ARRIS Previews Slim, New Ultra HD Set-tops at IBC 2014

The doors to the exhibition halls at IBC 2014 will open on Friday, and we’re set to preview an exciting evolution in our set-top portfolio.

The ARRIS VIP4000 and VIP5000 series redefine set-top design with HEVC decode ARRIS VIP4000 VIP5000 Series set-topscapabilities and 802.11ac Wi-Fi® wrapped in four small, minimalist enclosures to bring the future of entertainment to consumers.

The two lines allow service providers to address growing demand for robust services like Ultra HD and multiscreen HD—quickly and efficiently—while offering support for a variety of software applications.

The innovation continues in the set-tops’ physical design, which showcases new, discreet and minimalistic forms. The new designs feature four distinct silhouettes, ranging from the size of a deck of cards to a paperback novel. Each enclosure is finished in high-gloss polished Lexan and features sweeping convex curves for a floating effect. They’re available in six colors, including snow & copper; ice blue; ARRIS orange; tinted grey; premium umbra; and midnight purple.

The VIP4000 and VIP5000 series offer a deep level of customization for service providers, who can choose the features and form factor to best suit their subscribers—whether it is HEVC for Ultra HD, a larger HDD for more DVR storage, or an ultra-compact design to sit snuggly behind the TV. They are slated to launch globally starting in 2015.

ARRIS is at IBC 2014 Friday 12th- Tuesday 16th September in Hall 1, Stand D31, so drop by if you’d like to see the next generation of new set-tops in person. If you can’t make it along, check out our video below:

ARRIS Speakers Demonstrate Technical Thought leadership at ANGA

Walking the floor at ANGA, you don’t see any programmers: this conference is all about the technology. This year, four ARRIS speakers drove that conversation on a variety of subjects, from CCAP to Wi-Fi…

Engineering Fellow John Ulm led off, joining a heavyweight panel, including Jorge Salinger of Comcast, in a wide-ranging examination of Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) spec and upcoming potential offshoots from the original spec. Introduced by moderator Daniel Howard, CTO of the SCTE, as ‘the father of the DOCSIS MAC protocol’, Ulm laid out the current state of CCAP and then progressed to the pros and cons of its potential offspring: Remote PHY and Remote CCAP. Service providers will have several options to ensure the continued reliability and increased capacity of their networks, options which are dependent on deployment timing, headend space and powering constraints, new generations of silicon, and individual network architectures.

On Day Two, ARRIS CTO of CPE Charles Cheevers addressed the increasingly critical subject of Wi-Fi optimization. Consumers continue to experience a gap between advertised speeds and the actual experience, especially within the home. There, issues of building construction, user overlap (especially within MDUs), and contention between a competing and constantly increasing number of devices are impacting real-world results.

Cheevers proposed the concept of deterministic Wi-Fi delivery, prioritizing usage and implementing a remote resource management system to create a self-organized network within the home Wi-Fi domain to improve the customer experience.  Finally, he previewed the anticipated 802.11 AX, a next-generation Wi-Fi spec that seeks to deliver a 4X improvement in efficiency. It will be a welcome release, coming in at a time when 4k television will be widely-adopted, requiring bitrates between 15Mbs-30Mbs, and 8k will be waiting in the wings, with bitrate needs from 30Mbs-60Mbs.

Cornel speaking

 

Day Three featured Cornel Ciocirlan, ARRIS Regional Chief Technologist, speaking on the Conference’s Connected Home Summit. Panelists discussed global device proliferation (8-10 per user in Western Europe), smart/connected home technology, security concerns, and the need to educate consumers on the cost-value equation.

By 2020 there will be 50 billion devices connected to the Internet, necessitating a commensurate network infrastructure.  Ciocirlan pointed out that the “killer app” driving broadband growth currently is video content consumption, and that the industry needs to develop a killer app for the connected life: machine-to-machine interaction will not drive broadband growth.  As service providers become software companies, they will need to better understand how the Internet of Things will affect the consumer.

Rounding out Day Three, ARRIS Sr. Director of Marketing, Duncan Potter, presented a paper on Dynamic ABR Format Repackaging to optimize network infrastructure. With the increasing number of devices able to consume video expected to reach 7 Billion by 2017, the impact of multiscreen on operator video infrastructure costs has far outstripped the ability of caching to reduce the cost of that video distribution.  Potter referenced a case study conducted with a major US service provider to mitigate the costs of storage, packaging, and backhaul by using dynamic repackaging from a single format such as Apple HLS to whatever the client requires, at various points in the network.

Some food for thought as we close out ANGA. Check back for more from Canitec and beyond.

Top 5 Tech Articles You Might’ve Missed – Week of April 14, 2014

This week, industry coverage looked to the future of television, including 4K, 8K and HEVC. While many in the industry are anxiously awaiting the arrival of 4K, TechHive reported that 8K broadcasts could reach homes in 2020. Such high-resolution video will require efficient encoding and transmitting, and Broadband TV News wrote that HEVC Version 1 has achieved more than 50% bitrate savings compared to MPEG 4 AVC/H.264.

From an industry perspective, TechZone360 shared that the rapid growth in multiscreen video content and increasing options in video processing workflow are impacting the transition to the cloud. Additionally, Rapid TV News covered research from Strategy Analytics projecting pay IPTV will continue to be a bright spot in the US pay-TV market with a compound annual growth rate of 8.3% through 2019.

Finally, MediaDailyNews shared that nearly 90% of worldwide adult TV viewing continues to be live, although new TV-video platforms are gaining steam.

Check back next week for the latest industry news.

  1. I’m OK, you’re… 8K? 8K broadcasts coming in 2020 (April 14) By Susie Ochs, TechHive: “I dunno, that 4K TV just doesn’t have enough pixels,” said no one ever. But that isn’t stopping the march of progress—8K resolution is coming. Just not for a little while, and with plenty of technical hurdles to clear along the way.
  2. HEVC demonstrates its high efficiency (April 16) By Donald Koeleman, Broadband TV News: HEVC Version 1 demonstrates it has achieved more than 50% bitrate savings compared to MPEG 4 AVC/H.264, the MPEG standards group announced following its 108th meeting held at the beginning of April in Valencia, Spain.
  3. In a Multiscreen World, Cloud-Based Video Processes Come to the Fore (April 17) By Tara Seals, TechZone360: The business of broadcast is like any other enterprise vertical, in that the rise of mobility, social enablement and all-digital, all-IP transactions are creating a level of complexity hitherto unknown.
  4. Pay-TV to return to growth in 2014 (April 16) By Michelle Clancy, Rapid TV News: The US pay-TV market looks set to turn around a loss in total subscribers in 2013 to growth by the end of 2014, research from Strategy Analytics suggests.
  5. Most TV Viewing Still Live, But Streaming, Video Gains Popularity (April 16) By Wayne Friedman, MediaDailyNews: From a new poll of 15,551 adults in 20 countries, Ipsos OTX says 86% of respondents watch traditional live TV, with 27% streaming/downloading TV/video via computer; 16% are streaming Internet video to TV; 16% are using DVR/recording devices to view; and 11% watching on mobile.

A Look Inside ARRIS @ NAB

More than 90,000 attendees descended on the Las Vegas Convention Center to hear about the future of content at the NAB Show. ARRIS is leading that conversation with demos that offer a glimpse of the many technologies driving the evolution of TV — from multiscreen digital rights management to UltraHD pathways, personalized ad insertion, and solutions that address the industry’s most influential trends.

In case you weren’t able to attend the show, we’ve provided a snapshot of our booth and a few of the demos shown.

The State of 4K/Ultra HD

Dr. Sean McCarthy, Ph.D., Fellow of the Technical Staff, ARRIS

Next week, the industry will discuss the future of content delivery at NAB. I’ll be participating in a seminar examining how new dimensions in video technology will impact the business of video distribution.  It’s hard to discuss this topic without hitting on 4K (also called Ultra HD or UHD) and its ramifications for the industry.

Last year, I wrote this column on what’s next for Ultra HD. My points about the phased approach to implementation still apply, but as this topic continues to heat up, I think it’s a good time for an update on where 4K is today and how it is shaping the roll-out on a global scale…

The 15-year plateau of HDTV is undergoing a dramatic change thanks to HEVC and UHD.

Here is some quick background: Ultra HD represents a truly new era of television beyond HD. It refers to higher 4k resolution (3840×2160), but also involves higher frame rates, higher dynamic range, and better color. And consumers will soon see new programming broadcast in 4K, starting with the 2014 FIFA World Cup Finals. Furthermore, the Japanese and Korean governments are driving 4K and 8K video transmission trials for this year as well.

So, Ultra HD is very different from HD, and it’s already here in some respects.

Many of us at ARRIS believe that UHD should be considered a roadmap for improving TV in the years to come. We also believe that the underlying HEVC standard that makes 4K content possible on today’s networks is also what will enable many of these improved TV experiences.

HEVC is two times as effective as the current H.264 standard and has the potential to cut bandwidth costs in half. It will even enable telco providers to extend their reach over current DSL networks.

With that in mind, the phased approach to UHD that I mentioned earlier is likely to follow these four steps:

  1. High-efficiency path using HEVC to improve bandwidth economics for HD services. This will enable ubiquitous OTT services for media gateways, Internet-attached 4K displays and HD and 4K tablets and smartphones.
  2. Cinematic track that would support “optimized-for-4K” HD encoding. In other words, HEVC will provide a pathway to true 4K content at 24 and 30 frames per second. “Optimized for 4K” HD encoding would imply near-pristine HD content that looks great when upsampled on a 4K display. But, it leverages HEVC to fit in the same bandwidth as HD content compressed with today’s MPEG4/H.264.
  3. HEVC becomes more attractive to sports programmers. These programmers will emphasize frame rate over resolution to deliver 1080p HD at 60 frames per second, and later at 120 frames per second. All while providing a pathway to true 4K at 60 frames per second.
  4. HEVC becomes that much more attractive to all service providers. They will use enhanced efficiency of HEVC to deliver traditional HD services while freeing up bandwidth for UHD and data services.
  5. Ultimately, HEVC opens the door for content and service providers to deliver better consumer experiences without breaking the bandwidth bank.

I hope that you can join me, Kevin Wirick, and Hugo Gaggioni, Sony CTO for Broadcast and Production Systems, and others at NAB in exploring this topic as well as the trends and technologies that will determine the future of video delivery networks.

Join my seminar, Wednesday April 9th @ 10am PT in the Las Vegas Convention Center, Room S219 “Creating Value in MultiScreen and Ultra HDTV” to learn more.

Top 5 Tech Articles You Might’ve Missed – Week of March 17, 2014

This week, we attended London’s TV Connect and China’s Content Broadcasting Network (CCBN) conferences to discuss the latest innovations in technology, from challenges and solutions in connected entertainment to trends in broadcasting video. Advanced Television shared the news that Maxisat selected our GT-3 Multiple Bitrate (MBR) Transcoder to deliver an efficient and reliable video transcoding solution to international service providers, which is significant given that Multichannel News discussed the increase in demand for multi-service video gateways.

The advancements in technology and global capacity for engagement have also increased the need for efficiency and a swift response. To ensure a reliable Wi-Fi connection, Time Warner Cable recently deployed ARRIS WorkAssure Field Management platform, highlighted by CED Magazine, to schedule and manage its service appointments with real-time updates.

In other news, a report from PC Magazine states that people are not ready to “cut the cord” on pay TV for Internet services like Netflix, Hulu Plus or Amazon Instant Video. While new research shows a decline in multi-channel video providers, that decrease is only about 0.1 percent from last year. Finally, Forbes discussed the relevance of 4K across screens stating, “4K will bring real benefits to end users” and noted that the technology should become the standard in the industry.

Make sure to check back next week for the latest news in cable.

  1. Maxisat picks ARRIS to power content hub (March 19) By Colin Mann, Advanced Television: Maxisat, a provider of managed and operated Multiscreen TV services, has selected the GT-3 Multiple Bitrate (MBR) Transcoder by ARRIS Group as the default transcoder for the international expansion of its Content Hub – an integral component of its end-to-end multiscreen video solution, Maxicaster.
  2. Set-Top Market Slumps In 2013: Infonetics (March 16) By Jeff Baumgartner, Multichannel News: The traditional set-top box sector slumped in 2013, but suppliers have reason for hope as shipments of multi-service video gateways continue to skyrocket, Infonetics Research reported in its latest report on the set-top market.
  3. Arris’ WorkAssure clocks in on Time Warner Cable’s one-hour service windows (March 18) By Mike Robuck, CED Magazine: In an effort to provide its subscribers with a better customer experience, Time Warner Cable has deployed Arris’ WorkAssure Field Management platform to help schedule one-hour service appointments by its technicians. By using WorkAssure, Time Warner Cable can schedule and manage its service appointments with real-time updates.
  4. Very Few People Ditched Pay TV for the Web in 2013 (March 18) By Chloe Albanesius, PC Magazine: Though services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant Video provide a wealth of video options for those without cable, the average consumer is not yet racing to cut the cord and ditch pay TV for an Internet-only TV existence.
  5. Why Bother With 4K? (March 18) By Roger Kay, Forbes: You’ve probably heard a fair amount of rumbling about 4K in the past few months. Many companies —LG, Panasonic , Samsung, Sony , Vizio — showed 4K TVs, displays, and cameras at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January.

 

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