Sunday, June 18, 2006

Variety: Apple plants seeds for pic downloads

Variety magazine reported that Apple is in active discussions with most major Hollywood studios to offer movie downloads via its iTunes store. Steve Jobs reportedly proposed a flat rate of $9.99 per film, but the studios balked at the flat rate for all films, preferring instead a range of prices to differentiate new release from older titles.

Centillium Launches Long-Reach VDSL2 Chips for CO and CPE

Centillium Communications introduced new VDSL2 silicon for central office (CO) and customer premises equipment (CPE). Centillium claims its "ARION" end-to-end VDSL2 solution delivers 100 Mbps symmetric data rates and boasts a reach that is over 60% longer than the industry standard.

The ARION chips are designed for multi-channel video, HDTV, video-on-demand, high-speed Internet and interactive gaming applications.

Centillium said its ARION family supports full backwards compatibility with ADSL2/2+/2++ and VDSL1 technologies. Both the ARION CO and CPE chipsets are based on ITU-T/993.2 standard specifications. Addressing worldwide interoperability requirements, Centillium's ARION chipset is interoperable with other standards-compliant VDSL2 solutions.

In multi-mode operation, ARION enables auto-detection and seamless connectivity to legacy modems. The ARION family supports multiple latency paths for voice and video traffic, an innovative technology critical for quality-of-experience. The low latency path can be assigned to delay sensitive voice data, while the interleaved path can be assigned to video data with a high level of impulse noise protection in a flexible and programmable way.

Centillium optimized the ARION family to complement the company's existing PON and VoIP products.

Galaxy 16 Satellite Successfully Launched

Galaxy 16, a high- power fixed satellite service (FSS) spacecraft built for PanAmSat Corporation (NYSE:PA) by Space Systems/Loral (SS/L), was successfully launched today at 12:50 am PDT. The satellite was delivered into a geosynchronous transfer orbit aboard a Sea Launch Zenit-3SL rocket from the Odyssey Launch Platform, positioned on the equator in the Pacific Ocean. Space Systems/Loral is a subsidiary of Loral Space & Communications.

Galaxy 16 carries 24 high-power Ku-band and 24 C-band transponders. From its orbital location at 99 degrees West longitude, Galaxy 16 will provide coverage for data and video services, including HDTV broadcasts and IPTV, across the entire United States, including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, in addition to Canada and Mexico.

The satellite is the fourth spacecraft built for PanAmSat by SS/L. A fifth, Galaxy 18, is currently under construction at SS/L's facility in Palo Alto, Calif., scheduled for delivery in 2007.

  • In October 2005, the third of PanAmSat's next-generation satellites, the Galaxy 15, was successfully launched by an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana.

    Galaxy 15 carries 24 C-band transponders and two L-band transponders that will allow PanAmSat to expand its HDTV and video distribution for its key cable partners.

Verizon Labs Files Patent Suit Against Vonage

Verizon Laboratories filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Vonage relating to VoIP technologies.

In a statement, Vonage said it believes that its services have been developed with its own proprietary technology and technology licensed from third parties and intends to vigorously defend the lawsuit.


SONY BMG Chooses Brightcove for Internet Video

SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT will use Brightcove to deliver broadband video in new video players deployed across its network of artist and label websites, offering consumers on-demand access to music videos, interviews, live performances, and behind the scenes footage from its extensive catalog of videos.

The broadband video initiative, currently named "Musicbox Video," will show content from across the entire SONY BMG library. The "Musicbox Video" players have been customized with specialized video content for individual label and artist sites. The videos will use Flash media and RSS syndication feeds. The players, which are web- based and require no download, will be continuously updated. with newest and hottest videos from SONY BMG artists.

SONY BMG plans to use broadband video to generate advertising revenues. Brightcove will sell and deliver these advertisements.

Leading brands DreamWorks Animation SKG and HP will be among the first advertisers.

SONY BMG's main musicbox player is now available online.


Aruba Scales its WLAN System

Aruba Networks released major enhancements to its enterprise WLAN system, enabling a single Aruba WLAN system to support up to 1000 simultaneous 802.1X authentication transactions per second. Major enhancements include:

  • AAA FastConnect, a new capability supported on all mobility
    controllers delivers user connection rates ten times faster than
    competitive alternatives. This enables consistently fast connect times
    and ensures integration with existing back-end AAA services with increased resilience of WLAN connections.

  • VLAN Pooling for flexible, non-disruptive design and provisioning of campus WLANs

  • Self-configuring mobility controllers for zero-touch branch WLAN provisioning

  • Scalable, centralized management for thousands of distributed branch WLANs

Time Warner Cable Selects Alcatel Microwave in Texas

Time Warner Cable's Southwest Division is using Alcatel's microwave radios to extend their service by providing an alternate transport route to complement existing fiber deployments in southwest Texas. Alcatel's microwave platform and turnkey deployment will enable the cable operator to turn up enhanced voice and data services, in addition to video, in markets that are currently underserved.

Microsoft Releases Windows Live Messenger

Microsoft officially released Windows Live Messenger, its latest instant messaging client offering free PC-to-PC calls, inexpensive calls from a PC to phones around the world, video calling, and Sharing Folders.

Microsoft currently claims 240 million users of its instant messaging service.

"Windows Live is all about giving consumers the tools and services they need to be in control as they stay connected to the people they care about, on top of the information that is important to them, and better protected across all their online activities," said Martin Taylor, corporate vice president of Windows Live and MSN at Microsoft.

Axerra Appoint Shlomo Dovrat as Chairman

Axerra Networks appointed Shlomo Dovrat as Chairman of its Board of Directors.

Dovrat is General Partner and Founder of Carmel Ventures. He is also currently the Chairman of ECI Telecom Ltd.

Motorola Introduces MeshPlanner Software

Motorola introduced "MeshPlanner" software for designing outdoor wireless mesh networks. The software, a component of Motorola's MOTOwi4 portfolio of wireless broadband solutions and services, helps to reduce labor and planning costs and enables quicker implementation of a high performance mesh network.

A key factor in mesh network design is the impact the environment has on network performance. MeshPlanner addresses this issue by creating and utilizing an RF-intelligent map, which combines a basic map of the area, a list of possible mounting points for hardware, terrain data, and clutter information such as the location of buildings and foliage. During the network planning stage, MeshPlanner predicts the effect that the terrain, buildings and foliage have on radio signal propagation and the resulting network performance.

Other critical factors to a successful design include signal coverage and overall network capacity. After placing equipment in MeshPlanner's RF-intelligent map and designating which access points (APs) will have a direct backhaul connection, the designer can run simulations to analyze and visualize signal coverage and capacity.

Chelsio Raises $12 Million for 10 GbE Adapters

Chelsio Communications, a start-up offering 10-Gigabit Ethernet server adapters and protocol acceleration technology, announced the first close of a private venture funding round, raising a total of $12 million and adding LSI Logic as a new investor.

The company said the new funding provides sufficient capital to reach profitability and will be used to grow the business and ramp production of Chelsio's next generation product line that addresses the growing demand for 10GbE protocol offload.

Nitronex Closes $21.8 Million for RF Power Transistors

Nitronex, a developer and manufacturer of high performance RF power transistors for broadband wireless equipment, announced the closing of $21.8 million in venture funding led by Silicon Valley-based Alloy Ventures. Other new investors in this round included Intersouth Partners, ARCH Venture Partners, and Diamondhead Ventures. Returning investors included VantagePoint Venture Partners and Contender Capital.

The round is one of the largest raised in 2006 by a company in the Research Triangle region.

Nitronex, founded in 1999 and based in RTP, North Carolina, recently introduced a family of RF power transistors, based on its SIGANTIC (GaN on silicon) technology, for the WiMAX market.

Sky Brazil Selects Philips, NextVision for Hybrid Satellite + IPTV

Sky Brazil selected Royal Philips Electronics' Nexperia STB810 set-top box (STB) semiconductor solution, in combination with software from NextVision, to power a dual digital broadcast/IPTV services.

Sky Brazil is the number one provider of satellite television in Brazil with more than 970,000 subscribers.

NextVision's Regina software platform is written in the .NET framework for greater flexibility and customization/branding by service providers. Other features of the NextVision Regina platform include: both a TV and a PC interface; a Web browser interface for establishing customer accounts and user authentication; subscriber-level transaction capturing; support for streaming or downloadable video-on-demand; IP based content protection with encryption to eliminate the need for Conditional Access systems; and full DVR functionality.

ARRIS Offers 8- and 12-Line Telephony Cable Modems

ARRIS made two new additions to its Touchstone family of CPE products: the 8 line Touchstone TM508A and the 12 line Touchstone TM512A. These two new Embedded Multimedia Terminal Adapter (E-MTA) products allow cable operators to address the small business and Multiple Dwelling Unit market segments with an integrated voice and high-speed data service offering.

In addition to 8 or 12 primary-line, toll-quality voice lines, these Multiline E-MTAs include a 100BaseT Ethernet interface, all powered by a DOCSIS 2.0 modem and highly scalable DSP architecture.

The Multiline Touchstone E-MTAs support PacketCable call signaling with support for SIP in future releases.

Additional features include programmable "Boost" loop current, provisionable ringing wave forms, loop voltage policy settings and auto-adjusting Caller ID signal levels. Power back-up capability provides 16 hours of service following a commercial power failure.http:/

Vongo Named Lead Content Provider for Toshiba Portable Media Devices

Vongo, the Internet-based VOD service backed by Starz Entertainment Group, will serve as a leading content provider for Toshiba's new line of gigabeat Portable Media Center (PMC) products, which will be available in capacities of 30GB* and 60GB. Based on the Microsoft Portable Media Center v2.0 software, the new line of gigabeat products are the first portable media devices certified for the Vongo service.

Vongo subscribers have access to more than 1,600 movie and video selections as well as a live, streaming Starz TV channel for a monthly cost of $9.99. Additionally, select popular pay-per-view titles are available for $3.99 a movie.


Nokia Siemens Networks Targets Fixed-Mobile Convergence

Nokia and Siemens confirmed plans to merge their communications service provider businesses into a 50-50 joint venture consisting of Nokia's Networks Business Group and Siemens' carrier-related operations for fixed and mobile networks. The combined company would offer broad scale advantages, a "quadruple play" product portfolio and worldwide presence. The new venture would be especially well positioned for new opportunities in the convergence of fixed and mobile networks.

"The communications industry is converging, and a strong and independent Nokia Siemens Networks will be ideally positioned to help customers lower costs and grow revenue while managing the challenges of converging technology," said Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, CEO of Nokia.

Some highlights of the new Nokia Siemens Networks:

  • The company's portfolio will include Next Generation Network convergence products like IMS, 2G GSM/EDGE access, 3G WCDMA/HSDPA access, extensive mobile core, fixed broadband, transport, IPTV, LTE, WiMAX and low-cost mobile voice products tailored for emerging market operators.

  • Based on current market share data, it will be the second largest company in mobile infrastructure, second in services, third in fixed infrastructure, and the third largest in the overall telecommunications infrastructure market.

  • 2005 calendar year pro forma revenues of EUR 15.8 billion.

  • Estimated cost synergies of EUR 1.5 billion annually by 2010, which are expected to come from the consolidation of sales and marketing organizations, reduction of overhead costs, sourcing benefits, and greater efficiencies in R&D.

  • The company would start operations with 60,000 employees. There would be a headcount adjustment over the next four years in the range of ten to fifteen percent from the initial combined base of approximately 60,000.

  • Simon Beresford-Wylie will become CEO and Peter Schonhofer to become CFO.

  • Nokia Siemens Networks will have its operational headquarters in the Helsinki, Finland metropolitan area, and have strong regional headquarters in Munich, Germany, where three of the future five divisions of the new company will be based.

  • The transaction closing is expected to take place before January 1, 2007 and is subject to customary regulatory approvals, the completion of standard closing conditions, and the agreement of a number of detailed implementation steps.

  • After closing, the financial results of Nokia Siemens Networks will be consolidated by Nokia and accounted for at equity by Siemens.
  • Siemens traces its roots back to the 1840s, when Werner von Siemens built a "pointer telegraph" in Germany. By 1848, the Siemens & Halske Telegraph Construction Company had built the first electrical long-distance telegraph line in Europe, extending from Berlin to Frankfurt/Main

  • Nokia traces its origins to 1912 and the establishment of the Finnish Cable Works, which supplied electrical and telephone cables, amongst other products. Nokia began work on its first radio telephone in 1963.

Reef Point Raises $21 Million for FMC, Names New CEO\

Reef Point Systems, a start-up based in Burlington, Mass., raised $21 million of new financing for its security solutions for fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) networks.

Reef Point offers a massively-scaleable Multiservice Security Gateway for IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) networks extending across multiple next generation networking standards including 3GPP IMS, 3GPP2, ETSI TISPAN, and PacketCable. The design takes a multi-zoned, fully virtualized, defense-in-depth approach to security that includes individualized subscriber protection for up to 150,000 simultaneous registered users and up to a million simultaneous IMS flows, network core and element protection, as well as protection for the gateway itself. In addition, the IMS Security Gateway also supports Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) security functionality, providing operators deploying UMA today with a migration path to IMS without the need to replace installed gateways.

Reef Point's FMC security solution is available through Reef Point and its global channel partner Alcatel as part of Alcatel's UMA and IMS solutions for mobile service providers. Through Alcatel, Reef Point is currently participating in a number of customer trials.

The funding was led by new investor American Capital Technology Group and included existing investor Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP).

Reef Point Systems also announced the appointments of Woody Ritchey as its new CEO and Dennis Chateauneuf as Chief Operating Officer. Most recently, Ritchey's comes from YGOMI, a privately held portfolio management company where he was the senior executive responsible for three YGOMI portfolio companies, including Arraycomm, a wireless software company. Prior to this, he served as CEO at revenue assurance solutions provider Connexn Technologies and at intellectual asset management solutions provider Delphion. Earlier, Ritchey was President and General Manager of INVISIX, a Cisco-Motorola joint venture that delivered IP transport to wireless carriers.

Most recently, Chateauneuf was CEO of Sentito Networks, a provider of carrier-class VoIP switching and open service delivery platforms. Previously, he served as CEO of switching equipment start-up DTI Networks and later CopperCom.

Nokia Signs Regional Content Aggregation Deals

Nokia announced a series of new agreements with leading regional mobile content aggregators for distribution of localized content and applications to mobile subscribers worldwide through its on-device Nokia Content Discoverer portal, embedded in millions of Nokia devices based on S60 and Series 40 currently available in markets around the globe.

Nokia Content Discoverer for mobile operators facilitates access to downloadable content by mobile subscribers through a collection of shopping mall "stores" run by their mobile service provider, leading content aggregators and branded content providers.

The initial agreements with regional content aggregators announced join Nokia's existing agreements with aggregators that include Handango, Jamster and Nokia Software Market.

The new content aggregation agreements are with Taiwan-based PocketNet Technology and Auer Media & Entertainment, Indonesia-based PT Hypermind and Elasitas, Australia-based Mobilemode, Toulouse, France-based Index Multimedia, Future Communications Company in Kuwait, and Dubai-based Itsalat International. Additional content aggregation agreements for the Asia-Pacific (APAC), Middle East and Africa (MEA), European, and North American markets are expected to follow throughout 2006.

ViewNow Licenses Buena Vista TV Titles for VOD

ViewNow. a subsidiary of Kasenna, signed a deal with Buena Vista Television enabling it to distribute Disney movies for VOD services to both the telco and cable markets. The agreement provides for a 72-hour VOD rental period, compared to the standard 24-hour period of most VOD services. ViewNow said its deal represents the first time a major studio has allowed a 72-Hour VOD Rental.

In addition, ViewNow has secured both the IP and HFC rights to Disney content including titles from Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Miramax Films, and Pixar Animation Studios.

This licensing deal will include such popular VOD Titles as Pirates of Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest and the animation film Cars which will be coming to ViewNow Affiliates. Some of the first films available to ViewNow Affiliates will be The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Eight Below, and Chicken Little. Buena Vista Pay Television's content gives ViewNow the most in-depth and comprehensive line up of Studio VOD programming.

As a result of the deal, ViewNow now licenses, encodes, and distributes content from Warner Bros, New Line Cinema, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, NBC/Universal, Dreamworks, and many other Independent studios in MPEG 2, MPEG 4 (H.264), and VC1 encoded formats.