Sunday, April 15, 2007

PMC-Sierra Introduces First 6 Gbps SAS/SATA Architecture

PMC-Sierra introduced the industry's first SAS 2.0 compliant device for enabling enterprise-class SAS/SATA disk-array systems. SAS 2.0 enhances the SAS protocol to achieve greater levels of performance, scalability, availability and reliability. It also significantly improves the connector and cabling within the data center.

PMC-Sierra's new 6 Gbps SAS/SATA controller (PM8000 Tachyon SPC 8x6G) leverages the company's Tachyon protocol controller technology, preserving storage OEMs' software and hardware investments. The Tachyon SPC 8x6G, together with PMC-Sierra's maxSAS expander switches and active-active multiplexers, provides an end-to-end enterprise-class chip set solution.

Key features of the Tachyon SPC includes:

  • Compatibility with industry-proven and established Tachyon programming model;

  • Support for 1,024 end devices for high density storage arrays;

  • 1.5Gbps SATA and 3Gbps SAS/SATA backwards compatibility;

  • Eight-lane PCI-Express 2.0 bus;

  • Greater than 250,000 input/output per second (IOPS) performance;

  • SAS 2.0 compliant multiplexing to boost performance when used in 3G infrastructures;

  • Full-featured fault isolation framework application in Host software; and

  • Support for the T-10 Standard DIF (Data Integrity Field) to ensure complete integrity in the I/O data path.
  • In 2005, PMC-Sierra acquired Agilent's Semiconductor Products Group, a long-time technology leader in Fibre Channel protocol controllers with its Tachyon product lines.

Samsung Demonstrates A-VSB Mobile DTV for North America

Samsung Electronics is demonstrating its A-VSB Mobile DTV technology for enabling mobile TV digital broadcasting in North America at very low cost, using broadcasters' existing facilities and frequency spectrum. Samsung said recent advances in the technology have yielded twice the efficiency (using half the broadcasting bandwidth) compared to Samsung's previous demonstration in January.

Advanced-VSB (A-VSB) is a proposed open standard builds on the current ATSC transmission standard to enhance the ability of receivers to display television broadcasts while in motion, both indoors and outdoors.

Samsung said the technology allows broadcasters to include multiple "turbo-coded" streams within the current main stream, resulting in stronger, clearer signal transmission. In addition, A-VSB eases the synchronization of broadcast signal timing among different towers in a Single Frequency Network (SFN). SFNs can improve the quality of broadcast service by providing uniform signal strength throughout a service area, so that receivers can receive a stronger signal from a nearby transmitter and take advantage of the spatial separation of multiple transmitters to mitigate obstacles such as hills and buildings.

A-VSB technology with no impact on legacy (non-A-VSB) digital TV receivers, which will ignore the added information in the signal while continuing to receive the main TV stream (e.g., High-Definition TV programming).

Together, Samsung Electronics and Rohde & Schwarz have developed A-VSB as a dramatic enhancement to the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) digital TV transmission standard.

Samsung said intends to make A-VSB evaluation kits (including prototype transmission and reception equipment) available on a limited basis to broadcasters and other partner companies in the third quarter of 2007.

For the duration of NAB, live A-VSB transmissions will be sent from local Sinclair Broadcast Group TV station KVMY Las Vegas to mobile receivers operating on a chartered bus in the Convention Center area, using the station's current transmitter and frequency. The same programming will also be re-transmitted at a second frequency on a separate low-power SFN. The SFN is being set up with the support of ION Media Networks (which previously has conducted limited testing of A-VSB in Tampa, Florida) and will be operated under an experimental license to ION from the Federal Communications Commission. The SFN will have three transmitter sites, two located on structures north and south of the Convention Center along the Las Vegas Strip and one inside the Convention Center at the ATSC Digital TV Hot Spot. The SFN demonstration will show how A-VSB makes it easy for broadcasters to maintain complete signal coverage and transmission, filling in gaps between buildings and behind mountains for maximum service quality.

CableLabs Announces Tiered Test Program for DOCSIS 3.0

CableLabs will pursue a three-tiered program for qualification of Data over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) 3.0 cable modem termination systems (CMTS): Bronze, Silver and Full. CableLabs said this novel CMTS qualification testing approach would waive some of the more advanced DOCSIS 3.0 CMTS requirements for the entry level of qualification as a way to encourage CMTS makers to submit gear for testing earlier than they otherwise might.

Meanwhile, DOCSIS 3.0 modems will have only one level of certification that will be representative of compliance with the completed DOCSIS modem specification.

CableLabs expects that DOCSIS 3.0 CMTSs and cable modems will be submitted as early as Q4 of this year. In the meantime, CableLabs will host a number of interoperability events.
  • DOCSIS 3.0 specifies downstream data rates of 160 Mbps or higher and upstream data rates of 120 Mbps or higher. To achieve these higher data rates, DOCSIS 3.0 describes a methodology for channel bonding in both the upstream and downstream directions. DOCSIS 3.0 also incorporates support for IPv6.

Adobe Media Player Support Offline Viewing, DRM

Adobe Systems previewed its new Media Player desktop application for distributing and monetizing high-quality content both online and offline.

The Adobe Media Player, which leverages the company's Flash technology, provides content publishers new abilities to distribute, track and build businesses around their media assets.

Adobe Media Player is developed using Apollo, the code name of Adobe's recently announced application runtime that empowers content publishers and web developers to build and deploy rich Internet applications (RIAs) on the desktop using technologies such as Flash, PDF, and HTML. The player is cross-platform, based on open standards - including RSS and SMIL.

Adobe Media Player is planned to be available as a free beta download from the Adobe Web site later in 2007 with full availability expected by the end of the year, from Adobe and its partners.

Nortel to Supply Hosted IP PBX Solution for TELMEX

TELMEX, the incumbent carrier in Mexico, selected Nortel to provide hosted IP telephony and multimedia services for delivery of a new Hosted IP PBX offering to medium and large enterprises nationwide. TELMEX, the leading telecommunications company in Mexico, to provide hosted IP telephony and multimedia services for delivery of a new Hosted IP PBX offering to medium and large enterprises nationwide.

D-link Offers All-in-One Wireless and Wired Smart Switch

D-Link introduced a 24-port, 10/100 wireless "smart switch" for businesses with up to 200 employees. It features centralized AP management for easy deployment, configuration, replacement and monitoring of multiple APs. It supports AP load balancing, which automatically disperses traffic equally among multiple APs.
It also offers all the functionality of a smart wired switch, such as virtual local area network (VLAN) segmentation, QoS prioritization and denial of service (DoS) prevention. The switch also boasts 15.4 watts of PoE power per port to support devices such as phones, Internet cameras and access points.

Open Mobile Video Coalition to Promote Mobile Digital Broadcast TV in U.S.

Nine of the largest U.S. television broadcast groups have formed an "Open Mobile Video Coalition" aimed at accelerating the development of mobile digital broadcast television. Founding broadcasters in the group include Belo Corp., Fox Television Stations, Gannett Broadcasting, Gray Television, ION Media Networks, the NBC & Telemundo Television Stations, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Broadcasting Company. These companies collectively represent over 280 television stations in the U.S.

Samsung and Nokia Conduct DVB-H Handset/Network Testing

Samsung and Nokia agreed to collaborate to achieve interoperability among their DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcast - Handheld) enabled mobile devices and the open standards based Nokia network services system.

Specifically, the handset manufacturers will work together to support solutions based on the open OMA BCAST standard available for operator partners interested in deploying multi-vendor mobile TV services and trials in 2007 and onward.

Nokia Introduces Widgets

Nokia introduced widgets for its S60 mobile phone platform, allowing people to personalize Internet content into lightweight Web applications and stay current with online information sources. Nokia said that while widgets have been available on PCs for some time, they bring particular advantages to mobile devices, as mobiles are highly personal and among the few items that we always carry with us.

The S60 software on Symbian OS will be complemented with Web Run-Time, a Web application development environment, enabling the development of widgets and integrated Web applications for mobile devices with familiar standards-based Web technologies, such as Ajax, JavaScript, CSS and HTML. Web Run-Time is powered by the same feature rich, open-source environment used by the Web Browser for S60, the world's first full HTML browser bringing a desktop-like browsing experience to millions of S60 mobile devices.

Kasenna Delivers Its Third-Generation IPTV Middleware PortalTV

Xilinx unveiled a new reference design for video-over-IP and IPTV applications. The Xilinx design supports multiple channels in and out, bridging between DVB-ASI and Ethernet IP packets, and forward error correction (FEC) using the ProMPEG Code of Practice 3 (CoP3) -- for compressed transport streams and uncompressed SDI video sources. Additional flexibility is provided through a choice of memory and processor configurations to closely match technical requirements.

Kasenna, HP and Intel Team on IPTV Test

Kasenna has teamed with HP and Intel to complete a one- million-IPTV-subscriber benchmark test for broadcast television and bandwidth-intensive Video on Demand (VOD) services. Kasenna said the benchmark test proved that an IPTV infrastructure developed by Kasenna, together with HP and Intel, can support one million subscribers.

The IPTV-infrastructure test-bed, built around Kasenna's Portal TV product suite, consisting of the "LivingRoom" middleware platform and MediaBase video server software, utilized industry-standard HP ProLiant servers powered by Intel low-power Dual-Core Xeon processors. The test was conducted in a simulated access network environment at the HP Communications, Media and Entertainment (CME) Solution Center in Grenoble, France.

Kasenna's LivingRoom IPTV middleware platform provides scalable service delivery using portal-based Web services, while the Kasenna MediaBase video content streaming, distribution, and delivery platform provides scalable on- demand video delivery from disk- and RAM-based servers.

Netflix Appoints V.P. of Internet TV

Netflix, which claims more than six million subscribers for its online DVD rental service, has appointed Anthony Wood to the newly created position of vice president of Internet TV. Wood is the founder of ReplayTV and, most recently, Roku, which developed a networked music player and other consumer devices.

Comcast Hires Chief Procurement Officer

Comcast Cable has appointed Peter Kiriacoulacos as Senior Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer, a position in which he will be responsible for developing and guiding strategies to help achieve commercial synergies via procurement that "fully leverage Comcast's size and scale". Kiriacoulacos currently serves as Vice President of Global Procurement for Liberty Global, Inc., leading the company's global procurement strategy for the last seven years.

AT&T Drops Talks on Telecom Italia

AT&T confirmed reports that it has ended negotiations to potentially acquire a one-third stake in Olimpia S.p.A., a holding company with approximately 18 percent of Telecom Italia's ordinary shares.

Microsoft Offers Commercial VC-1 Encoder

Microsoft announced a VC-1 Encoder software development kit (SDK) for manufacturers building video encoding solutions.

The commercial SDK offers substantial quality and performance improvements over the previously released Windows Media Format SDK. Improvements include better picture quality, faster encode times, new features optimized for various video distribution channels, and ease of integrating future updates.

Microsoft said that more than 90% of HD DVD titles authored in the United States currently use VC-1.

The new commercial VC-1 Encoder SDK allows licensees, for the first time, to deliver VC-1 video beyond the Windows Media Format container, utilizing Microsoft's high-quality encoder optimizations. Improved delivery scenarios include a program or transport stream for HD DVD or Blu-ray, MPEG-2 transport stream for broadcast and IPTV, Material eXchange Format (MXF) for easy interchange, and the MP4 file format container.

For broadcast and IPTV, in particular, Microsoft said it is now easier for tools manufacturers to implement closed captioning, improve interlaced encoding quality and performance, and enable output to MPEG-2 transport streams. Special features have also been customized for market segments such as high- definition optical discs; the Microsoft VC-1 Encoder SDK can enable parallel encoding for significant improvement in speed as well as segment-based re- encoding, which allows users to re-encode only the portion of the content that would benefit from another encode.

Microsoft Unveils Silverlight -- a Competitor to Adobe Flash

Microsoft unveiled its "Silverlight" -- a new cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering video and rich interactive applications (RIAs) for the Web.

Microsoft Silverlight, previously called Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere (WPF/E), integrates with existing Web technologies and assets to deliver a consistent viewing experience to both Macintosh and Windows users on a variety of browsers including Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari.

Microsoft said Silverlight uses Windows Media Video (WMV), its implementation of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) VC-1 video standard, and promises scalability from full-screen high-definition (HD) to mobile devices.

Silverlight is also based on the Microsoft .NET Framework. Microsoft is also providing new tool and server investments for media professionals, including the following:

  • Expression Media Encoder. Microsoft Expression Media Encoder, which will be a feature of Microsoft Expression Media, enables rapid import, compression and Web publishing of digital video imported from a variety of popular formats, including AVI and QuickTime, into WMV.

  • Hardware-accelerated video publishing. When paired with a Tarari Encoder Accelerator, Expression Media Encoder reduces encode times by up to 15 times over software alone.

  • Even greater scalability with Windows Server, code-named "Longhorn.", which Microsoft says will enable customers to experience up to twice the scalability on the same hardware when compared with Windows Server 2003.

  • Internet Information Services 7 (IIS7) Media Pack, which adds features such as bit-rate throttling. The IIS7 Media Pack will be a free download for customers of Windows Server "Longhorn" when it ships.

Microsoft cited a number of early supporters for Silverlight, including Akamai Technologies, Brightcove, Eyeblaster, Limelight Networks, Major League Baseball and Netflix.

Microsoft Expands IPTV Ecosystem, Cites Growing Deployments Worldwide

Microsoft has expanded its list of partners supporting its IPTV Edition software platform to include the following categories:

  • Server processors. AMD and Intel Corporation provide leading chipset solutions for server and storage infrastructures for the IPTV Edition ecosystem. Their processors are key to the scalable deployment of live and on-demand TV applications.

  • Encoding solutions. Thomson Grass Valley's standard definition encoders support the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 standard used in IPTV Edition.

  • Set-top boxes. Pirelli Broadband Solutions will provide set-top boxes supporting Microsoft TV IPTV Edition. Pirelli's portfolio of hybrid decoders brings together IPTV and digital terrestrial TV in one multimedia platform, enabling a wide range of content bundles to be secured through conditional access system standards and digital rights management technologies. Pirelli's set-top boxes are based on single- chip technology and support legacy and new encoding standards such as H.264 and VC-1 at both standard and high definition. Pirelli set-top boxes can be equipped with hard drives of various storage capacities, providing additional capabilities such as local video recording, recorded-services playback, live TV pause, and time-shift recording.

  • Servers and storage. Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Sun Fire x64 servers are the newest carrier-class servers to have been tested against the high-performance IPTV platforms from Microsoft.

Microsoft's existing IPTV ecosystem partners include Alcatel-Lucent; set-top box manufacturers Cisco Systems (Scientific Atlanta), Motorola, Philips and Tatung Co.; chip manufacturers Sigma Design Inc. and STMicroelectronics; server solution providers HP and IBM Corp.; and encoder providers Cisco Systems (Scientific Atlanta), Harmonic, Motorola and TANDBERG Television.

Microsoft also noted that its IPTV Edition now has deployments under way with nine leading service providers and trials with seven additional providers, representing a footprint across 15 countries on four continents.

Ikanos Expands Into The FTTH Residential Gateway Market

Ikanos Communications announced its expansion into the Fiber To The Home (FTTH) residential gateway market with the introduction of its Fusiv Vx170 gateway processor, featuring 2.7 GHz of processing power integrated security, voice and wire speed QoS capabilities.

Based on Ikanos' widely deployed Fusiv architecture, the Vx170 is designed to provide wire speed performance across all LAN and WAN interfaces, while utilizing less than 2.5 watts of power. The Vx170 has a RISC CPU, dedicated DSP engines for VoIP and multiple Accelerator Processors. By offloading various tasks across several Accelerator Processors, most of the Vx170's RISC CPU's processing power is available for customer applications.

The Vx170's integrated peripherals -- including two GMIIs, PCI and two USB 2.0 hosts -- enable the processor to interface with many in-home distribution solutions like 802.11n, MoCA, HomePNA and Power Line Communication.

Ikanos also provides a suite of Vx170 software that includes operating system-independent drivers for Ethernet and integrated peripherals. Ikanos' Linux-based residential gateway software incorporates routing, bridging, wireless LAN access point, complete VoIP stack, packet classification, marking, QoS and bandwidth management. Ikanos' voice software includes support for various codecs, including G.726, G.723, G.729 and G.722, T.38 fax, echo cancellation, comfort noise generation, packet loss concealment, DTMF tone detection and generation, FSK caller ID generation and various country specific tones.

Sampling is underway.

Gefen Introduces HDMI over Coax

Gefen announced a method of extending HDTV over coax cable for high-definition video and multi-channel digital audio delivered through HDMI connectors. The plug and play HDMI over Coax cable solution allows any A/V source with HDMI connectors to be extended up to 300 feet from the display or projector using a single coax cable.

In addition, Gefen said its Wireless for HDMI extension solution delivers the same high quality HDTV extension using ultra wideband (UWB) wireless technology for in-room connections of high-definition video sources to HDTVs.

Both solutions utilize Tzero Technologies' UWB silicon combined with Analog Devices JPEG 2000 video processing and Gefen's HDMI expertise in delivering pure digital video with resolutions up to 1080p with digital audio.

Each extension system operates through compact transmitter and receiver units that offer HDMI audio and video extension with full HDCP-compliance, CEC control and additional IR remote pass through.

InPhase Demos Holographic Storage for HD Video

InPhase Technologies announced the first commercial holographic storage system for broadcasters. The company's first product, the Tapestry 300r, is an archival write-once read many (WORM) product that offers high capacity, file-based data access, and 50-year media life for archiving valuable video assets. The 300 gigabyte (GB) drive and cartridge will be shipping later this year.

The InPhase drive records 300 gigabytes (GB) on a single disk with a transfer rate of 20 megabytes per second (MB/s), or 160 megabits per second (Mb/s). The Tapestry300r will enable broadcasters to record 35 hours of broadcast-quality (19 Mbps) video on a single disk in 250 minutes (160 Mbps transfer rate).

At NAB 2007, InPhase will demonstrate high-definition video recording and playback using its Tapestry 300r drive and Maxell holographic media. The drive can be configured with a holographic optical jukebox system from DSM that archives over 6,000 hours of standard definition or 1,560 hours of high definition video in one library cabinet.

Ikegami Electronics will deliver archival holographic products, under an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) agreement, for the company's Editcam and Editcam HD professional camcorders.

Panasonic has announced it will support the Tapestry300r drive as the archive solution for the P2 solid-state camcorders.