Whether it’s ultra-fast, next-generation broadband networks, multi-platform IP video delivery or behavior-changing interactive services, the cable industry continues to demonstrate its innovative core. The theme for The Cable Show 2011 is “Everything Possible,” and that phrase broadly captures the creative vision that is fueling the products, technologies and content driving growth and advancement across cable’s footprint.

This year’s show is packed with enough activities to keep anyone busy, with dozens of sessions that can enhance your knowledge of the industry’s business, marketing, advertising and public-policy objectives, not to mention several great networking opportunities during the three days. However, The Cable Show’s technical programming lineup really will showcase how everything is possible on today’s cable plant.

The Cable Show’s engineering and technology components will focus around the 2011 Spring Technical Forum, a collaborative effort of NCTA, SCTE and CableLabs. Combining peer-reviewed technical papers and engaging technical panels, the multi-day forum will be a deep immersion into the technology pursuits and priorities that will shape cable’s future.

The Spring Technical Forum also will spotlight seven technical-paper sessions that could be a prelude to tomorrow’s “next best thing.” Some of the panels include:

What’s On TV? Techniques and Technologies for Content Discovery — New tools for supporting intelligent program navigation, from social media drivers to new metadata identifiers.

Space Craft: Transforming the Headend with CMAP — Key objectives in the quest for a less crowded and more efficient headend.

HFC-ing the Light: Advancements in Next-Gen Network Architecture — Emerging approaches for adding performance and capacity to cable’s physical networks.

Packet Change: IP Video and Cable’s Architectural Evolution — Considerations and impacts on cable providers and networks of video increasingly flowing over public and private IP networks.

Business Plan: Architectural Considerations for Commercial Services Delivery — Architectural approaches for delivering powerful throughput and improved efficiency.

Hey You, Get Onto My Cloud: Implications of New Video Delivery Approaches — New thinking about transport, integration and platforms on moving video content to the cable network from distant servers.

ABCs of QoE: Managing Quality of Experience in a Changing Video Environment — Emerging technology approaches for solving QoE challenges as video consumption patterns change.

The upcoming IPv6 transition also will be highlighted at The Cable Show — and just about a week after World IPv6 Day. The show’s IPv6 Summit will be a timely and detailed examination of the Internet’s transition to the new IPv6 addressing protocol — and what it means for cable providers, Internet devices, content producers, consumers and others. Because this transition poses immense challenges for network, infrastructure, and Internet “edge” providers, success depends on collaboration among a wide variety of participants.

The IPv6 Summit will feature panels concentrating on various elements of the transition as well as opportunities to compare notes, both formally and informally, on transition challenges and solutions. John Curran, president and CEO of the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), will begin the day by providing keynote remarks. And Tom Powers, chief of staff at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), is scheduled to speak at the Summit’s closing lunch.

Taking center stage on The Cable Show exhibit floor will be “The Park.” At this gathering place, in a setting to resemble a neighborhood park, the live-events stage will feature a lively mix of exciting product demos, new technology trends, product announcements and mini-panel conversations — all professionally hosted and Web-streamed “live” on a variety of Cable Show sites. As in previous years, The Cable Show is a great opportunity to really show what cable has been up to. The industry’s latest technologies clearly tout the innovation that engineers, developers, technologists, and others have spent years perfecting.

Mark Bell is vice president/Industry Affairs at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA). Contact him at 202/222-2300.

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