Cable-Tec Expo – ARRIS & SCTE Introduce ARRIS Cable Technician Pocket Guide

171c4e4b574ab2c8a271b27f3d89876cFor busy cable technicians, it can be difficult to stay apprised of the latest information and engineering equations. After all, every day they make countless stops at homes and businesses to address a wide variety of customer needs, from problems connecting to the server and IP address issues, to slow application performance and poor cable connectivity.

To help field and cable technicians overcome this challenge, ARRIS, in partnership with the SCTE, recently launched the ARRIS Cable Technician Pocket Guide. The app converts the pre-existing ARRIS Cable Technician Pocket Guide, which includes a wealth of useful charts, graphs, tables, and industry-specific mathematical formulas, to an easily downloadable mobile application for iOS and Android mobile devices. The app is available in both free and premium tiers.

Technicians can easily reference valuable material in the app, including: a customizable dashboard, quick search feature, calculators, formulas and a tables toolbox.

Now available in a digital format, the app will be continually updated throughout the year as information becomes available, ensuring technicians stay up-to-date on the latest intelligence and guidelines.

During Cable-Tec Expo, ARRIS will offer the premium app – which includes the ability to compute engineering functions and equations using the calculator tool – free to all users to download* for a limited time.

For more information about the ARRIS Cable Technician Pocket Guide please visit here.

 * US stores only.

What is the best technology to solve video compression problems?

People of ARRIS

Rich Peske, VP, Product Management, ARRIS

There has been a continued trend to push more network functions, including video compression, into datacenters and virtual cloud environments. While there are clear advantages for the virtualization of many network functions, there are also certain cases where there may be a hindering cost or performance penalty.

Video compression systems are being used for a wide range of scenarios today. Some key use cases include:

  • Different content: File-based (VOD) and Live
  • Different clients: STB, connected TV, PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones
  • Different codecs: MPEG-2, AVC, HEVC, VP-9
  • Different resolutions and formats: SD, HD, 4K, HDR
  • Different sources: Encoding (baseband input) vs. Transcoding (compressed IP input)
  • Different encoding devices: Broadcast encoders, consumer cameras, professional cameras
  • Different environments: Datacenters, space or power constrained facilities

Video compression, with newer codecs such as HEVC and higher resolutions such as 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels), is very compute-intensive, particularly for live content.

To achieve reasonable power, space, cabling, and reliability requirements, hardware acceleration is often used. This can be in the form of dedicated ASICs, FPGAs, GPUs, or embedded encoding hardware inside Intel CPUs or integrated smartphone chipsets. Therefore, video compression systems often utilize one or several of these technologies to achieve the necessary performance. ARRIS is utilizing the latest ASIC compression chips in our new encoder/transcoder systems, the ME-7000 Converged Compression Platform. This platform is targeted for live encoding and transcoding applications for professional broadcast and distribution of full resolution TV programming.

The ME-7000 serves a wide range of consumer display devices, from smartphones to big-screen UHD me-7000_herodisplays. Currently, the platform  is being used worldwide by operators such as Televisa Izzi in Mexico and Eastlink in Canada.

By combining advanced hardware compression with general purpose CPU computing, the ME-7000 offers advantages in power, space, reduced cabling, and improved long-term reliability while enabling flexibility and an easy-to-use software-only compression system. For example, in the HEVC HD live encoding/transcoding use case, the ME-7000 has 10x-15x better power and space usage than CPU-based compression systems.

For applications, a file-based compression or for live content with lower resolution video or simpler codecs, pure software-based implementations can offer acceptable performance in a virtual environment.

ARRIS works with a number of partners offering software or hybrid software-hardware solutions to match the best technology with these types of use cases to best meet the needs of our customers.

Asking whether software or hardware is better for video compression is the wrong question. Rather, one should ask, “What is the best technology to solve my video compression problem.” Depending on the use case, the choice of technology can differ.

What is important, is that the technology and the use cases are aligned for the best price and performance, both for initial CAPEX and on-going OPEX. ARRIS’s approach is to dedicate time to understanding our customers’ specific circumstances, business goals, and optimize solutions that map to their situation.

The Power of Color: HDR and WCG @ Cable Tec 2016

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Dr. Sean McCarthy, ARRIS Fellow

Video quality is easily recognizable to the trained eye, but equating a number with quality is often more problematic. Without consistent video-quality metrics, cable operators cannot make informed decisions when setting bitrate and video-quality performance targets, nor when choosing technology partners for High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Wide Color Gamut (WCG) services.

A recent scientific study with professional-quality Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) and HDR videos found that viewers prefer HDR over SDR by a large margin – largely due to the fact that it’s the closest thing to reality that’s available on TV. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. HDR and WCG are doing an excellent job of bringing TV picture quality in line with what we see through our own eyes. The experience, according to many consumers, is “like looking out of a window.” That’s because HDR and WCG create a more convincing and compelling sense of light than previously was possible.

At this year’s SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2016, Dr. Sean McCarthy, ARRIS Fellow, will present new research and techniques designed to help answer the pressing questions facing cable providers when it comes to setting video quality and performance targets for HDR and WCG video services including:

  • What happens to a viewer’s quality of experience when pristine, high-quality HDR content is compressed for distribution?
  • What happens when HDR WCG content is converted to SDR content to support legacy displays and consumer set-tops?
  • Do distortions and compression artifacts become more noticeable in HDR? Or does processed HDR lose some of its sparkle and become less discernible from ordinary SDR?

Dr. Sean McCarthy is an expert in content distribution, video compression, signal processing and the neurobiology of human vision. He currently leads advancements in state-of-the-art of video processing, compression and practical vision science at ARRIS.

Learn more about “The Power of Color” workshop on Thursday, September 29 from 12:45 – 1:45 p.m., which will be moderated by Bill Warga, VP Technology, Liberty Global.

Flexible Deployment Approaches for the Gigabit Services Evolution

By Jonathan Ruff, Senior Director, Technical Marketing, ARRIS

By Jonathan Ruff, Senior Director, Technical Marketing, ARRIS

For many operators, the gigabit evolution begins with the shift from DOCSIS 3.0 to DOCSIS 3.1. But that move represents a change not only in the protocol itself, but in the approach to architecting their entire DOCSIS delivery chain—from the headend to the outside plant and home gateway components.

Operators are choosing from many new approaches based on the nature of their deepening fiber deployments and their desire to make more efficient use of headend facilities in addressing the increasing demand for new gigabit services.

ARRIS has a unique perspective on the aggregate decisions that these operators face, due to our pioneering work in DOCSIS 3.1 deployments and the market-leading success of our E6000 CCAP platform. Our operator customers look to us for evolutionary pathways that enable them to make full use of their HFC plant and fiber deployments, while building on their installed base of E6000s and their outside plant.

In our close collaboration with these customers on network evolution, one of the biggest challenges we see is that there is no one decision or path to choose from that is expected to reach the market in the next few years. In other words, operators will choose different approaches. As a result, many opt to support multiple approaches in their networks: HFC with Node+0 splits, Remote PHY or Remote MACPHY, Remote PHY shelf, Full Duplex DOCSIS, RFoG, Node PON, EPON and GPON, etc. And they pace the cadence of their evolution based on how their subscriber usage evolves and the availability of capital investment. Some operators plan to spend as much as $1B in each of the next few years to address the demand they are experiencing.

These are some of the most important factors that impact decision making for operators:

  • Headend Capacity – where space, power and other facility considerations constrain the ability to add more equipment, operators have two choices: seek denser more power efficient solutions or move capabilities and functionality into the outside plant. This is one of the cases for Remote PHY.
  • Economics – CAPEX and OPEX costs come into play as operators replace old equipment (nodes, amplifiers, and headend equipment) and move to support 1.2GHz and 85Mhz return expansion. Where this requires new equipment purchases and truck rolls, it creates an imperative to minimize the number of times outside plant has to be accessed while making service groups smaller to cope with the increased bandwidth demands.
  • Greenfield – with new housing developments, it makes economic sense to put in FTTH from day one, especially when replacing the coax cable to a home with fiber can cost as much as $1,000 per home passed. PON becomes the logical choice here, especially when the system can still support DPOE, the DOCSIS specification for cable modem provisioning on the headend.   Similarly, for urban Multi-dwelling units where fiber can be pulled past a high density of subscriber dwelling units, PON may be more efficient from a capacity and cost perspective.
  • Environment – depending on the socio-economics of neighborhoods, pulling the intelligent, expensive components back into the secured environments and using lower cost outside plant systems can allow operators to manage failures and loss while offering similar traffic and service level performance.
  • Timing/Availability – the range of approaches will be impacted by silicon availability, finalization of specifications, and levels of testing required to verify deployment capabilities

ARRIS offers operators an extremely flexible approach to the evolution of their networks. For example, our E6000 chassis offers software options and upgrades, new cards such as the DCAM2, UCAM2, RSM2, and EPFM (EPON Fiber Module), and a modular upgrade path for the OM6000 and NC4000 to Remote PHY. This enables operators to select their ideal architecture as they look to support multi-gigabit data services and migrate from QAM to IP Video services without having to make massive changes to their provisioning and headend systems.

In many cases (for example, DOCSIS 3.0 to DOCSIS 3.1 support, I-CCAP to RPHY support), the transition from one stage to the next can be accomplished with simple software upgrades, permitting the operator to activate the change in a convenient, cost-effective fashion. All of these attributes of ARRIS’s solution set allow operators to make decisions as their strategy determines the optimal time for them, their subscribers, and their financials.

The E6000 can support various combined configurations of these HFC, RFoG, and Fiber capabilities— allowing operators to deploy mixed architectures such as I-CCAP and Remote PHY, or I-CCAP and EPON, for example. As deployment proposals evolve to include Full Duplex DOCSIS, Extended Spectrum DOCSIS etc., the E6000 can evolve with each new stage, thanks to its modular physical architecture and its software upgradability, allowing it take advantage of new capabilities that increase the number of subscribers served and total data traffic capacity per chassis.

It’s clear that the demand for bandwidth is only going to increase in the near future, and having a flexible platform like the ARRIS E6000 platform that can be modified wherever it makes strategic and financial sense is extremely valuable. Our solutions are also designed to expand to support future demands. Indeed, the ability to quickly support and adapt to all of tomorrow’s technology choices puts operators who have deployed and are deploying the ARRIS E6000 platform in a leadership position for the future.

ARRIS Demonstrations at SCTE

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By Jonathan Ruff, Senior Director, Technical Marketing, ARRIS

Several big questions are top-of-mind for every service provider heading to SCTE next week:

  • How do we deliver Gigabit DOCSIS 3.1 services to our subscribers?
  • How can we make the Gigabit connected home more consistent with Wi-Fi, prepare for UHD over Wi-Fi, and create new services?
  • How do we make the Customer Experience more repeatable, reliable, and less reactive?
  • How can we implement a planned, evolutionary approach to an all-IP architecture with minimal impact to our subscribers?

ARRIS’s product managers and professional services experts will be answering these questions and more in daily demonstrations in our booth (#1074) under the following topics:

Networks

Our Gigabit Solution Wall will highlight our E6000 CER’s flexible deployment options and support for CCAP and Gigabit DOCSIS 3.1 services to subscribers over today’s HFC networks at distances of +70 miles. The E6000 provides multiple paths to bring fiber all the way to the home or premises, with hardware and software updates, integration of Remote PHY and Full-Duplex DOCSIS, and the ability to support Fiber Deeper technologies—like RFoG, Node PON and EPON.

CPE 

Our industry-leading portfolio of DOCSIS 3.1 gateways and broadband devices will be on display, showcasing its Gigabit and multi-Gigabit capabilities.

We’ll demonstrate our flagship Touchstone TG3462 smart home gateway—our most powerful gateway to-date—downloading movies and Virtual Reality experiences while distributing 4K video streams to our latest Wi-Fi UHD HEVC set-tops. It can deliver over 5Gbps of data around the home, with four GigE ports and an 8×8 MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi radio.

We’ll also showcase our comprehensive range of routers and WiFi extenders, along with new management capabilities, like ARRIS’s Assurance solutions and in-home user management features. And we’ll be demonstrating CPE function virtualization, which enables new levels of scalability, cost-efficiency and performance.

In our Intelligent Gateway Area, you can learn about our gateways’ new home network management features, IoT capabilities, and support for new services and applications.

We’ll also have our portfolio of video set-top devices on display—demonstrating 4K UHD HEVC video delivered over 802.11ac Wi-Fi, DVR and compact set-top functionality for whole-home solutions, support for RDK, and a range of leading User Experiences including TiVo, Espial G4, and X1 Syndication.

Future of TV

Our video product teams will be demonstrating how the ARRIS Cloud Video Delivery Platform—coupled with our ME7000 encoder/transcoder for advanced TV formats—can enable a phased approach to the evolution to IP video. You can learn how to build on VOD and nDVR capabilities and how multicast ABR can enable a bandwidth optimized managed video service for linear TV services to multiscreen devices.

Customer Experience Management

Management of the subscriber experience is paramount to driving higher NPS (Net Promoter Scores). ARRIS will be demonstrating three tool systems designed to improve NPS: Access Network Management, Field Service Management, and Home Network Management. These tools enable a range of assurance capabilities—from monitoring access network trends and remediating issues before they affect the consumer experience, to providing integrated tools for both technicians and subscribers to manage the home network.

We look forward to meeting you at SCTE. Check out presentations from our industry experts, catch Bob Stanzione, our Executive Chairman, at the opening panel session on Tuesday, September 27th, watch ARRIS’s sponsored First Robotics team: The Firebirds, compete immediately afterwards in the Central Lounge.

And don’t forget to drop by our booth (#1074) to get ARRIS’s answers to your most important industry questions!

A broad vision for set-tops at IBC

The exhibition halls at IBC have opened today and we’re showcasing the industry’s broadest and most comprehensive portfolio of set-tops.

We develop products for satellite operators, cable operators, telcos and terrestrial TV providers. Our set-tops can integrate with a wide range of third party middleware and conditional access technologies to offer a fantastic choice of UI experiences built on software platforms such as RDK, Android, KreaTV or Mediaroom. So whether a service provider wants to deliver a high-end service from a Wi-Fi enabled media gateway, or whether they are on the hunt for entry level set-tops, our solutions are the perfect fit.  

ARRIS VIP5305

ARRIS VIP5305

 

Making its debut at IBC is one of our latest IPTV set-tops – the VIP5305.  It’s compact and eye- catching, and capable of supporting enhanced picture quality with High Dynamic Range (HDR) for an Ultra HD experience that is one of the biggest leaps in image quality in TV’s history.  The image you will see will be the most realistic to ever grace your TV screen – like looking out of a window.

 

We’re also displaying examples of bespoke devices we’ve developed for some of our European customers on which we collaborated on the feature sets and design to meet the operator’s specific requirements.

With 4K launches now beginning in Europe, NOS was able to lead the pack with the ARRIS ZD4500 which will be showcased at IBC.  As the first RDK 4K rollout in Europe it’s a significant project and we’ll detail this and other successful projects at our stand.

We look forward to seeing you at this year’s IBC. We’re in Hall 1 Stand B19

 

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