Tuesday, November 29, 2005

CNN Launches Paid Broadband Video Service

CNN launched a paid, broadband Internet news service offering live and on-demand content without commercials. A free video news service with commercials remains available on the company's website.

CNN Pipeline offers up to four simultaneous news streams. Ad ownloadable player uses Windows Media 9 encoding and requires approximately 750 kbps of bandwidth. A Web-based player needs about 450 kbps.

The service costs $0.99 per day, $2.95 per month or $24.95 per year.

Norwegian Broadcasting Offers Interactive Mobile TV App

Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation launched a trial, interactive mobile TV service that allows users to vote, chat and communicate with a television presenter while watching their favorite show. Ericsson and NRK launched a downloadable client for the existing interactive TV format, Svisj.

Korean Broadcasters Launch Terrestrial DMB

Major Korean broadcasters, including KBS, MBC, SBS and YTN, launched free terrestrial digital media broadcasting (DMB) to specially-equipped mobile phones. The mobile TV offerings, which are initially is available in the Seoul area, are generating a luke warm response from service providers, according to the Korea Herald, because of an uncertain business model for the network operators. A growing number of DMB-enabled mobile handsets could change the outlook by next year.
  • In May 2005, SK Telecom launched a satellite DMB service that delivers high-quality video broadcasts to a mobile phone or car-based video entertainment system. SK Telecom is initially delivering 11 video channels, 25 audio channels, and 3 data channels. Consumers in South Korea are able to receive the broadcasts either on mobile phones or in-car displays. The video uses MPEG-4 H.264 system and the music channels are furnished through a MPEG-2 AAC+ system. In areas where the satellite view may be obstructed, such as alongside tall buildings, SK Telecom will boost its service using a signal "gap filler" from its mobile base stations and existing towers. The Ku-Band (13.824~13.883GHz) is used between the Signal Transmission Center and the satellite (which is positioned at 144 degrees east longitude), and the S-Band (2.630~2.655 GHz, 25MHz) is utilized between satellite and the mobile terminals. The Ku-Band (12.214~12.239GHz) is used between satellite and base stations providing supplemental signals.

NTT DoCoMo Invests in ACCESS CO. for Mobile Browsers

NTT DoCoMo is increasing its equity stake in ACCESS CO., a Tokyo-based developer of software for mobile phones, from 7.12% to 11.66%. DoCoMo and ACCESS have been strengthening their partnership to develop mobile phone browsers and ACCESS's browser is widely used in DoCoMo's 3G FOMA handsets.

NTT DoCoMo Invests in Aplix for Mobile Middleware

NTT DoCoMo has acquired 15,000 newly allocated shares, or 14.98%, of software company Aplix Corporation, a Tokyo-based developer of embedded software, for mobile phones and PCs. DoCoMo and Aplix already enjoy a close working relationship in the development of DoJa/Java platforms, which have enabled an increasing number of Java products to be adapted to 3G FOMA handsets.

Investors Bid $12 Billion for TDC

A group of international investors managed by APAX Partners, The Blackstone Group and Kravis Kohlberg Roberts made a $12 billion cash offer to acquire TDC, the incumbent carrier in Denmark. TDC's Board of Directors has recommended shareholders to accept the offer.

TDC, which was fully privatized in 1998, has 13 million fixed line and mobile customers in Denmark and elsewhere in Europe. TDC is the largest alternative provider of Internet, data and telephone services in Switzerland and operates under the trademark sunrise. In Germany, TDC owns the company Talkline, which is the third largest provider of mobile services in Germany.http://tdc.com/

HP to Acquire Trustgenix for Federated Identity Mgt

HP agreed to acquire Trustgenix, a provider of federated identity management solutions, for an undisclosed sum.

Trustgenix, which is based in Santa Clara, California is HP's original equipment manufacturing partner for HP OpenView Select Federation, which uses industry-standard federation protocols to link multiple accounts with different providers on the Internet so that secure user authentication occurs only once. When a user navigates to different sites belonging to the same federation, Select Federation recognizes the user and is able to provide a secure, personalized experience based on the user's preferences and identity.

HP said the acquired technology extends the federation capabilities of HP OpenView, enabling enterprise customers to help their business partners secure access to information residing on different systems.

The deal builds on HP's recent acquisitions of companies like AppIQ and the recently announced agreement to acquire Peregrine Systems that round out the management capabilities of HP's enterprise portfolio.

HP Unveils OpenCall Media Platform for IMS

HP unveiled a new version of its OpenCall Media Platform to help telecom carriers deliver blended voice, data and multimedia services across wireless, wireline and broadband networks.

The new OpenCall Media Platform Media Resource Function (MRF) provides a foundation for advanced multimedia and interactive services in emerging Internet Protocol Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) networks.

Current and planned capabilities include audio and voice services (interactive voice response, voicemail, conferencing) as well as a wide range of multimedia, collaborative and interactive services such as video mail, video conferencing, participation TV and music sharing.

A key feature of the HP OpenCall Media Platform MRF is that it can support the real-time, simultaneous blending of voice, data and multimedia services on IMS networks. For example, in an IMS network, wireless users can create an audio or video conference, share photos and messages and provide location-specific information -- all in one integrated session that is seamless and easy for the callers.

HP also announced with Movial and Ubiquity Software a new service called Mobile MusicSharing. The service enables mobile users to join in a conference call, listen to their favorite music and talk about it at the same time -- all in a secure session that protects digital copyrights. The integrated solution includes HP OpenCall Media Platform, Movial's Connect application for IMS and Ubiquity Software's SIP Application Server.

SunCom Selects Ericsson for IMS, UMA, Softswitch

SunCom Wireless, a mobile carrier serving the southeastern U.S., has selected Ericsson's Mobile Softswitch solution for its next generation core network. Additionally, the two companies will conduct IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) and Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) trials to prepare the operator's network for next generation capabilities.

SunCom has begun to deploy Ericsson's Mobile Softswitch solution to carry voice and data traffic in 3GPP Release 4- compliant network architecture. After just two months of installation, the softswitch started full commercial operation in September; full deployment is scheduled for completion in 2006. Ericsson is also providing network design services, training and on-site support.

China Telecom Selects Cisco CRS-1 Carrier Routing System

China Telecom will adopt the Cisco CRS-1 Carrier Routing System to integrate the supercore network nodes of ChinaNet, the largest IP service network in China. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Traffic processed by the Cisco CRS-1 will then transit the previous multi-router structure of ChinaNet's core network nodes in eight cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Xi'an, Chengdu, Wuhan and Nanjin. After integration, ChinaNet will significantly enhance the network capacity and improve management efficiency, enabling China Telecom to strengthen broadband business as well as laying foundation for the development of next-generation Internet applications.

ChinaNet currently has more than 21 million broadband subscribers, with a total capacity of 4,000 gigabits per second (Gbps), accounting for more than half of China's bandwidth for Internet services. In order to satisfy the needs of the rapidly escalating number of broadband subscribers and advanced multimedia applications, ChinaNet has required a continuous upgrade of its backbone bandwidth. The latest enhancement will anticipate this future demand with higher network availability and scalability.

Cisco Systems China Vice President Hanh Tu said, "Adhering to its goal of becoming a modern integrated information service provider, China Telecom has taken remarkable initiatives to deliver innovative new services."

Cisco noted that more than 22 customers around the globe have adopted over 100 units of the Cisco CRS-1 Carrier Routing System since the platform was introduced a year ago.

Juniper Routers Selected for China Next Generation Internet (CNGI)

Juniper Networks' M- and T-series routing platforms have been selected for the core of the China Next Generation Internet (CNGI) project. The CNGI project was launched in 2003 by China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), and its charter is to create a next-generation national IPv6 backbone covering 20 cities and 39 massive network points of presence (GigaPOPs) to provide pervasive advanced IP services. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"As one of the world's most ambitious IPv6 projects, all of China's major service providers and communications networks are participating in the CNGI project," said Eric Yu, Juniper Networks' vice president, Greater China.

Alcatel Claims #2 Position in IP Edge Aggregation Routing

Alcatel has overtaken to Juniper to claim the #2 position in market share for IP edge aggregation routing in Q3, according to a new report from Synergy Research Group that was released by the company. According to Synergy, Alcatel secured 23.6% of the IP edge aggregation routing market in Q3 2005, compared to Cisco at 45.9% and Juniper at 19.7%. In Q2, Synergy Research Group found that Cisco held 60.4% and Juniper 20.7% of this same IP edge aggregation market worldwide.

Alcatel noted that more than 90 wireline and wireless service providers in 40 countries have selected its portfolio of edge routers. Recently, Alcatel announced deployments with such progressive service providers as the UK's BT, for its new Ethernet VLAN service for enterprises in London; ntl, the UK's largest cable company, to extend the reach of its business Ethernet services across the UK to more than 260 points of presence; KPN, in the Netherlands, for triple play service delivery nation-wide; Finland's Elisa for the convergence of fixed and mobile services; Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom for support of national triple play service delivery; and Turk Telecom, who selected Alcatel as the integrator for a turnkey multi- service IP/MPLS backbone network.

Also in Q3, Alcatel announced availability of the latest feature releases for its IP portfolio, with unique high availability features including non- stop IP/MPLS service delivery, as well as a new addition to the portfolio -- the Alcatel 7250 Service Access Switch.

RIM's BlackBerry Service Faces Possible Shut-Down in Patent Dispute

In a long-running patent dispute, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled that a settlement agreement between Research In Motion Limited (RIM) and NTP was not an enforceable agreement. The ruling raises the possibility that RIM's popular Blackberry mobile e-mail service could be shut down in the U.S.

RIM said it will file a request that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear its appeal in the patent case. While further review by the Supreme Court is generally uncommon, RIM continues to believe this case raises significant national and international issues warranting further appellate review.

As a contingency, RIM also said it is preparing software workaround designs which it intends to implement if necessary to maintain the operation of BlackBerry services in the United States. Further details will be made available if such implementation becomes necessary.

Separately, Telefónica Móviles and Research In Motion announced plans to launch BlackBerry in 13 Latin American countries beginning in early 2006. Telefónica Móviles operates GSM/GPRS/EDGE networks in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Mexico and Uruguay and CDMA 1XRTT and CDMA EV-DO networks in Brazil and Venezuela.

Verizon Begins FiOS Deployment in Washington State

Verizon announced plans to rollout FTTP to its local telephone customers in Washington state, including the cities of Bellevue, Bothell, Everett, Kenmore, Kirkland, Redmond, and adjacent areas in the two counties. Washington becomes the 16th state in which Verizon will deploy its all-fiber network. Verizon expects to install more than 2.7 million feet of fiber-optic cabling throughout the region in 2006, passing about 60,000 homes and small businesses with fiber.

TiVo Builds DVR Application for Intel Viiv

TiVo confirmed that it is building an application that will enable it to work with Intel Viiv technology. The new application will further extend TiVo's "TiVoToGo" features, allowing existing TiVo subscribers to securely transfer their favorite television programs from their TiVo Series2 DVR to an Intel Viiv technology based PC using only the remote control. The application will also allow any content downloaded from a TiVo DVR to an Intel Viiv technology enabled device to be securely played back on certain compliant media adapters, which will be supported in a future planned release of the application. This application will be available in the first half of next year.

Intel Announces Content Partners for "Viiv" Digital Home Systems

Intel is aiming to accelerate the trend towards on-demand, Internet-based entertainment by working closely with video content distributors, the music industry and gaming companies on a worldwide basis. Specifically, Intel is working with more than 40 content providers for its forthcoming "Viiv" PC platform for digital home entertainment.

Intel plans to verify that these content services and applications run on the new Viiv platform, which will encompass consumer devices and networked media devices, portable media players, digital media adapters, digital TVs, DVD players and routers. Intel is providing the engineering support, specifications and verification tools to content owners, content distributors, portals, software application developers and device vendors to help deliver these Internet--based content services and software applications that are tested and verified to work with an Intel Viiv technology-based PC. The verified content services and applications will be capable of being accessed in full screen format with simple access using a remote control.

Intel's Viiv strategy includes:

  • Movies, Video, TV: Enable consumers to rent and download hundreds to thousands of major motion picture and independent movies via subscription-based, pay-per-view or free video-on-demand services. Intel is working with such companies as Afendis AG, arvato mobile, Bellrock Media Japan Inc., British Sky Broadcasting, Broadband Tower, Inc., Canal + Group, Glowria, Gretech Corp., LoveFilm.com, MEDION AG, Movielink, NEC, Sohu.com, Telecom Italia, Tiantian Online Inc., TiscaliS.p.A., TiVo, T-Online International, Usen Corp., webs-tv Digital International Co.

  • Music: Enable consumers to purchase the latest hits or subscribe to services to download and enjoy thousands of music tracks in your home or on a portable media device. Intel is working with companies worldwide, including Afendis AG, arvato mobile, Avex Network Inc., Gretech Corp., Loudeye, MEDION AG, Napster, Oricon Inc., SK Telecom, Skysoft Co. Ltd., Telecom Italia, Tiantian Online Inc., and VirginMega.

  • Games: Enable consumers to play a purchased premier title game, including several number one titles in a variety of local markets, online with other players or play a Web-based game alone. Intel is working with such companies as arvato mobile, CAPCOM, CCR Inc., DISCover's My Games, Exent Technologies, Metaboli, NHN, Ourgame, Square Enix Co., Telecom Italia, The 9 Limited, TWP Corp., and Ubisoft.

  • Photos: Enable consumers to use photo editing software to organize, edit and share personal photos in a slideshow format on the TV screen in the living room. Intel is working with such companies as Adobe, arvato mobile, CyberLink Corp., muvee Technologies, Pinnacle, Ulead Systems, and Sonic Solutions to bring these types of applications and services to Intel Viiv technology-based PCs.

"The immediacy, global reach and on-demand nature of the Internet, together with the 10s of millions of broadband-ready PCs that already exist today worldwide, support a new trend in how people get their entertainment," said Kevin Corbett, vice president and general manager, Content Services Group, Intel Digital Home Group.

In the second half of 2006, personal and premium content services, applications and devices will also work with software from Intel that enables content to be shared across a home network to Intel Viiv technology verified devices.
  • In August 2005, Intel announced its "Viiv" (rhymes with "five") consumer brand for future digital home entertainment systems. PCs based on Intel Viiv technology will be powered by a suite of Intel technologies, including a dual-core processor, chipset, platform software and wired networking capabilities. Some of the specific characteristics of Intel Viiv PCs will also include:

    * a remote control, the Microsoft Windows Media Center Edition operating system and media software that lets consumers interact with their PC in the same way they operate a TV.

    * Intel Quick Resume Technology that enables the PC to be quickly turned on and off (after initial boot-up) with the touch of a button.

    * 5.1 surround sound (with optional support for up to 7.1 surround sound) for home theater-quality sound.

    * DVR capabilities when equipped with an optional TV tuner card

    * ability to access on-demand content

    * a network configuration wizard that can be navigated with the system's remote control will be included to make it easy for consumers to connect many devices including portable media players, DVD players, TV sets and stereos.

    * an integrated media server "engine" that can reformat various digital content files so they can be viewed on a selection of devices verified by Intel to work with Intel Viiv technology-based systems.

  • Additionally, Intel worked with the PC, CE and content industries to set interoperability specifications so that consumers can easily move a variety of online media from room to room and between various devices in the home network.

  • Intel Viiv technology-based entertainment PCs are expected to be available from a number of system manufacturers worldwide in the first quarter of 2006 and will come in various shapes and sizes to fit different styles and sizes of homes.

  • Intel is also developing platforms to power consumer electronics devices such as plasma TVs and personal media players. Specifically, Intel plans to introduce "Oplus" MN301, a "system-on-a-chip" multimedia display processor for flat panel displays. Production-ready reference designs for dual-channel HDTV are now available. The Oplus MN301 display processor and the Oplus Image Perfecting Engine were developed by Oplus Technologies, Ltd., the Israeli subsidiary of Oplus Technologies, Inc., and a company Intel acquired in April 2005.

Nokia Tests Fixed-Mobile Convergence in Philippines

The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) and Nokia have set up a Next Generation Network Laboratory to develop and test end-to-end Fixed- Mobile Convergence services prior to their commercial launch. The Next Generation Network Laboratory can leverage PLDT's current fixed and mobile networks to create converged services for PLDT Group customers. Nokia has been the main GSM network supplier to PLDT's Smart Communications division since 1998.

Nokia's solution includes a Unified Core and converged access networks as well as Nokia multimedia and VoIP enabled terminals. The Nokia Unified Core includes the Nokia IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), the Nokia VoIP Server, the Nokia MSC Server System (MSS), Nokia Media Gateway (MGW), Nokia Intelligent Service Node (ISN), Nokia Intelligent Content Delivery (ICD) for multi-access control and data services charging and Nokia D500 IP DSLAM.

As an example of the new services development, PLDT and Nokia organized a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) contest for Filipino application developers called the "SIP Challenge". Forum Nokia provides the developers training and assistance, and they can test their IP-based applications at the Next Generation Network Laboratory.

Farmers Telephone Extreme's Ethernet to Link Central Offices

Farmers Telephone Cooperative (FTC), which serves over 60,000 customers in rural South Carolina, selected Extreme Networks' Metro Ethernet network infrastructure for linking 17 FTC central offices. FTC chose Extreme Networks BlackDiamond modular switching platform. The new network has to be capable of supporting emerging IPTV services using wire speed Layer 2 Ethernet with non-stop forwarding, traffic prioritization and device redundancy. The new equipment will aggregate thousands of ADSL connections to the customer premises.