Saturday, January 5, 2008

Vudu Adds HD Content

VUDU, a start-up offering a movie-on-demand set-top box with content from major studios, announced that it is expanding the high-definition (HD) movies available through the VUDU box.
By the end of January, 70 HD movies will be available for to rent. Playback of the HD movies will be instant provided the Internet connection to the home network is consistently 4 Mbps or greater. Those with lower or fluctuating bandwidth will experience some delay before viewing can begin. VUDU customers will be able to rent HD new releases for $5.99 and HD classics for $3.99.

The HD titles complement the over 5,000 standard definition movies and TV shows currently available from all the major U.S. film studios and more than 22 independent and international film distributors..

Seagate Debuts "PipelineHD" Terabit Drives for DVRs

Seagate Technology unveiled its "PipelineHD" Series Hard Disc Drives purpose-built for Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) with initial capacities planned up to 1TB. This would allow DVRs to capture up to 200 hours of HD television or 1,000 hours of Standard Definition television.

Seagate said its new drives also integrate several other key performance features, including superior acoustic performance for virtually silent operation inside a DVR. Another important characteristic of the PipelineHD Series hard drives is low emitted vibration. The drives are also designed with a target of meeting all global standards for low-power usage. Shipments are expected to begin in the first half of 2008, with capacities from 320GB up to 1TB.

Microsoft Builds Xbox Live and MSN Programming with ABC-Disney, MGM, NBC Universal

Microsoft announced several new entertainment services and partnerships to build its Xbox Live content library , including new deals with Disney-ABC Television Group, NBC Universal and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM).

Under the agreement with Disney-ABC Television Group, later this month, all U.S. Xbox LIVE members will begin to have access to select TV shows and movies from the ABC Television Network, ABC Family, ABC News, Disney Channel and Toon Disney as part of an agreement with Disney-ABC Television Group. More than 500 hours of content, in both standard definition and high definition when available, will be offered.

Under the agreement with MGM, Xbox 360 will offer MGM's movie library on demand for Xbox 360 including such titles as "Rocky," "Terminator," "Legally Blonde," "Silence of the Lambs" and "Barbershop." United Artists, an MGM sister company, will also make select films available on demand.

Microsoft said it now has more than 10 million Xbox LIVE members and more than 3,500 hours of premium content, making Xbox 360 a premier platform for on-demand TV shows and movies.

Under another exclusive agreement, Microsoft and NBC will deliver on MSN, the official U.S. online home of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In the first "long-tail" Olympics, online viewers will have access to more than 3,000 hours of live and on-demand content so they can watch their favorite athlete or sport, regardless of whether the sport has seven fans or 7 million. on MSN will be available free and powered by Microsoft Silverlight technology, a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering high-quality video experiences on the Web.

Netgear Adds Multiple Internal Antenna Array to N Products

NETGEAR launched a new series of Wireless-N products including its RangeMax Dual Band Wireless-N Router, RangeMax Wireless-N Gigabit Router, 5 GHz Wireless-N HD Access Point/Bridge, HD/Gaming 5 GHz Wireless-N Networking Kit, and RangeMax Dual Band Wireless-N USB Adapter. The new Wireless-N products, which are based upon the IEEE 802.11n Draft 2.0 specification and have all been certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance, incorporate multiple internal antenna arrays based on NETGEAR's metamaterials technology.

The company said unique wireless signal patterns and properties delivered by metamaterial antenna arrays improve the range and throughput of the WiFi routers and adapters. Based on patented antenna structures, but using conventional and inexpensive manufacturing techniques, the metamaterial antenna array places multiple antennas in close proximity, directing signal energies to targeted wireless devices while avoiding any signal collision or interference with each other. The ability to have antennas placed close together enables NETGEAR to incorporate six to eight internal antennas in a compact design.

The new NETGEAR products are also equipped with the industry-standard Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) introduced by the WiFi Alliance. This enables a "Push 'N' Connect" button that eliminates the need to remember or input security password keys.

Broadcom and Microsoft Collaborate on IPTV System-on-a-Chip

Microsoft and Broadcom are working together to enable Microsoft Mediaroom IPTV client software to operate on next-generation set-top boxes (STBs) utilizing the Broadcom BCM7405 system on a chip (SOC). The companies said their collaboration will permit service providers and original equipment manufacturers to support a range of features such as whole-home digital video recording (DVR), high-performance user interfaces, and photo and music sharing.

Broadcom and Microsoft are also working to help ensure security functionality on this new platform.

Broadcom said its BCM74xx series SOCs can also be embedded into other consumer devices to allow users to choose from a variety of IPTV-ready receivers such as HD DVD players and television sets.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Hughes to Acquire Helius for IPTV Data Broadcasting Solutions

Hughes Communications, which provides broadband satellite network services, agreed to acquire privately-held Helius, Inc., which specializes in business-class data broadcasting solutions.

Hughes said the acquisition will combine the skills of Helius, a leader in providing business IPTV solutions for applications such as training, corporate communications, and digital signage, with its own extensive broadband networking experience and customer base.
Hughes plans to deploy Helius' IP video technologies to enhance its existing HughesNet service offerings.

Helius is a portfolio company of Canopy Ventures. The acquisition is expected to be completed on or about February 4, 2008. Financial terms were not disclosed. Upon completion of the acquisition, Helius will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Hughes and will operate closely with Hughes' North America and International enterprise businesses.

Hughes has a large and growing customer base of government, retail, hospitality, and petroleum customers with an interest in business IPTV applications.
  • Helius is based in Lindon, Utah.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Vendors Show WirelessHD Products at CES

WirelessHD, currently comprised of Intel, LG Electronics, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (Panasonic), NEC, SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS, SiBEAM, Sony and Toshiba, completed the development of the WirelessHD specification for high-definition baseband video transmission between consumer products in the home.

WirelessHD or "WiHD", is a wireless high definition digital interface standard operating in the unlicensed and globally available 60 GHz frequency band. First generation implementations are aiming to achieve rates up to 4 Gbps, while the core technology promises theoretical data rates as high as 25 Gbps over short ranges of under 10m. Target applications include televisions, HD disc players, set-top boxes, camcorders, gaming consoles, adapter products, as well as other source devices.

The WirelessHD group also includes 40 Early Adopter and Promoter companies as well as technical support with regards to content protection for WirelessHD 1.0 from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and technical support for DTCP content protection from the Digital Transmission Licensing Administrator (DTLA).

At CES in Las Vegas, SiBEAM, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California, announced that its WirelessHD-based transmitter and receiver chipsets, and its WirelessHD Development Kit will be made available to select customers in the first quarter of 2008. The chips are implemented in CMOS.

Panasonic is using the SiBEAM chipset in a wireless High Definition (HD) Audio/Video transmission system based on the "WirelessHD" standard. The system enables HD video transmission in uncompressed format between a television and other AV equipment like a Blu-ray Disc player without quality deterioration.

Motorola Shows WiMAX Desktop Device

Motorola introduced its WiMAX CPEi 100 device

-- a single data port, 2.5 GHz "plug-and-play" WiMAX solution. It is designed to sit on a desktop and serve as the interface between a computer and the WiMAX network. The product is expected to be available in 2008 for WiMAX operators who have systems in the 2.5 GHz band.

"Performance and ease-of-use are essential to motivate consumers to upgrade to higher performance wireless broadband technologies, "said Fred Wright, Motorola senior vice president, Cellular Networks and Broadband. "The CPEi 100 provides that experience and enables WiMAX operators to offer a home device that consumers can install and setup in only a matter of minutes."

Motorola noted that it currently has 15 WiMAX contracts and more than 57 WiMAX engagements in 38 countries worldwide, including 44 active trials.

NSN to acquire Apertio for Subscriber Data Platforms

Nokia Siemens Networks agreed to acquire Apertio, a provider of open real-time subscriber data platforms and applications, for around EUR 140 million. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2008.

Apertio will provide the new generation architecture and open real-time subscriber data platform for Nokia Siemens Networks' portfolio.
Nokia Siemens Networks said the acquisition will enable it to build on its position in the converged core.

Apertio's software application suite, Apertio One, delivers a single, open, subscriber-centric architecture for current and new generation networks. The suite includes Apertio One-NDS (Network Directory Server), Apertio One-HLR (Home Location Register) and Apertio One-HSS (Home Subscriber Server). The company is privately held, and headquartered in Bristol, UK, with offices in Chicago, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Beijing.

Apertio's customers include Orange, T-Mobile, Vodafone and O2. Once the deal has closed, Apertio is expected to form a new business line, to be headed by Apertio CEO, Paul Magelli, within Nokia Siemens Networks' Converged Core business unit.http://www.nokiasiemensnetworks.com

Bharti Airtel awards multi-million Euro Deal to Ericsson

Bharti Airtel awarded a pan India contract to Ericsson for deployment of a single Interactive Voice Response (IVR) platform across all 23 circles. The three year turnkey and multi-million Euro contract includes designing, planning, systems integration and optimization services to enhance overall customer experience.

Ericsson said the new IVR solution will enable Airtel to deliver Services such as Voice SMS, Televoting, Call Management Services (Reach-me service / Missed Call Advisor), Caller Ring back Tone (CRBT) and VoicePortal among others on a faster time-to-market basis, reduce OPEX costs due to optimized network utilization, and increase security by creation of a layered architecture towards Interactive Voice applications.

Chelsio Raises $25 Million for 10Gb Ethernet Adapters

Chelsio Communications, a start-up offering 10-Gigabit Ethernet server adapters and protocol acceleration technology,

announced the closing of a Series E private funding round, raising a total of $25 million. Chelsio's 3rd generation Terminator 3 (T3) ASICs power the company's portfolio of unified wire adapters for 10Gb Ethernet. Target applications for the 10Gb adapters include Network-Attached Storage (NAS) Filers, Storage Area Network (SAN) Arrays, Server Adapters, High Performance Cluster Computing, Blade Servers, Video Servers, Application Servers and Web Accelerators.

The new funding round was led by an investor new to the company, Investor Growth Capital, while existing investors New Enterprise Associates, INVESCO Private Capital, LSI Logic Corporation, Hotung Capital Management, Abacus Capital Group, Pacesetter Capital Group, and Horizon Ventures all participated.

Meraki Raises $20 Million for its Muni Wireless Mesh

Meraki, a start-up based in Mountain View, California, raised $20 million in Series B funding of from Sequoia Capital, DAG Ventures, Northgate Capital and other existing investors for its municipal wireless networking plans. The company also announced that it will deploy a city-wide wireless access network in San Francisco that will provide free, broadband Internet access for every neighborhood in the city by the end of 2008.

Meraki said it is pioneering networking technologies to bring the next billion people online. The company offers a low-cost, easy-to-install and use, wireless mesh technology that enables consumers to cover their homes, apartment complexes and entire communities. The technology creates a wireless network by combining signals from hundreds or thousands of low-power radio repeaters installed on rooftops, balconies and windows, extending WiFi access to city residents in their homes and businesses. Through communication with Meraki central servers and intelligence worked into every repeater, each point in the network is automatically optimized for speed and performance without any maintenance required of users.

Meraki's "Free the Net" program, which was launched last year in San Francisco in select neighborhoods, currently claims over 40,000 users.
In the first two square miles of the project in San Francisco, the network identified and worked around more than 20,000 sources of interference and allowed Meraki to deliver almost 1Mbps of access to every user.

The backbone of the San Francisco network will be built using hundreds of small solar-powered distribution points, installed on residential and commercial rooftops -- enabling quick installation and reliable operation. As the network extends into new neighborhoods, Meraki will offer San Francisco residents free repeaters that will bring a high-speed, broadband signal into their homes while strengthening the network and providing coverage to neighbors. A repeater is not required to receive wireless access, residents may simply hop on the free network provided by repeaters throughout the neighborhood.

Meraki said it will fund the entire cost for establishing the free network across the city, as part of an effort to showcase for other communities around the world how the company's technology can allow the creation of city-wide access networks at a fraction of current costs. No public funds will be used to build this new Meraki wireless network in San Francisco.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

FLAG Telecom to invest $ 1.5 billion in New Undersea Cables

India's Reliance Communications unveiled plans to invest US$1.5 billion (nearly Rs. 7000 crore) to expand FLAG Telecom's global optic fiber network.

Termed - FLAG Next Generation Network (NGN), the project involves laying 50,000 additional kms of undersea optic fiber cable reaching 6O countries.

FLAG NGN will comprise of the following 4 systems:
  • FLAG NGN System 1: Asia -- India, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Brunei, Honk Kong

  • FLAG NGN System 2: Africa -- Kenya, Mozambique, Republic of South Africa, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mauritius

  • FLAG NGN System 3: Mediterranean -- Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Malta, Libya, Lebanon

  • FLAG NGN System 4: Trans-Pacific - US West Coast, Japan, China and Hong Kong

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Chile's Entel PCS Selects Ericsson

Entel PCS awarded a three-year contract to Ericsson to provide GSM/WCDMA/HSPA radio access and common core network equipment to expand and upgrade its existing mobile network across Chile. Ericsson will also provide professional services, including network design, deployment and systems integration. Deliveries will begin in the first quarter of 2008.

Ericsson Acquires Spanish IPTV Consultancy

Ericsson (has acquired HyC Group, a leading Spanish company in TV consultancy and systems integration with around 110 employees. The HyC employees will be part of the Ericsson's growing global services organization. The deal follows Ericsson's acquisition of Tandberg Television at the beginning of the year.

Israel's Partner Communications Selects Ericsson

Partner Communications, an Israeli mobile communications operator, has selected Ericsson for the replacement of third party 3G equipment existing in its network and the expansion thereof, and for the support and maintenance of the Ericsson elements in Partner's network. As a result, Ericsson shall become the sole vendor of Partner's 3G network.

Reliance Completes Acquisition of Yipes

India's Reliance Communications Ltd. received FCC approval

for its acquisition of U.S.-based Yipes Holdings, and subsequently closed the deal. The U.S. $300 million acquisition of Yipes was first announced in July 2007. The transaction, closed on December 19, 2007, is a key milestone in Reliance Communications' plan to become a global data communications leader.

Yipes, which is based in San Francisco, has a strategic network presence in the top 14 U.S. metros. The company claims nearly 1,000 enterprise customers.

Reliance said the combination of Yipes' enterprise Ethernet services with the private undersea cable system of FLAG Telecom (another Reliance subsidiary) will enable the creation of a global service-delivery platform with unmatched coverage and capability.

Vivendi Supports Merger of SFR and Neuf

Vivendi confirmed the planned merger between its subsidiary SFR and the Louis Dreyfus group relating to the potential sale of the latter's stake in Neuf Cegetel.

SFR is the second-largest mobile phone operator in France. Neuf Cegetel is the second largest broadband operator in France.

Commenting on the transaction, Jean-Bernard Lévy, Chairman of Vivendi's Management Board, stated: "This investment is a very attractive opportunity for Vivendi to strengthen its position and development in one of its main business sectors. The planned agreement would make it possible to merge two companies with increasingly complementary and healthy businesses and would create value for Vivendi shareholders."

SFR would finance this transaction through debt, notably with Vivendi granting a loan under market terms. To repay this loan, SFR has agreed to considerably reduce dividend payments that it would receive in the three next financial years.

Occam Wins Upgrade Project in Guam

GTA TeleGuam, Guam's largest telecommunications services provider, has selected Occam Networks to serve as the lead access equipment provider for a major upgrade of the telco's network. The first project includes upgrading 10,000 of GTA TeleGuam's 70,000 access lines. The company is pulling fiber directly to the home in some areas, to the curb in other areas, with other areas remaining with copper for the time being. GTA TeleGuam offers local, long distance and cellular phone service, as well as broadband services.

GTA TeleGuam has purchased Occam's Broadband Loop Carrier (BLC) 6252 ADSL2Plus and POTS Blade, the BLC 6640 Subscriber Trunk Gateway for GR303 signaling; the BLC 6312 Optical Line Termination Blade and the BLC 6450 Access Aggregation Blade for 10Gigabit Ethernet rings. Financial terms were not disclosed.

NetCee Releases its Ultra Packet Processor

NetCee Systems, a start-up based in Fremont, California, announced the availability of its Ultra Packet Processor, a deep packet inspection (DPI) engine with broad applicability in protocol analysis and pattern recognition.

NetCee said its Ultra Packet Processor can identify and process over one Trillion types of protocol at more than 50+ Gbps. The trillion number is derived by combining all the possible combinations of Protocols that can be identified from Layer 2 (Data Link Layer) to Layer 7 (Application Layer).