due to the limitations of their legacy OSS solutions. To manage the digital services customers demand, MSOs require these systems to be integrated horizontally to provide one view across the new generation of video and entertainment services and delivery platforms. The IP Video Services Accelerator provides a service fulfillment solution that simultaneously provisions and supports both linear and IP video networks to deliver digital TV, PPV, VOD, DVR/PVR, Internet video, OTT content, and third-party applications on their own or as part of a service bundle. This integrated OSS service-management solution helps eliminate operational silos and provides order management, provisioning and entitlement management across all technologies, services and systems.
Network Policy Control Solution
Comptel Corp. – Comptel Policy Control
Comptel Policy Control allows communications service providers (CSPs) to flexibly implement advanced policy and charging control rules for multi-vendor 3G, LTE, WiMAX, fixed and cable networks. The program integrates usage monitoring, service control and customer charging capabilities. Comptel Policy Control offers the following features: Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF), bringing 3GPP-compliant PCC architecture; Fair Usage Control, allowing operators to help ensure the customer experience across the network remains consistently high; End-to-End Policy Management with Intelligent Congestion Control, allowing CSPs to provide differentiated service offerings for different customer segments and to optimize the allocation of Radio Access Network (RAN) resources; and Roaming Cost Control, addressing the reluctance of many subscribers to use data services when traveling. The solution components are pre-integrated and based on the same platform, thus reducing the cost of integration.
Digital Headend Equipment
TelVue Corporation – TelVue HyperCaster
Cable-TV providers that operate leased access channels or that run long-form advertising/infomercials are the top market for the TelVue HyperCaster, which comes in two densities: four channels in one RU or 20 channels in three RU (which will be dropping to one RU by year’s end). The HyperCaster is priced at $1,574 per channel, and it provides IP origination for as many as four independent digital broadcast channels. The server supports MPEG-2 Transport with MPEG-2 and optional H.264 video codecs in standard or high-def formats, including CableLabs and ATSC. The HyperCaster’s native IP-over-Gigabit Ethernet interface can be integrated with copper or fiber IP network architectures. The HyperCaster supports PID remapping and IP StreamThru digital video switching that allows seamless switching between files on hard-drive and live-network streams, either on schedule or as default continuity, allowing the server to double as an IP digital video switcher.
Print Advertising Campaign
Time Warner Cable – "Moving Technology Forward"
Following Time Warner Cable’s 2009 spinoff from its parent company, TWC was losing subscribers, even though it was maintaining revenue. In spite of TWC’s high name recognition, consumers had limited perceptions of the brand. TWC’s “Moving Technology Forward” campaign positioned TWC as a lifestyle brand that understands technology isn’t important for its own sake; it’s only valuable as it enriches people’s lives. The creative idea communicated that TWC celebrates the human side of technology, helping people get back to things that are important to them, be it family, friends or old and new passions. Print and broadcast ads in three TWC markets, coupled with a new logo, helped position TWC as a lifestyle brand. As a result, 50 percent of those polled after the campaign said it made them want to learn more about products/services, 39 percent wanted to subscribe to the TWC products/services advertised, and 62 percent of existing customers said they would stay on.
Social Media Marketing
Time Warner Cable – Facebook and Twitter Updates, Influencer Blog (operator winner)
In 2010, Time Warner Cable (TWC) began establishing a significant presence in social media through Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Most discussions on these channels revolved around complaints, and TWC decided to focus on providing customers with the help they needed in a more efficient manner than phone interactions or online chat. Since the launch of its Facebook page, it has signed nearly 150,000 “fans,” and its Twitter traffic has grown as well to 40,000 tweets from 17,000 customers. Enough traffic has been generated to warrant a doubling of its Social Care team, but more problems have been solved as a result. In addition, TWC created a special infographic for its Influencer Outreach Blog, dubbed “Time Warner Cable Untangled.” As a result of all of this, customer-care costs for TWC ($3 per call multiplied by 10,000 calls per day) have been reduced by diverting these calls to the Social Care Team’s Twitter and email accounts for handling.
Ericsson – "2020 Shaping Ideas" Campaign (vendor winner)
Ericsson’s vision for its “2020 Shaping Ideas” campaign was to be the “prime driver in an all-communicating world.” To achieve this, Ericsson devised a social-media strategy via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube aimed at collaborating with and getting inspiration from people outside its business to adapt to the future changes and developments in communications. The 2020 Shaping Ideas campaign consisted of 20 three-minute interview films with some of the world’s top thought leaders, a trailer and a 25-minute documentary that could be viewed through the campaign’s Website. Ericsson used online search marketing through Google Adwords and YouTube search activities to drive people to the site. The project has reached more than 1 million views, with thousands added each week. As of July 2011, Ericsson had generated interest on 192 blogs. More than 2,000 tweeters have posted more than 2,500 tweets, with a potential reach of more than 2 million followers. 2020 Shaping Ideas also has more than 800 Facebook fans.
New Product Launch
Echostar – Aria: The New Voice For Cable Operators
Echostar Marketing devised a $150,000 campaign strategy to launch Aria, a specific solution for mid-tier cablecos. Aria features cloud-based “TV Everywhere” multi-screen, any-location services; graphical user interfaces with “skins” branded for the local cable-TV operator; universal search across a consumer’s authorized assets, including linear TV, VOD or OTT services; remote DVR timer setting; and all-digital, high-def VOD (utilizing adaptive bit-rate streaming). Industry awareness of the Aria brand was key because it’s not just one product but rather an ecosystem of Echostar products and services. As such, the strategy involved a three-pronged approach: teaser, reveal and aware. The “tease” ran from May 15 through June 5, the “reveal” campaign ran from June 6 through June 12 and the “aware” campaign launched in Chicago at this year’s Cable Show. Marketing continues today via ads, press releases and social-media activity, and there has been a near-80-percent increase in cable sales inquiries via e-mail and phone.
Knology – "Taking the NextStep in Business Communications" Campaign
Knology’s launch of its $165,000 NextStep integrated marketing campaign this past spring aimed to communicate the carrier’s NextStep business product bundle and Knology’s recent DOCSIS 3.0 network upgrade. The business bundle includes high-speed Internet services, and feature-rich phone and cable services. The campaign used — and continues to use — both traditional and digital marketing techniques, including direct mail, account executive flyers, postcards, e-mail, press releases, print ads, online banner ads, Google ads, digital billboards and Websites. Nearly 100 percent of the carrier’s footprint has been reached by these tactics. As a result, NextStep bundle sales have grown consistently, with the percentage of Total Knology Business customers increasing by 220 percent from mid-April through early September. Knology projects its NextStep customers in the South and in the Midwest could represent 20 percent of its business-service revenues by the end of 2011.
Best 2011 ‘WOW’ Overall Marketing Campaign
SeaChange International Inc. – The 2011 SeaChange Summit
On April 27, 2011, SeaChange International hosted an international one-day conference that examined the realities of generating revenue from multi-screen video services today. The New York City forum, “Monetizing Multi-Screen Video,” brought together decision-makers from around the world in the cable, telecommunications and media sectors. The conference was an intimate, open discussion of insights, ideas and solutions important to service providers, advertisers, content developers, analysts and others. It succeeded in attracting high-level panelists who spoke to the technology and marketing issues revolving around “making dollars and sense of television’s transition to serve consumers on every screen from iPads to smartphones.” Strategy subjects included OTT, content bundling and marketing, advanced advertising and personalized apps and social media. To bolster registration for this one-day event, SeaChange developed and sent multiple e-mail invitations listing topics and speakers; it took out ads in The Wall Street Journal; and it produced in-depth, informational PDFs.