News and notes from this week’s National Show. Motorola, NCTC National Set-Top Agreement Motorola announced that the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) placed an order for all-digital, high-definition (HD) and digital video recording (DVR)-capable Motorola set-tops, in the consortium’s first-ever volume set-top purchase. NCTC members will deploy the latest in Motorola digital video technology, including the DCT2500E home media network-ready core interactive set-top, the DCT6412 and DCT3412 high-definition digital video recorders, and the recently announced Motorola DCT3080 standard-definition digital video recorder. The DCT3080 is a standard-definition, dual-tuner digital video recorder that can move content such as recorded shows, photos or music to other devices in the home. The new Motorola Digital Cable Client (DCC) 100 set-top links to a Motorola DVR through existing in-home coaxial cable. Slightly bigger than a paperback book, the product can bring all-digital programming, interactive applications and the convenience of whole-home DVR through a "one-wire" connection. S-A Unveils New Line of Set-Top Boxes Scientific Atlanta rolled out its newest line of set-tops at this week’s show. The new boxes are designed to help cable operators deploy Next Generation Network Architectures (NGNA) in their systems, by including an OCAP platform, CableCards, advanced video codecs (H.264) and DSG support. Scientific Atlanta also demonstrated its switched digital video solution, which included an open, IP-based SDV system, gigabit quadrature amplitude modulation (GQAM) sharing between multiple services and advanced bulk encryption support. Pace Unveils New STB in Atlanta And speaking of set-top boxes, Pace Micro Technology added to its stable of digital set-top boxes with the unveiling of its new HD Miami DC757 box. The Miami set-top box offers EPG and VOD applications plus OCAP support. Chris Dinallo, vice president of technology, Pace Micro Technology Americas, described the Miami box as a sibling to the company’s DSG Tahoe TDC775D HD-DVR and Vegas TDC575 SD-DVR boxes. Broadbus Shifts Time After a private demo earlier this year at the CableLabs‘ Winter Conference, Broadbus demonstrated for the first time publicly its network-based VOD server for pausing, fast-forwarding and rewinding live television using existing digital set top boxes. The server, called the B-1, is used by Time Warner Cable‘s Start Over service, which was announced earlier this year, but TWC’s service doesn’t allow customers to fast-forward over commercials. Tom Kennedy, senior director of marketing, said cable operators can enable or disable the fast-forward function and that there needs to be a client on the set-top box for the remote to work. RealNetworks Gains CableLabs Approval Also at the show, CableLabs’ gave its approval of RealNetworks‘ universal Helix DRM solution for OpenCable Unidirectional Receiver (OCUR) devices connected to new PCs. The approval by CableLabs allows manufacturers to build and deploy a secure digital cable-ready solution for PCs and enables consumers to enjoy digital and high definition (HD) cable programming on PCs, as well as other devices connected within their home networks. Ian McKerlich, RealNetworks’ general manager, broadband business unit, said his company is aiming at CableLabs certifcation later this year. Surreal Life at NCTA After attending a Sunday morning session on OCAP at the National Show, a quick trip to the bathroom was in order. Crouching in front of one of the urinals were two Japanese men who were leaning over a device that I thought at the time was a PDA or cell phone. Alas, it was not. It was one of MAV TV‘s talking urinal cakes. Whenever the urinal cakes were hit with streams of liquid, they played a loud laughing sequence followed by a short blurb for MAV TV. Technology is certainly exceeding my expectations in ways I never imagined, but it was amusing to watch some people jump when the mad cackling began.

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