Monday, August 29, 2005

DISH Network Debuts Six-Way TV Mosaic with OpenTV

EchoStar's DISH Network satellite TV service introduced a new feature that delivers a mosaic of six networks and interactive channels on a single TV screen. The feature makes it easier to find content and surf between channels. Viewers can select between windows of popular networks, including CNN, MSNBC, The Weather Channel, E! Entertainment, Bloomberg and Court TV.

The interactive mosaic concept -- six mainstream TV channels integrated with interactive features -- was first used by DISH during the 2004 Summer Olympics and again for the 2004 Presidential Elections.

DISH Network subscribers with an interactive TV-enabled receiver can access the feature by going to channel 100, pressing the interactive TV button on their remote, launching ITV from the electronic programming guide, or selecting a triggered advertisement on another channel.

DISH is using OpenTV Corp.'s digital interactive application.

ARCHOS Tunes its Mobile DVRs for CinemaNow VOD

ARCHOS announced a co-marketing agreement to bring the CinemaNow video download service to its new ARCHOS AV 700 Mobile Digital Video Recorder and Gmini 402 Pocket Multimedia Center devices.

Consumers will be able to watch their CinemaNow videos on the AV 700's 7" wide screen or connect the device to their TV for full screen viewing. The ARCHOS AV 700 comes in 40- and 100-gigabyte hard drive versions and can store up to 400 hours of video.

Currently, CinemaNow boasts a library of more than 550 full-length features and more than 200 music videos available for portable video players that are Microsoft PlaysForSure compliant.

ARCHOS and CinemaNow are planning promotional offers, including free downloads with the purchase of new players.

In addition to Internet content downloads, the ARCHOS portable video players and recorders allow consumers to record video content directly from the TV, DVD player, VCR, cable box or satellite receiver, as well as play and record music, view photos and play games.

Wanadoo's Livecom Integrates Jabber XCP

Wanadoo's Livecom integrated voice, video, and chat service has deployed the Jabber Extensible Communications Platform (Jabber XCP).

For Livecom, Jabber XCP serves as its core presence, subscriber management, and multi-media routing technology. Additionally, Jabber XCP provides Wanadoo with a highly extensible service delivery framework for ongoing service innovation.

Jabber XCP is a presence and messaging server that supports all standards based messaging and presence protocols, including Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP), Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions (SIMPLE), and Instant Messaging and Presence Services (IMPS) defined by the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA).

"We have been working with Wanadoo for several years, initially on their core IM capabilities and the Voila portal, and more recently on the Livecom service," said Tony Bamonti, president of Jabber Telecom.

Nortel Rolls Out New IP Communication Solutions

Nortel introduced a series of new and enhanced IP multimedia solutions for the enterprise market. The line-up includes:

  • the Nortel IP Phone 1100 Series, which features advanced capabilities including high-resolution displays for graphical content presentation along with USB and Gigabit Ethernet capabilities. Nortel is introducing three new models: the IP Phone 1110, IP Phone 1120E, and IP Phone 1140E, each designed to deliver sophisticated telephony features and applications.

  • Nortel WLAN Handset 2212, which offers enterprises fast access to people and applications with one, easy-to-use handset that provides secure access to critical databases, remote control of equipment, Internet access, and send and receive messages.

  • Secure Multimedia Controller 2450, which as part of Nortel's convergence security portfolio is designed to help ensure that productivity-enhancing applications and converged infrastructure are always available and secure.

  • Multimedia Communications Server (MCS) 5100 Release 3.5, which provides new ways for users to communicate in real-time in addition to its current breadth of services - IM with dynamic presence, IM chat, audio and video conferencing, Web collaboration, personalized communication and other collaboration tools.

  • CallPilot Release 4.0 Unified Messaging suite, including new features to improve user productivity. These include an IM integration feature that allows users to respond to voice and e-mail messages with an IM session. Users can also view presence icons to determine the availability of the sender and then initiate an interactive session with the click of a mouse.

  • Communications Server 1000 Release 4.5, a feature-rich enterprise call server software package that supports up to 15,000 users per server and can be deployed in centralized or distributed collaborative enterprise environments.

  • Survivable Remote Gateway 50, which allows users at remote sites to communicate more effectively by providing access to all of the features and applications available to users at the main site.

Astra Platform Services GmbH Deploys Harmonic Encoders

Astra Platform Services GmbH (APS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of SES ASTRA and Germany's largest satellite broadcaster, is deploying Harmonic's DiviCom MV 100 multi-codec encoding platform.

APS, which was formerly known as Digital Playout Center, provisions broadcast TV services that reach several million subscribers across central Europe. Harmonic's DiviCom MV 100 encoding platform and DiviTrackXE closed-loop statistical multiplexing solution will use MPEG-2 compression to enable APS to significantly increase its channel density. e Harmonic solution also maintains full compatibility with the installed headend and subscriber equipment such as set-top boxes. In addition, the customer-installable MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) software gives APS the option of an upgrade. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Manitoba Telecom Adds VOD to IPTV Service in Winnipeg

Manitoba Telecom Services (MTS) has launched on-demand programming to over 40,000 television subscribers in Winnipeg using on-demand software and servers from SeaChange International.

MTS TV is a digital television service providing over 200 channels, including more than 25 themed channel packages. In addition to video-on-demand, MTS is adding new features to the MTS TV portal, providing more access to local information such as weather, airport arrivals and departures, school/garbage day, horoscopes and more. All of these new features, in addition to exclusive content such as MTS Centre On Demand and MTS Games On Demand, are accessible through MTS's Motorola set-top boxes. SeaChange's VOD system is integrated with MTS's Motorola VDSL architecture.
  • In June 2004, Manitoba Telecom Services completed its acquisition of Allstream (formerly AT&T Canada). Allstream operates a nationwide network spanning 18,000 km and is focused on the business market.

Nortel Integrates Microsoft Office Communicator with SIP Platform

Nortel has expanded its strategic relationship with Microsoft and plans to integrate Microsoft Office Communicator 2005 and Office Live Communication Server with its open, SIP-based communications solution. The converged solution will provide desktop call control using Microsoft Office Communicator for telephony infrastructures built on Nortel Communication Server 1000. Nortel's open SIP application interface allows companies to further customize the solution.

The new Nortel/Microsoft converged office solution will also provide access to critical applications such as Unified Messaging, Contact Center and Self Service via the Nortel Applications Center.

The companies said the converged office solution would enable end-users to:

  • initiate telephone calls through enterprise phones directly from Communicator 2005.

  • see pop-up notifications for incoming calls and access phone features (accept, transfer or divert calls, or add others to the conversation) via Communicator 2005.

  • forward incoming calls automatically based on location.

  • 'twin' desk phones to the Office Communicator client, enabling calls to desktop phone numbers to ring and be answered using Communicator.

  • conduct multimedia communications sessions with Live Communications Server and Communicator including voice, instant messaging, presence, data sharing, and video.

  • benefit from the business-class reliability, communications continuity and resilience of Nortel Communication Server 1000.

Telecom New Zealand Selects Alcatel NGN

Telecom New Zealand selected Alcatel to build the IP Voice platform for its Next Generation Network (NGN). Telecom will invest US$220 million in new network and system capability. The first residential customers will migrate onto the new network by early 2007 and eventually all of New Zealand's 2.2 million customer lines will be transitioned to the new platform in 2012.

The companies said the investment is a critical milestone in the multi-year, US$1.4 billion transition to a totally new network platform that will deliver triple play (voice, data and video bundle) services.

"In relatively short order we will replace the entire PSTN and be delivering all our services for customers over the IP network. That has the potential to reduce costs for customers and put a lot more control and flexibility in customers' hands, wherever they are - at home, at work or on the move," said Telecom Chief Operating Officer Simon Moutter.

For the IP Voice platform project, Telecom and Alcatel are building:

  • An IP Voice Call Control platform and Trunk Gateways to switch and process IP Voice traffic to and from the current PSTN

  • 'Border Security' to prevent unauthorized access, detect and prevent security threats and provide voice security

  • The capability to deliver an IP Voice Trunking product to connect enterprise VoIP systems to Telecom's network

  • Adaptation of Alcatel's NGN solutions to the New Zealand environment, enabling the equipment to interoperate with other networks and billing and service management systems

Telecom and Alcatel have a next generation technology partnership dating back to 2002. Alcatel was also selected for a US$64 million all IP Multi-Service Core (MSC) project that enables integrated services.

NDS and Frontier Silicon Collaborate on Mobile Content Protection

NDS and Frontier Silicon, a start-up offering semiconductors for mobile digital television (DVB-H & T-DMB) and DAB digital radio products, agreed to collaborate on joint development and marketing of secure content protection and digital rights management (DRM) for mobile digital TV and DAB digital radio.

The agreement will address security concerns that content providers have in releasing premium content into the MDTV (mobile digital television) and DAB radio markets.

NDS and Frontier Silicon will develop a secure end-to-end solution with content securely encoded at the head-end, transmitted and securely received or consumed by users with appropriate digital rights. The companies said tight coupling of NDS' content protection technology, mVideoGuard, to Frontier Silicon's hardware will ensure content providers get one of the most secure mobile TV and radio delivery mechanisms in the industry.

The companies will demonstrate such secure downloads with NDS' mVideoGuard conditional access (CA), DRM and electronic program guide (EPG) solutions over Frontier Silicon's T-DMB, DVB-H and DAB product platforms and IBC from 9th-13th September in Amsterdam.

Meru Partners with Juniper on Secure Wireless VoIP

Meru Networks signed an alliance agreement with Juniper Networks to co-market solutions that enable pervasive, secure wireless VoIP . Meru has joined Juniper's J-Partner Infrastructure Alliance program as a preferred member, and will immediately begin collaborating with Juniper on several fronts, including joint sales engagements and other co-marketing activities.

The companies said the combination of Juniper's IP routing and security with Meru's Air Traffic Control technology that delivers a cellular approach to WLANs would enable best-in-class security including end-to-end network security zones. Network security policies will have common enforcement, regardless of whether users are accessing the network via wireless or wireline. This approach to wireless security is becoming more important with the emergence of new wireless LAN-enabled devices such as WLAN phones, dual-mode handsets and WLAN-enabled PDAs.
  • In June, Meru Networks secured $12 million in Series C funding for its VoIP mobility technology. With its unique Cellular WLAN architecture, Meru's system delivers the over-the-air QoS, scalability, predictable performance and ease of deployment required for large, enterprise-class WLANs. The company said it has achieved significant customer traction, with deployments by U.S. snack-maker McKee Foods, the University of Miami Medical Center in a 1,000+ access point deployment, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Pacific Sunwear and system integrator Azulstar Networks, a division of Ottawa Wireless, to deliver the nation's largest Metro voice and data Wi-Fi service to the city of Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

LANs Need to Evolve toward Cellular Wireless Architecture

Joe Epstein
IEEE 802.11 task groups have worked to improve the speed of wireless
networking and increase the sophistication of the 802.11 base itself.
Unfortunately, 802.11 is still hamstrung by a fundamental problem. Given
the ever-increasing need to have real predictability in networks that will
soon top out at over 600Mbps and rival the capacity of wired networking,
it is clear that 802.11 needs to embrace a cellular wireless networking
architecture and associated technologies.

Motorola Announces Cash Tender Offers for Up to $1.0 Billion

Motorola announced the commencement of cash tender offers for up to $1.0 billion of certain of its outstanding debt. The company announced the commencement of an any and all tender offer (the "Any and All Tender Offer") for all $200 million aggregate principal amount outstanding of its 6.50% Notes due 2008 (the "6.50% Notes") and all $325 million aggregate principal amount outstanding of its 5.80% Notes due 2008 (the "5.80% Notes"). In addition, the company announced the commencement of a partial tender offer (the "Partial Tender Offer") for its outstanding 7.625% Notes due 2010 (the "7.625% Notes") and its 8.00% Notes due 2011 (the "8.00% Notes").

Ericsson Supplies VDLS2 to European Broadband Provider B2

B2 is deploying VDSL2 over Ericsson's IP/Ethernet platform. The company plans to deliver Triple Play services -- Internet, IP Telephony and IPTV. The VDSL2 system is planned to be in operation in October this year.

Study in Finland Finds 41% Willing to Pay for Mobile TV

A study by Finnish broadcast, content and mobile communications companies found that 41% of pilot participants would be willing to purchase mobile TV services and half thought that a fixed monthly fee of EUR 10 was a reasonable price to pay. Over half (58%) said that they believed broadcast mobile TV services would be popular.

Digita, Elisa, MTV, Channel Four Finland (Nelonen), Nokia, TeliaSonera Finland and YLE jointly conducted the pilot in Finland between March and June 2005 with 500 users accessing mobile TV using the Nokia 7710 smartphone and DVB-H technology.

Some key findings of the study:

Content is king

  • In general, mobile TV users spent approximately 20 minutes a day watching mobile TV, although more active users watched between 30 to 40 minutes per session. Participants also watched mobile TV at different times than traditional TV peak hours.

  • Users preferred a fixed pricing model although many were also interested in a pay per view mode

  • "The message for the industry is clear: for mobile TV services to succeed we need relevant and compelling content, easy-to-use technology and reasonable and simple pricing plans. With these elements in place, consumer demand for mobile TV will follow," said Richard Sharp, Vice President, Rich Media, Nokia.

    See also