CableLabs’12th CableNET exhibit won’t look dramatically different from previous displays, but between it and NCTA’s Broadband Home exhibit, attendees at this year’s National Show will get the full flavor of what cable operators are up to technologically. This year marks the first time CableLabs’ CableNET exhibit will be at the National Show. It launched at the Western Show in 1993 and was designed from day one to be a showcase for products, services and technology that eventually would take the industry to the top of the high-tech heap. The exhibits traditionally have showcased products that weren’t quite ready for prime time but could have a big impact on the industry down the road. CableLabs spokesman Mike Schwartz says cable modems made their debut at CableNET, as did voice over Internet protocol and OCAP digital applications. One of the things that makes the CableNET display so attractive to both exhibitors and attendees is its egalitarian atmosphere. All vendors are treated as equals, whether they’re big or small, well known in the industry or relatively obscure. This year, more than 50 companies will show off their latest bells and whistles in a 10,000-square-foot exhibit area on the show floor. The show also will feature a 7,000-square-foot area dedicated to the Broadband Home display. CableNET will showcase what cable has in store for tomorrrow’s customers; the Broadband Home exhibit will offer a glimpse of what customers can get from their cable operators today. Although the basic demonstration platform at CableNET is hybrid fiber/coax cable, other platforms, including wireless and hybrid solutions, will be featured. To get a feel for how much CableNET has grown over the years, consider this: The first CableNET was 2,700 square feet in size and featured 24 companies. A handful of leading suppliers—EDS, Nortel and Unisys, to name a few—donated their personnel and exhibit property to help construct and staff the booth. Among some of the CableNET demonstrations planned for New Orleans: set-tops with OCAP-based middleware; new broadband provisioning software; security products for servers; on-demand platform capabilities for standard- and high-definition video; a PacketCable multimedia-based policy server platform; next-generation OSS applications, including provisioning, network/service assurance and home networking solutions; processing software; multimedia in-home networks; CableLabs’ Go2Broadband service; servers, routers, nagivation systems and interactive applications; and content ideas for advanced television ranging from personalized financial information to card collecting. On the other side of the show floor, NCTA’s Broadband Home display will showcase hi-def, video on demand, online gaming, Internet phone, home monitoring and interactive TV. More than 50 companies will provide some service or element of the Broadband Home exhibit. Every room in the house, including kitchen, bathroom and garage, will be hooked up to some kind of broadband offering designed to make a consumer’s life easier and more entertaining. The space was jointly designed and decorated by Scripps Networks, Cable in the Classroom and Cox New Orleans.