NCTA 2011 Tech Paper Review
by Leslie Ellis // June 27 2011
No shortage of deep-dive in this year’s collection of technical papers, organized by the National Cable Television Association (NCTA), with contributions from CableLabs and the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE).
The two I went so far as to print out, to read on the plane: “Considerations When Delivering Cable TV to IP Connected Consumer Electronics,” by Comcast engineering fellow Mark Francisco, and “Evaluating Best-of-Class Web Service APIs for Today’s Multi-platform Video Management Solutions,” by thePlatform’s Alan Ramaley, CTO, and Nick Rossi, VP/Engineering.
The latter caught my eye because of that term – “web service” – which tends to pop up at every intersection of old and new; now and next. Usually the words “you just” are nearby, just to make sure you’re feeling stupid: “You just do it as a web service interface.” (Duh!)
If you’ve been feeling the need to take a deep soak in the language of web services, or if you’ve wondered about how application program interfaces (APIs) work, this one’s for you. Example terminology: SOAP, and why it’s a “heavy protocol” to work with; the verbs of REST. (Verbs! Writers love verbs! There’s hope!)
Francisco’s paper details the technical options associated with transforming TV into an app, from a service. If you’ve ever wondered about the similarities and differences between HTTP live streaming, DLNA, Flash streaming, MPEG-DASH, and HS Smooth streaming, read it.
Other notables: “Adapting Adaptive Streaming to Cable Access,” by Cisco’s Xiaomei Liu; “Will HTTP Adaptive Streaming Become the Dominant Mode of Video Delivery in Cable Networks,” by Ericsson’s Michael Adams, because it’s a perfectly phrased question for these times; and “Approaches to Integrating CDN Technologies into Classical Cable VOD Platforms,” by Time Warner Cable’s Chuck Hasek and Verivue’s Santosh Krishnan, because content delivery networks (CDNs) are also a big part of the new vogue in cable’s engine room discussions.
And, this year’s nod for the geekiest paper title – and, notably, either this year’s batch is more approachable, or we’re getting geekier, because nothing popped out as shamelessly geek – we’ll go with “Evolving Optical Transport Networks to 100G Lambdas and Beyond,” by optics veteran Gaylord Hart, of Infinera, and HBO’s stalwart technologist, Craig Cuttner.
You can buy the whole set for $50, a price that hasn’t changed in a very long time. I highly recommend the CD-ROM (no printed book this year), but only if you’re into immersion learning.
This column originally appeared in the Platforms section of Multichannel News.