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.

ARRIS Takes Home CableFAX Digital & Tech Award

We’re happy to share some exciting news! The ARRIS Media Streamer 4000 was awarded the 2014 CableFAX Digital & Tech Award in the “Connected TV/Smart TV Solution” category. 22494_CableFAX_Tech_Awards_Logo

According to CableFAX the awards recognize products that are “driving the digital media revolution” and “took chances, made incredible strides and understand the power of innovation.”

We have to agree. Our MS4000 Media Streamer is transforming video delivery to match consumer demand for anytime, anywhere, any-device experiences. It’s powered by Sling technology and lets our customers bring place-shifting features to our Whole Home Solution with MOXI entertainment platform.

Award winners were asked two questions about technology:

1.) What is the one question you must ask before making a technology decision?

2.) What is the one technology that will most change the game in the next year?

Jeanne CableFAX Tech AwardsThe answer to the first embodies ARRIS’s core values. We ask: “How will this technology benefit consumers and advance our industry?” Last year, we invested more than $500M in R&D creating the technology to transform tomorrow’s entertainment experiences—but when we make decisions to implement that technology, we always ask how it will serve consumers and our industry.

This plays into the second question about technology game changers. We’re betting on HEVC, a powerful new compression technology that improves mobile and HD video, enables UltraHD, and facilitates its delivery over Wi-Fi—improving the overall consumer viewing experience.

It’s our commitment to investing in new technology and implementing it in ways that progress the entertainment experience that earned our MS4000 Media Streamer an award and made ARRIS a finalist in four other categories: “Cloud Solution,” “Green Technology,” “New Product Award” and “Residential Equipment.”

Awards were announced in a ceremony held earlier this week at the Yale Club in New York City.

Congratulations, team! Read more about the CableFAX Digital & Tech Awards here.

Five Questions with…Steve McCaffery

Senior Vice President, Sales, EMEA & Asia Pacific

Steve McCaffery, Senior Vice President, Sales, EMEA & Asia Pacific

This week, we sat down with our own Steve McCaffery, Senior Vice President, Sales, EMEA & Asia Pacific and asked him a few questions…from the biggest trends in the region to his advice for individuals seeking a career in the video and broadband industry. Here is what he shared with us.

In your mind, what are three of the biggest trends facing service providers?

We’re seeing a number of key trends impacting decisions by our service provider customers over the coming year.  Firstly, with the onset of 4K, we’re seeing a change in requirements for new compression techniques like HEVC, stimulating a refresh in the headend for HEVC encoders and also in the CPE space for HEVC set-tops.  Secondly, the growing trend for wireless video delivery around the home is driving the demand for the highest standards in Wi-Fi such as 802.11ac.  And finally, service providers are looking at how they can move content to the cloud for access from multiple screens – discussions around nDVR will continue throughout 2014.

Innovation is a word used fairly often in our industry. How would you define it? Better yet, what’s one of your favorite moments that could be defined by this word?

Innovation is something that creates an industry or defines a marketplace by being disruptive to the norm.  For example, innovation in compression and encoding has disrupted how we consume media, making it possible to view HD video on a tablet screen.

What should the industry do to hire and inspire more people to drive the future of content and communications experiences?

Our industry is heavily engineering-focused, but to make the services that we enable more intuitive, we should encourage more marketing-led skills to balance the engineers.  The technology is there, but it’s now about adoption, and that will come when we can make these experiences more intuitive – we need a shift in our industry to inspire and develop these skills.

What excites you the most about the next 3-5 years for ARRIS?

This industry really excites me! Last year, we brought together two great companies in this space and are on the threshold of some new developments.  Also, vendors like ARRIS continue to move up the value chain, and I’d expect over the next 3-5 years to see video service providers engage with us more to take advantage of our operational experience to help design and manage their video systems, allowing them to focus on their customers and the service they deliver.

What was one of the best pieces of career advice given to you?

Communicate, communicate and communicate… Don’t assume people know and understand what you are doing or thinking.  To bring along an organization with you, especially on a global level, it’s important to communicate across all levels in the organization, up, down, sideways.  For our team, it’s about communicating across regions, business units and with the corporate functions that support us.

 

ARRIS Speaks @ CES

CES 2014 logoThis week, thousands will descend upon Las Vegas. If you will be there, stop by to hear our ARRIS speakers discuss the next big thing… from 4K to to what’s next in home entertainment. See below for full details on their panels.

Monday, Jan. 6

Dr. Sean McCarthy, Fellow of the Technical Staff, who recently shared his Ultra HD expertise in a Gigaom column“What’s next for Ultra HD?” will continue his discussion of the evolving 4K market on a panel entitled, “Fool Me Once; Fool Me Twice. Lessons Learned on 4K.” North Hall N256 @ 4pm PT.

Tuesday, Jan. 7

Derek Elder, SVP & General Manager of the DOCSIS and Multiservice Gateway, will participate in “The Internet of Things: Connected Home Platforms and Devices.”  The panel will examine technologies contributing to the Internet of Things, as well as approaches to integrating connected products into the connected home. North Hall N264 @ Noon PT.

Wednesday, Jan. 8

Ian Greenblatt, VP of Strategy and Business Development, will speak on the next-generation of home entertainment, hardware, software and services on the panel “The NexGen Entertainment Home Experience.” Many of these next-generation devices and services follow trends revealed in our Fourth Annual Media Engagement Barometer, which showed viewers are dramatically shifting how and where they consume video content. In fact, in their bedroom, more consumers watch content on their smartphones and tablets (46% and 41%) vs. broadcast TV  (36%). North Hall N260 @ Noon PT.

Which of these topics are you most looking forward to learning about at this year’s CES? Let us know in the comments.

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