BBH Report Home Page
May 15, 2008 Provided by System Dynamics Inc.

IN THIS ISSUE:

Heard on the Net

Briefly Noted
Updates, Observations and Trends

The Everywire Standard
G.hn and HomeGrid Forum

Clearwire Version 4.0

Pinnacle
HDTV In a Flash Drive

Your Voice -
Reader's Comments

Upcoming Conferences


Heard on the Net

News about People and Companies Influencing The Broadband Home


People News

Dario Choi has been promoted to VP and GM at TANDBERG Television Asia-Pacific. ( www.tandbergtv.com )

Mark Dawson has joined ICTV's ActiveMedia Group as VP, Programming Services. Dawson was previously with Gemstar-TV Guide International. ( www.ictv.com )

D. Scott Mercer has been named CEO at Conexant Systems. The company also announced that Christian Scherp has been promoted to president, and Sailesh Chittipeddi was promoted to EVP of Global Operations and CTO. ( www.conexant.com )


Company News

Acquisitions

Amdocs has purchased Jacobs Rimell, a provider of fulfillment solutions for the broadband cable industry, for approximately $45 million in cash, net of cash on hand. ( www.amdocs.com ) ( www.jacobsrimell.com )

Broadweave Networks, a services operator for planned communities using fiber, is purchasing the iProvo FTTH network from the City of Provo, Utah for $40.6 million. ( www.broadweave.com ) ( www.iprovo.net ) ( www.provo.org )

CopperGate Communications has purchased the HomePlug AV business from Conexant Systems. CopperGate says they are "the first semiconductor company with home networking technologies supporting all three wire types - coax, phone and power lines." Terms of the deal were not disclosed. ( www.coppergate.com ) ( www.conexant.com )

Cox Enterprises is paying $300 million to buy Adify, a company that helps Web sites pool their ad space. Adify will operate as a stand-alone company and will continue to be led by Russ Fradin, CEO and co-founder of Adify. ( www.coxenterprises.com ) ( www.adify.com )

MK Capital has funded the divestiture of Kontiki, a provider of managed peer-assisted delivery, from VeriSign. The business will be re-launched as Kontiki Inc. ( www.mkcapital.com ) ( www.kontiki.com ) ( www.verisign.com )

NXP Semiconductors, the independent semiconductor company founded by Philips, is acquiring Conexant’s Broadband Media Processing business, for $110 million in cash, and up to $35 million in a contingent “earn-out” fee. NXP's existing set-top box and digital TV operations will be combined with Conexant's BMP business. ( www.nxp.com ) ( www.conexant.com )

Sony Corporation of America (SCA) is acquiring Gracenote, creator of the CDDB database for digital media identification, for $260 million. ( www.sony.com ) ( www.gracenote.com )

Funding

Alereon, a fabless semiconductor company specializing in UWB technology, announced a $3 million investment from Korean-based SK Telecom. ( www.alereon.com )( www.sktelecom.com )

Iamba Networks, a provider of GPON solutions, announced closing a $7 million round of financing. ( www.iamba.com )

iControl, a provider of home security solutions, raised $15.5 million in Series B funding. ( www.icontrol.com )

Move Networks, a provider of high definition online television services, announced a $46 million Series C funding round. The company provides online video services for such American TV networks as ABC, Fox, and Discovery. ( www.movenetworks.com )

Tudou.com, a popular Chinese online video sharing Website, raised $57 million in new funding. ( www.tudou.com )


Other News

Adobe has announced the Open Screen Project, an alliance with mobile handset and operating system vendors. Through it, Adobe is promoting its next generation Flash Lite media player as the answer to content compatibility problems on mobiles. The new player is scheduled for mid-2009 launch. Backers of the alliance include Arm, Intel, LG, Marvell, Motorola, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony and Ericsson. ( www.adobe.com )

Cablevision announced a plan to spend about $300 million to build a Wi-Fi mesh network across its footprint in the New York metropolitan area. The rollout has already begun in some communities and will be free for existing customers. The estimated cost of building the network is about $70 per home passed or $100 per subscriber. Cablevision has about 3.3 million customers and passes about 4.7 million homes. ( www.cablevision.com )

EchoStar Technologies L.L.C, a subsidiary of EchoStar Corporation is entering the cable industry with the debut of CableLabs Certified® DOCSIS® 2.0 SlingModem at The Cable Show in New Orleans next week. EchoStar Corporation spun-off from DISH Network Corporation earlier this year, retaining its set-top box business and certain infrastructure assets. EchoStar purchased Sling Media last fall and is now pursuing OEM relationships with cable operators worldwide. ( www.echostar.com ) ( 2008.thecableshow.com )( www.slingmedia.com )

Intel Capital was one of the winners in Sweden's auction of licenses for nationwide wireless broadband. Intel paid $26 million for a 15-year license it intends to use for WiMAX. Sweden's Post and Telecom Agency (PTS) also granted 15-year licenses to Tele2, Telenor, TeliaSonera and HI3G Access AB after a 16-day spectrum auction in the 2.6 GHz band. ( www.intel.com )


Briefly Noted: Updates, Observations and Trends

Each month, we collect miscellaneous happenings, studies, trends or observations you might have missed. This month's briefs focus on the new P4P protocols, the demise of Pivot, the uncertain future of US access BPL, and a few items to lighten your day.

P4P the Solution to P2P?

Telefonica International Wholesale Services, part of the Telefonica Group, released data from its field test of advanced peer-to-peer (P2P) protocols, known as P4P, on Telefonica's broadband network in Peru. Their results showed the new P4P protocols increased network efficiency by shifting traffic from external to internal links and by routing the internal traffic shorter distances across the Telefonica network. The amount of data delivered from internal versus external links increased by 268% and the metro hop count decreased by 57% (from 3.78 to 1.62). P4P is a work group of the DCIA (Distributed Computing Industry Association). ( www.telefonica-wholesale.com ) ( www.dcia.info )

R.I.P. Pivot

Pivot, the short-lived relationship between Sprint and cable operators Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Cox and Bright House Networks to provide wireless services to cable customers, has ceased operation. Existing customers will have an option of moving their service directly to Sprint. However, as we report below, hope springs eternal and the parties have created a new relationship under the Clearwire umbrella for working jointly on a nationwide WiMAX network. ( www.sprint.com ) ( www.timewarnercable.com ) ( www.comcast.com ) ( www.cox.com ) ( www.brighthouse.com ) ( www.clearwire.com )

Access BPL's US Future Is Clouded

Count one in the winning column for ARRL, the association representing amateur radio operators. ARRL has been fighting the rules for access BPL's rollout. A US federal appeals court said the FCC had not justified its rejection of ARRL-submitted data that could have influenced the rules. Although the rules were not overturned, the FCC was instructed to provide more clarity and visibility into their decisions. ( www.arrl.org ) ( www.fcc.gov )

The following day, the Current Group announced it was selling the Dallas BPL infrastructure it was building for Oncor Electric Delivery Company (TXU) to Oncor for $90 million. Oncor made it clear that their intended use is monitoring their network and not delivering broadband service over the grid. ( www.currenttechnologies.com ) ( www.oncorelectricdelivery.com )

Odd Coalitions: Cattle Farmers and Libraries

It sounds like a riddle. What do cows and books have in common? The answer is that both farmers and rural libraries want more broadband. UTC Industry Intelligence reported that the National Grange, an agriculture interest group, has been advocating rural broadband funding in US farm legislation. The American Library Association supports rural broadband legislation, citing long lines for terminals in rural libraries. The U.S. Cattlemen Association says farmers need broadband to check commodity prices and sell livestock via online auctions. ( www.utc.org )

British Underground Humor

Telecom Web reports that the British town of Bournemouth has approved a plan for a start up named H2O to use the city's sewer system to install a municipal FTTH system. So far headlines have included "Bournemouth Broadband Goes Down The Drain," and "Broadband Coming to a Sewer Near You?" Telecom Web commented that "the whole thing has the FTTH community absolutely flush with excitement." ( www.telecomweb.com )

Smell Tones for Cell Phones

Now that mobile phones have MP3 players, cameras, GPS, Internet access and more, leave it to NTT Communications to come up with Mobile Fragrance Communication service. NTT announced a pilot test ( www.moconews.net/entry/419-ntt-to-trial-mobile-fragrance-communication-service/ ), from April 10 to 20, of its version 2 MFC service. Fragrance Playlists can be downloaded via i-mode and transferred to a dedicated device pre-loaded with a cartridge of base fragrances. The device mixes the specific fragrances and emits them while the user enjoys the A/V content playback. Fragrance playlists also can be edited and shared with other subscribers. ( www.ntt.com )


The Everywire Standard: G.hn and HomeGrid Forum

We recently received an email announcing HomeGrid Forum, a new industry alliance for next-generation home networking formed by Infineon, Intel, Panasonic and TI. There already seem to be too many home networking alliances, so we wanted to understand why they were leading the effort to form yet another. To learn more about the new alliance, we talked on the phone with two of its leaders. We also talked with other leading players in "existing wiring" home networking.

HomeGrid Forum "aims to promote and influence a single, next-generation worldwide standard for networking digital content, such as movies, music and pictures, over home wiring." G.hn, a relatively-new standards effort operating under the auspices of the ITU, is currently working to create a single global standard for networking over all existing wiring. HomeGrid Forum sees itself as playing the same role for G.hn that the Wi-Fi Alliance plays for IEEE 802.11: compatibility and interoperability testing, branding, and promotion. It also aims to facilitate the standards development process.

We think there really is an unfilled need. While it will take some time to play out, G.hn and HomeGrid Forum are likely to play a key role in resolving the current confusion in "existing wiring" networking.


"Existing Wiring" Networks--The Unfilled Need

We're strong believers in "whole home" networking -- integrated networking designed to move audio, video and data around the home. Category 5/6 wiring is still the best way to do this, but everyone in the industry believes that most families will not pay to install new wiring throughout the home. "No new wires" has been the industry mantra for many years.

Some have thought wireless networking would be sufficient for "whole home" networking. We have long believed that wireless would often fall short--especially for multiple channels of high-definition video. Wireless signals are degraded by distance, walls, floors and air conditioning ducting, and are subject to interference from other wireless networks and other sources. While 802.11n (the latest generation of Wi-Fi) may be sufficient for smaller homes and apartments, some mixture of wireless and wired networking will probably be required to provide high-quality networking in every home.

Existing wiring -- coaxial, telephone, and electrical -- has great potential to carry digital signals throughout the home. Many companies have developed chipsets and products to use these wires. Industry alliances have been formed to promote them, including:

  • MoCA for coaxial
  • HomePNA for telephone and coaxial
  • HomePlug, UPA, and HD-PLC for electrical

Several generations of "existing wiring" technologies have appeared in products. Some telephone service providers and cable operators have deployed products based on MoCA, HomePNA, HomePlug and UPA. Products based on the latest versions of HomePlug, UPA, and HD-PLC are widely available at retail.

Wireless networking is based on a single family of IEEE standards--802.11n is the latest version. A single industry alliance--the Wi-Fi Alliance--handles certification and promotion on a global basis. The alliance website says "the Wi-Fi industry shipped 300 million chipsets in 2007 and is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 40 percent."

The total penetration of all the "existing wiring" products is minuscule compared with Wi-Fi. The shipments of each of the "existing wiring" chipsets is in the few millions -- a tiny fraction of the global broadband market.

There are far too many standards for networking over existing wiring. It's bad enough that different standards are used for each type of wiring. But there are also two competing standards for coaxial wiring, and three for electrical wiring. Service providers have to pick sides in deciding which wiring to use, and which standards to use over that wiring. Consumers walk into stores trying to solve a problem, and see nearly identical boxes with competing flavors of powerline networking.

Many companies working on one type of existing wiring are already looking for opportunities on other wiring. HomePNA, originally designed for phone wiring, now supports both phone and coaxial. UPA has been proposed for coaxial as well as electrical. But even if they each could be made to operate well over all types of existing wiring, five mutually-incompatible technologies that often interfere with each other would be intolerable.

There's clearly an unfilled need for a unified approach to existing wiring. Such an approach would permit service providers to build a single chipset into every device and use the appropriate wiring suitable to the particular situation in the home. It would eliminate the confusion which almost certainly inhibits most consumers from adopting these technologies.

A unified approach is not as far-fetched as it might seem. All of the current "existing wiring" technologies are based on similar underlying techniques. Nearly all use OFDM (as does Wi-Fi). They employ similar techniques for security and for sharing the available bandwidth among many users. That's what led to G.hn.


ITU-T G.hn

ITU-T G.hn has been working for more than two years "to specify next generation home networking transceivers (PHY and MAC) capable of operating over premises wiring including inside telephone wiring, coaxial cable, power line wiring, data grade (e.g., CAT5) cable, and combinations of these." This work is being done in the ITU-T Telecommunication Standardization Sector, Study Group 15, Question 4 (ITU-T Q4/15). (For those unfamiliar with ITU nomenclature, ITU-T is the global organization of telephone companies; its Telecommunication Standardization Sector establishes global standards in the form of ITU Recommendations; Study Group 15 is responsible for DSL, PON and other technologies used for digital transmission; and Question 4 is its group responsible for "Transceivers for customer access and in-premises networking systems on metallic conductors".)

More than thirty companies are now working on G.hn. Most of the "existing wiring" semiconductor companies are active participants. Participants say a unified standard is well under way and should be completed during 2009. Many companies expect products will start becoming available in 2010.

Who will test these products to prove that they conform with the G.hn standard and interoperate with each other? That's where HomeGrid Forum comes in.


HomeGrid Forum

We talked on the phone with two leaders of HomeGrid Forum: Matt Theall of Intel, and Mike Bourton of Texas Instruments. Matt and Mike also represent their companies in the HomePlug Alliance--until recently Matt was President of HomePlug. So we started by asking why the world needs yet another networking alliance. Pointing to recent work by DS2, Gigle, and some of the UWB companies, they observed that "most technology leaders are moving towards an 'any wire' technology". As each company and alliance moves to embrace multiple wires, they said "the risk of incompatible technologies running on multiple wires is high" and saw "fragmentation in the industry".

They said they like G.hn, since it brought together "seven or eight service providers" (including AT&T, Verizon, France Telecom and Telenor) with "most leading silicon providers". They said G.hn already has "the critical mass for the ecosystem" and was making good progress toward a unified standard.

But they saw a gap -- they felt "the odds of fragmentation are high" and there needed to be "a companion SIG to G.hn." As with most formal standards organizations, G.hn's efforts are finished when the standard is published. But getting a standard into the market requires many years of additional work--to test devices for compliance with the standard and interoperability with each other; to promote the standard; and to provide recognizable branding so service providers and consumers are assured that devices will work together. Pointing to the role the Wi-Fi Alliance plays for 802.11, and WiMAX Forum plays for 802.16, they formed HomeGrid Forum to play these roles for G.hn.

Since the G.hn standard is more than a year away, we asked Matt and Mike why they were launching HomeGrid Forum now. They said most people underestimate how much work and time are required to establish certification testing methodologies, choose test labs, and get the process under way. They felt that creating the alliance now would provide enough time to get ready for testing while the standards are being completed.

HomeGrid Forum is also helping its members develop common positions for presentation at G.hn meetings. Mike said much of the time at these meetings is taken up by individual companies presenting position papers that often have many things in common. Some G.hn members already work together on some issues and present joint position papers. The HomeGrid Forum's Contribution Work Group is holding weekly meetings for members to hammer out common positions, encouraging a larger number of companies to air and resolve their differences prior to G.hn meetings. Forum members don't have to agree with these positions: "If you agree with the position, put your name on the presentation."

We asked why Intel and TI were taking a leadership role, since neither company has been much involved with existing wires networking. Mike said that TI "sells many products for the digital home - with lots of TI chips in those products". But he said that TI "needs one home networking strategy." He said "home networking won't be in a large market unless we solve this set of problems." Matt said Intel wanted to include existing wiring in its products, but the current fragmentation makes it impossible to choose one over another.

Finally, we asked why so many of the leading players seemed to be missing from the announced Forum membership. Some "existing wiring" semiconductor makers--DS-2, Gigle, and Pulse~LINK--are listed as members. But others--including Coppergate, Entropic, and Intellon (founders respectively of HomePNA, MoCA and HomePlug)--are conspicuous by their absence. Matt and Mike said HomeGrid was still in its early stages: "We're in a startup situation now -- in time, people will join." Nearly everyone working on existing wiring is already an active member of G.hn. "Of the 35 companies participating in G.hn, 11 are already members of HomeGrid, and another 11 are planning to join."

Other Views on HomeGrid

We talked off the record with some of the companies who are not members of HomeGrid. All said they'd been approached by HomeGrid, but had decided not to join "at this time". Most felt the effort was premature, and several expressed apprehension about Intel's and TI's motivations. Some think the big guys are trying to take over the effort, while others think they're trying to subvert it; one said "All of Intel's public commitments are to wireless. They're the leaders in Wi-Fi and UWB and they don't want existing wiring to succeed."

We can understand why the leading companies in existing wiring networking would be apprehensive. All are startups--they're minnows compared with Intel and TI. All of their assets are invested in their own technologies. They've all worked hard to create industry alliances to promote their specific technologies, and feel they're finally starting to get some market penetration. Millions of shipped chipsets might not be much for Intel and TI, but represents good progress for the startups.

That could all be imperiled by G.hn. They're participating in G.hn because they see the handwriting on the wall: whether or not they'd admit it, their current technologies don't fill all the needs--most critically for a single standard that works over all existing wires anywhere in the world. They're working energetically to create a unified standard, and hope to be in the market early with chips for the new standard.

But admitting that openly could diffuse their existing marketing message. They all have chipsets in the market now, and their continued existence depends on companies building products around those chipsets and consumers buying those products. They'd rather keep G.hn far off the radar screen, and don't appreciate HomeGrid Forum calling attention to it.

They probably do have some time before G.hn becomes a factor. We've learned painfully that things never happen as fast as enthusiasts would like, and many good ideas never happen at all.

We'll keep watching G.hn and HomeGrid Forum, and keep track of its progress.

For further reference:

  • See our topical guide to home networking ( www.broadbandhomecentral.com/guide_homenet.html ) for our prior articles on home networking, with separate pages devoted to each type of wiring and another page to "whole home" networking

( www.homegridforum.org ) ( www.itu.int ) ( www.wi-fi.org ) ( www.mocalliance.org ) ( www.homepna.org ) ( www.homeplug.org ) ( www.upaplc.org ) ( www.hd-plc.org ) ( www.itu.int/ITU-T/lighthouse/sg15.phtml ) ( www.intel.com ) ( www.ti.com ) ( www.wimaxforum.org )


Clearwire Version 4.0

There's an old adage that Microsoft usually doesn't get it right in its first release, but keeps on trying and eventually gets there. Clearwire is hoping the same holds true for them.

You've probably read about the latest incarnation of Clearwire. The new company using that name includes Clearwire and Sprint's spectrum, mobile WiMAX networks and resources; a $3.2 billion investment by Intel, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Google; plus various business commitments from the partners regarding chips, search, operating system and MVNO relationships. See the Sprint press release ( newsreleases.sprint.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=127149&p=irol-newsArticle_newsroom&ID=1141088&highlight= ) for the details.

Over the past five years, we've tracked four versions as Clearwire has evolved.

Version 1.0

In March 2003 we wrote about our first hands-on experience with Clearwire in Clearwire in Jacksonville: A Wireless Case Study in Progress ( www.broadbandhomecentral.com/report/backissues/Report0303_4.html ). At that time, Clearwire was focused on competing with cable and DSL and also targeted vertical markets like real estate brokers who needed fixed access in multiple locations around town. The equipment came from IP Wireless.

We were able to read the morning New York Times on the Web while driving around Jacksonville -- at least while we were in range. The service got some limited adoption.

Version 2.0

In December 2004 we were back in Jacksonville to try the next version of Clearwire. As we described in Portable Broadband: A Tale of Three Cities ( www.broadbandhomecentral.com/report/backissues/Report0412_5.html ), version 2.0 was almost entirely different--its name and spectrum were the only remnants from version 1.0.

Craig McCaw had purchased Clearwire in April 2004, and in August 2004 the company relaunched service in Jacksonville, now using equipment from NextNet Wireless (also owned by McCaw). They still were not targeting mobile users because their CPE consisted of a comparatively large unit. Clearwire was undergoing some limited expansion into third-tier cities in the US.

Version 3.0

Fast forward to July 2006. WiMAX technology had come on the scene and big companies really started putting some skin in the game. With the focus shifting to Targeting The Mobile Internet ( www.broadbandhomecentral.com/report/backissues/Report0606_4.html ), Intel and Motorola announced that they were investing $900 million in Clearwire. Motorola purchased Clearwire's wireless hardware subsidiary, NextNet Wireless, whose technology was suddenly called "pre-WiMAX". At the same time, Sprint Nextel announced that it would use WiMAX as its mobile broadband 4G standard.

In July 2007 Clearwire and Sprint signed a letter of intent to build a nationwide WiMAX network, with Sprint focusing on the major urban areas and Clearwire more focused on rural areas. At WCA 2007, Sprint Nextel's CTO Barry West addressed the question of why Sprint planned to put several billion dollars into a WiMAX network ( www.broadbandhomecentral.com/report/backissues/Report0704_4.html ). His answer was that the last phase of wireless growth was driven by voice, and the next phase will be being driven by data, which needs a wider channel and a technology that scales in a linear way.

However, technology was not the key -- the business model was. West believes in an open mobile Internet model, where the customer buys an unlocked device and subscribes to a service. Since the service provider is not selling and subsidizing the phones, they no longer need to keep a customer restricted to content they provide or approve. Sprint soon coined the name XOHM for its WiMAX venture and named West as president.

With all the upheaval at Sprint during the fall of 2007, culminating in the departure of Sprint's CEO Gary Forsee, Sprint and Clearwire announced they had been unable to reach a definitive agreement and had terminated their letter of intent.

...and now Version 4.0

So we have now arrived at Clearwire Version 4.0. Sprint and Clearwire are back together again, along with a formidable group of investor allies. The learning from the past is brought to the venture, with:

  • Clearwire CEO Ben Wolff as the CEO of the new Clearwire
  • Barry West, Sprint's CTO and XOHM business unit leader, as Clearwire president
  • The cable operators bring their existing customer relationships with nearly half of US households, their experiences from Pivot, and their imperative to have a robust mobile offering
  • Intel brings the drive to make WiMAX as successful as Wi-Fi and to work with manufacturers to embed WiMAX chips into laptops and other Intel-based mobile devices
  • Google brings their Android operating system and leadership in search.

The resources and knowledge are all there for Clearwire 4.0 to make it. The open question is whether any management team is up to the formidable task of harnessing such a wide range of business interests and channeling them toward building a robust network, upon which each of the parties can successfully realize its own vision of pricing, branding, and rollout timing.

( www.clearwire.com ) ( www.ipwireless.com ) ( www.intel.com ) ( www.motorola.com ) ( www.sprint.com ) ( www.xohm.com )


Pinnacle: HDTV In a Flash Drive

We receive a huge number of press releases, and sometimes we have trouble figuring out what on earth the authors are talking about. This one was different. I contacted the PR folks and asked if we could try it. The release described a device about the size of a flash drive, packaging a TV tuner for PCs in a very compact form factor. The Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro Stick delivers free digital HD and SD TV over-the-air (ATSC), unencrypted digital cable and FM radio as well as acting as a PVR. The price is less than $100.

There are two target markets. One is laptop users, travelers and students who want HD-quality TV at home or on-the-go. The other is owners of PCs based on Windows Media Center Edition (MCE) on Vista and XP who did not purchase a PC TV tuner with their systems or who want to upgrade to broadcast digital TV.

While we were staying at our Sanibel condo, I set up the device on my Sony VAIO laptop, followed the simple instructions and using the enclosed portable antenna. In minutes, I was watching the local over-the-air digital TV stations. When we were back in NJ, I did a scan for the local stations here and within minutes was back watching TV on my PC screen.

I haven't had a chance to put this unit through many of its paces, including hooking it up to my Cablevision digital settop, but my first impressions have been quite positive. Since Pinnacle is a division of Avid, the video software editing company, the unit also contains a copy of the VideoSpin editing software.

( www.pinnaclesys.com )


Your Voice -- Reader's Comments

We had emails about our April articles regarding Internet content on the TV ( www.broadbandhomecentral.com/report/backissues/Report0802_4.html ) and on diagnosing broadband problems ( www.broadbandhomecentral.com/report/backissues/Report0802_5.html ).

A reader from Mountain View, CA questioned our suggestion that Verizon might have the right approach by "installing a Broadband Home Router (BHR) as the central management point for all services." He recounted a story of spending "many frustrating weeks trying to get Skype to work reliably at my parents home in Wilmington, DE." His parents had installed FiOS for Internet and TV and "began to experience problems with their TV service, also from Verizon, and Verizon replaced the BHR. From that point forward any peer to peer application like Skype or Netmeeting would disconnect after 2-4 minutes. Calls to Verizon tech support were of no help except to point me to Actiontec for changing the firmware in the BHR. The one time I was able to speak to a live person at Actiontec they said it was a Verizon problem."

His sleuthing uncovered a connection with having "enabled Universal Plug and Play to connect the Slingbox for remote viewing." We won't recount all the details, but after solving the problem (by disabling UPnP) the reader concluded that "This is just another example of the industry failing to reliably connect and support all the pieces together."

Another reader talked about wanting "to have the ability to show all my photos, listen to all my music and watch all my DVDs and other Windows Media Centre content" (on the TV) but also wanting his "TV to be an additional monitor for my PC such that anything I can see on my PC monitor I want to see at the same time on my TV. My TV is far from my PC. Ideally I would also want to control my PC from the TV room with a wireless keyboard or some other such device." The note illustrates the wide variety of needs consumers have for linking the PC and TV and the difficulties inherent in today's wide selection of fragmented solutions.


Upcoming Conferences

The Cable Show ‘08

The year’s biggest cable event, The Cable Show, is being held at Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA, May 18-20. For those interested in tru2way, the event will be preceded by the tru2way Developers' Conference on May 17-18. The conference will be a mix of exhibits, sessions and events focusing on technology, strategy, the regulatory environment, business models and more. This will be the 57th International Annual Convention and Exhibition presented by NCTA. We'll be at the Developers’ Conference and the entire show, so hope to see you there! ( 2008.thecableshow.com )

Fifth Annual Healthcare Unbound Conference & Exhibition

The focus of the Fifth Annual Healthcare Unbound Conference is the convergence of consumer and healthcare technologies. It takes place in San Francisco, CA at the Marriott San Francisco. Healthcare Unbound has been defined as "technology in, on and around the body that frees care from formal institutions." The program will have a strong focus on the use of remote monitoring / home telehealth technologies for wellness promotion and disease management. It will provide an opportunity for networking with high-level executives and clinicians from across the US and abroad. The conference is being co-sponsored by the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA) & the Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST). ( www.tcbi.org/hu2008 )

IPTV World Forum North America

IPTV is on course to become a credible Pay TV platform in North America, with Verizon FIOS TV and AT&T reporting continuing growth. IPTV World Forum – North America is part of a series of IPTV events organized by Informa Telecoms & Media globally. It will be held at the McCormick Place Convention Centre, Chicago, IL on July 22-23, 2008. It will address the question of where North American IPTV providers are going to find their subscribers and what services must they provide (and evolve) in order to differentiate themselves in the crowded Pay TV marketplace. Confirmed speakers will be representing Verizon, AT&T, SureWest, TiVo, Portugal Telecom and many others. ( www.iptv-northamerica.com )