Monday, January 2, 2006

Softier Offers H.264 IPTV STB Based on TI's DSP

Softier Inc. announced the availability of Wave-300, an H.264 IP set-top box for IPTV.

Softier's Wave-300 supports next generation video formats including H.264, MPEG-4, and Windows Media Video 9 (VC-1) as well as MPEG-2 for backward compatibility. The Wave-300 is powered by Texas Instruments' DSP-based DM64x generation of digital media processors, and runs on a Linux operating system.

The Wave 300 lets operators easily expand services after initial deployment by using the set-top-box's remote boot capabilities to add software components and applications. The Wave-300 IP STB can also be remotely upgraded without causing any interruption to ongoing services.

Key features include:

  • H.264 MP@L3 D1 resolution up to 2 Mbps

  • MPEG-2 MP@L3 D1 resolution up to 10 Mbps

  • Windows Media 9 MP@ML up to 8 Mbps

  • AAC (MP4), MP1 layer 1&2, WMA audio and AC3

  • IGMP support for multicast services, RTSP for interactive video on demand services

  • Softier's JSTB (Java Script for IP STB) and embedded browser for easy integration with leading middleware packages

  • USB 2.0 for external storage attachment

  • Remote Boot and Upgrade capability

  • Embedded Web-based user configuration and SNMP-based device management

Verizon to Offer Branded Home Networking Gear from Belkin

Verizon will begin offering company-branded wireless routers, desktop and notebook cards, and USB adapters at many of the nationwide retail outlets that already sell Verizon Online DSL service.

Verizon will be reselling Belkin's networking products under its own label.

Verizon said the introduction of the home networking gear is the first step in a licensing strategy to expand the Verizon brand into new markets and reach new sets of consumers.

The agreement between Verizon and Belkin was facilitated by Brandgenuity LLC, a New York-based licensing agency.

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Lenovo Plans to Embed Cingular WWAN in ThinkPads

Lenovo will begin embedding wide area network capabilities into its ThinkPad enabling built-in access to the Cingular BroadbandConnect service without needing a separate PC card. Through this agreement, ThinkPad notebooks will be preconfigured for BroadbandConnect, which delivers average mobile downlink speeds between 400- 700 Kbps.

Walt Disney Expands iTunes Video Listings

The Walt Disney Company will offer additional programming from ESPN and ABC Sports, ABC Entertainment and Touchstone Television, ABC Family, ABC News, Buena Vista Television, Disney Channel, and SOAPnet, as well as content produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation on the iTunes Music Store.

Each episode is priced at $1.99.

Additionally, free, ad-supported video podcasts from ABC News will be available, including daily segments from "Good Morning America" and the "World News Tonight" webcast, as well as ABC News Now's "Money Minute," "Medical Minute" and "Buzz Cut."

Freescale Launches 'Cable-Free USB' Initiative with UWB

Freescale Semiconductor launched a Cable-Free USB initiative, powered by its Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology and aimed at enabling USB 2.0 functionality with a wireless connection. Cable-Free USB leverages the existing USB 2.0 specification. It does not require consumers to upgrade or replace their hardware, install software or new drivers. Additionally, Cable-Free USB can be embedded into next-generation products, eliminating the need for an external adapter while still retaining true USB functionality.

Belkin and Gefen are using Freescale's Cable-Free technology in their consumer products.

DIRECTV 2Go Targets Portable Media Players

DIRECTV 2GO introduced a new DIRECTV 2Go service that will allow DIRECTV customers to transfer programming content from their DIRECTV Plus DVR to a variety of portable media players. Supporting DIRECTV specific audio and video formats, the service will enable customers to connect a DIRECTV compatible portable media player directly to DIRECTV receivers. DIRECTV 2Go devices will also display DIRECTV content in a separate menu area with a DIRECTV-branded user interface.

DIRECTV plans to launch the DIRECTV 2Go service in 2006.

Skype Adds Gear from Creative, D-Link, IPEVO, Kodak, Netgear, Panasonic, and VTech

At CES, Skype announced seven deals with consumer electronics companies, including:

  • Creative Skype Internet PhonePLUS - a standalone phone that enables anyone to make free Skype calls over the Internet without a PC connection

  • D-Link Skype USB Phone Adapter (DPH-50U) - a Skype phone adapter that enables the use of Skype on a traditional phone

  • IPEVO Fly-1 Cordless Handset and Xing Speakerphone - PC and Mac compatible IPEVO Fly-1 cordless Skype USB handset and an IPEVO Xing Skype USB speakerphone

  • KODAK Photo Voice - a beta version of the first Skype certified online photo sharing service, available as a free download at

  • NETGEAR - a new communications device to be unveiled at CES on Wednesday

  • Panasonic - a cordless telephone product that interfaces directly with Skype, allowing users to make and receive Skype calls and traditional calls using the same device

  • VTech USB7100 Phone - availability of the previously announced VTech USB phone, expandable with up to four handsets and allows users to view their online contacts

Starz Launches Subscription Movie Download Service

Starz Entertainment Group LLC (SEG) introduced VONGO -- a new video download application and service for broadband that delivers movies and other video content over the Internet for playback on Windows-based PCs, laptops, and select portable media devices, as well as on a TV.

Vongo subscribers will have unlimited access to more than 1,000 movies and video selections, as well as a live, streaming Starz TV channel, for a monthly cost of $9.99. Members may download movie and video selections to three eligible devices of their choice per account, allowing for multiple viewing options and family enjoyment. Additionally, select popular pay-per-view titles are available for $3.99 per movie.

Starz is using Windows Media technologies to power the Vongo service.

In addition, Starz has partnered with Sony, which will make Vongo a cornerstone of its new CONNECT Video service, to be launched later this year. http://www.vongo.com

Cornice Offers 8GB and 10 GB Micro HDD for Mobile Devices

Cornice introduced two micro hard drives, available in 8- and 10-gigabytes, designed for consumer electronics (CE) devices, such as audio/video players, mobile phones and personal storage devices.

The company said its Dragon series drives are 40% smaller than its predecessor Storage Elements, as well as current competitive drives. Cornice also decreased the power of Dragon by half, and now represents only 5% of the total battery consumption within a typical MP3 player system.

Cornice expects to have the microdrives available in volume quantities in Q1. List price is $85 per unit in quantities of 10,000 per year.

Samsung is using Cornice's 3.0-gigabyte Storage Element (SE) in the production of its SGH-i300 embedded music smartphone. The phone was announced during CeBIT 2005 and is available on retail shelves for European customers as of November 2005. The phone is capable of storing up to 1,000 music files, plus personal data, using a USB 2.0 port.

AT&T Launches its New Branding Campaign

The new AT&T launched a multifaceted, yearlong campaign to strengthen its fabled brand. The campaign includes advertising, presence in marketing promotional initiatives, and sponsorships, which include AT&T's recently announced Official Telecommunication Services partnership with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams.

At the heart of the brand campaign is a new tag line to complement the revitalized AT&T logo: "Your World. Delivered."

In addition to the new tag line, the ads also feature the hit song "All Around the World" by the popular British band Oasis.

1394 Trade Association and Pulse~LINK Demo Bi-Directional HDTV Streaming over Coax

Pulse~LINK and the 1394 Trade Association will demonstrate the first bi-directional video streaming of 1394 S400 over coax featuring 400Mbps of application layer throughput at this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The demonstration, which will be held in the High-Definition Audio-Video Network Alliance (HANA) booth, will showcase how Pulse~LINK's CWave-On-Coax and the 1394TA's S400 interface provide a whole-home distribution capability that can run over pre-existing in-home coax cable and co-exist with legacy cable and satellite programming.

The demonstration will consist of two 1394- enabled CWave UWB transceivers, one in the Trade Association's booth and another in the Pulse~LINK booth, with splitters and several hundred feet of coax cable between them. 1394 HDTV audio and video will be streamed bi- directionally between the two booths in the HANA suite, showing how coax cable in the home works as a broadband backbone with 400Mbps application layer throughput for seamlessly transporting multiple simultaneous streams of digital content to 1394-equipped devices throughout the home.

AMC-23 Satellite to Offer TransPacific Broadband Capability

The AMERICOM-23 (AMC-23) satellite of SES AMERICOM was succesfully launched on 28-Dec-2005 aboard an International Launch Services Proton/Breeze M launch vehicle from the Baikonur Cosmodrome (Kazakhstan).

An advanced, high-powered hybrid C/Ku-band satellite, AMC-23 can deliver and receive signals from California to Bangladesh, from as far north as Alaska in the U.S. and as far south as Australia and New Zealand, and all points in between. The spacecraft will serve local, transcontinental and transoceanic customers across the Pacific region.

The design of AMC-23 combines a conventional C-band landmass coverage payload with Ku-band oceanic coverage payload. The satellite's Ku-band payload, comprised of 20 high-powered transponders with varied bandwidths from 27 to 36 MHz, has been tailored to the long-haul airline routes over the Pacific Ocean to ensure consistent and constant broadband connectivity requirements for Connexion by Boeing.

The 18 transponder C-band payload will be used by broadcasters, cable programmers, Internet service providers, government agencies, educational institutions, carriers and private networks for next generation distribution solutions within, and connectivity to, North America and Pacific Rim.

Alereon and Samyoung Develop UWB Modules for Mobile Devices

Alereon and Samyoung Electronics announced a partnership to develop ultra-compact modules based on Alereon's AL4000 series of ultrawideband solutions for WiMedia and Certified Wireless USB applications. The first in a series of modules developed by Samyoung is a Low Temperature Co-fired Ceramic (LTCC) module design based on the WiMedia PHY 1.0 specification, supporting all data rates up to 480 Mbps.  Using Alereon's AL4100 RF Transceiver and AL4200 BaseBand Processor (BBP), this highly integrated 15mm x 20mm x 2.5mm module includes all components necessary to enable any WiMedia or Certified Wireless USB compatible Media Access Controller (MAC).

Typical applications for this module include cell phones, mp3 players, personal video players and wireless USB hubs.


Baumgartl Selected as CEO of Siemens Communications

Siemens Communications named Berndt Baumgartl as its new President and CEO, replacing Andy Mattes who is leaving the company. Baumgartl joined Siemens AG in Munich, Germany in July of 1986, where he held management positions in the Defense Electronics Group until late 1993. He then transitioned into the Mobile Networks business unit of Siemens, helping the company succeed in the challenging Scandinavian market. Most recently, he assumed leadership of all Siemens' wireless infrastructure, mobile phones and wireless modules business for the North American wireless communications market. Since September 2005, he has been Chief Operating Officer for Siemens Communications.

Nortel Achieves HSDPA Rates of 3.6 Mbps

Nortel and Option have completed live HSDPA data card calls at rates of 3.6 Mbps. The test calls were carried out on commercial HSDPA network equipment at Nortel's research campus in Chateaufort, France.

The series of calls are the first data card calls to demonstrate downlink speed of 3.6 Mbps, at HSDPA category 6 using 16 QAM modulation. A laptop fitted with an Option 3.6 HSDPA datacard based on QUALCOMM core MSM 6280 technology and commercial HSDPA network equipment from Nortel were used to achieve the download speeds.

The calls included successful 'real-world' tests with a laptop placed in a moving vehicle to illustrate the suitability of mobile wireless broadband for high quality, live TV, High Definition video on demand, MP3 download as well as new applications for the mobile workforce.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Notel Acquires Tasman Networks for Enterprise Routers

Nortel Networks agreed to acquire Tasman Networks, a supplier of high-performance enterprise routers, for US$99.5 million in cash.

Tasman's IP WAN routers are aimed at small to medium-sized branch office deployments. The routers are capable of running numerous services such as voice, VPN, firewall, and quality of service simultaneously with wire-speed performance. Tasman's products scale from fractional T1 to multiple DS-3 bandwidths. Its Virtual Ethernet technology allows customers to deploy the routers transparently into existing infrastructure. The products provide a scale-on-demand provisioning capability to adjust to changing customer bandwidth needs. Additional ports can be turned on and bonded together remotely.

Nortel said the products would augment its convergence solutions for data and IP multimedia customers.

Tasman Networks was founded in 1997 and is based in San Jose, California.

Alcatel Extends OEM Deal on Tekelec 8000 Media Gateway

Alcatel agreed to a three-year extension of a preferred OEM agreement under which it supplies the Tekelec 8000 Media Gateway as a part of the Alcatel Mobile Next Generation Network (NGN) solution.

As part of this agreement, Alcatel will continue to integrate Tekelec's media gateway in a significant portion of its Mobile NGN solution shipments and may now use Tekelec's media gateway in fixed and mobile environments. In parallel, the two companies will also continue to actively cooperate on the implementation of the open Mc interface between the media gateway and the call server.

The Tekelec 8000 is a converged media gateway that complements Alcatel's standard-based distributed mobile switching solution. The cornerstone of this solution is the Alcatel 5020 Wireless Call Server, a multi-standard and field-proven mobile call server controlling distributed media gateways and managing call/session control for voice and data services.

Alcatel's distributed Mobile NGN has been been deployed or is currently being deployed for tier one service providers like T-Mobile USA, Dobson, TA Orange, Celcom Malaysia, China Mobile and VimpelCom.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Marconi Shareholders Approve Ericsson Deal

Shareholders in Marconi Corporation plc approved the sale to Ericsson of key assets of Marconi's telecommunications business, clearing the way for the merger to be completed in early January.

The deal was first announced on October25, 2005.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

KT Deploys Ericsson's Softswitch

KT deployed Ericsson's Telephony Softswitch solution into its commercial
network. The solution supports KT's traditional, TDM, and IP technologies on a single platform and allows the exchange of international voice and data traffic with other IP-based operators.

Ericsson said it now has more than 55 softswitch solutions
in commercial use in both fixed and mobile networks.

BT Signs Contracts with 21CN Suppliers

BT concluded negotiations and signed contracts with four of the preferred suppliers for its 21st Century Network (21CN) initiative. Contracts were signed with Ciena, Huawei, Lucent and Siemens. BT expects to conclude negotiations with the remaining four preferred suppliers early in 2006.

Paul Reynolds, BT Wholesale chief executive, said: "21CN represents one of the biggest ever investments in the economic infrastructure of the UK by a private company. It will provide the basis of the most powerful competitive and productive communications environment in the world. These are exciting times and we are making good progress. Six million customer calls have been successfully carried in the latest phase of our 21CN trials, and we have more than 2000 people working on the programme. We have been working closely with the entire telecommunications industry to agree the schedule for roll-out across the UK."