Cable Television Laboratory and Pioneer Announce Joint Cooperation for Transmission Technology for Digital CATV
February 15, 1994—Cable Television Laboratories, (CableLabs®) and Pioneer Electronic Corporation of Japan today announced their intention to cooperate in Pioneer's development of a feasible scheme for digital signal transmission technology for North America cable television systems in an attempt to realize the next generation CATV network, the Digital CATV network.
Pioneer will take part in technical development of transmission technology and special LSIs, and CableLabs will provide technical facilitation and testing assistance. The results of the joint work including the LSIs will be compiled by the spring of 1995.
The 16VSB Scheme is suitable for high volume data transmission. Since a circuit of the terminal can be designed theoretically small in size, cost for consumers will be economical. And it is relatively easy to transfer a conventional analog terminal to a digital system by adapting a digital circuit which Pioneer is going to develop. Thus, compatibility with the existing system can be maintained.
Pioneer intends to investigate 16VSB (Vestigial Side Band) Transmission which is a high speed data transmission mode for CATV networks. There is another mode called QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulations) which will also be studied.
The U.S. CATV industry is now stepping forward to build the next generation CATV system that is often expressed by buzz words like "multimedia" and "full service network" (FSN) in the background of "Information Superhighway" concept advocated by the Clinton Administration. Limitless possibility and expandability of its application such as Video-On-Demand, Pay-Per-View, Game, TV Shopping, Home Banking, etc. are now gaining growing attention. The first step to approach the next generation CATV system is a realization of an ultra-multichannel system with more than 500 channels using digital compression technology. However, a vital element for the U.S. CATV industry to realize the next generation CATV network is to use the existing cable plant without significant changes, and therefore many technological developments for such purpose are under way.
Digital signal transmission technology for cable television that Pioneer will develop is a key among others to a prompt realization of the next generation CATV system. Because CATV is already serviced to more than 60% of the U.S. households and compatibility with the existing system has to be essentially preserved in upgrading the system, laying down optical fiber cable to each home is still unrealistic. The most realistic way is to use both optical fiber cable for the trunk and the existing coaxial cable already being led to the homes. And it is anticipated that this situation will continue to last for a long time.
Back in 1977, Pioneer entered the U.S. CATV industry with the world's first two way addressable CATV system named "Qube" which was jointly developed with Warner Cable Communications for the region of Columbus, Ohio. Since then, Pioneer has expanded the CATV business through various technological developments and proposals, and more than 150 U.S. regions nationwide are now using Pioneer systems. Currently Pioneer is positioned as the third largest system supplier, and the largest among Japanese suppliers in the U.S.A.
In 1991, Pioneer supplied a 150 channel analog system for Brooklyn and Queens in New York and Time Warner Cable started near-video-on-demand services by the use of pay-per-view. It drew great attention and it is safe to say that the system is the most sophisticated one as an analog CATV system. One the other hand, Pioneer has already prepared for the digital CATV age by developing a LSI chip set for decoders applicable to the MPEG-2 standard for digital image data compression. (Announced May 25, 1993)
Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. (CableLabs) was established in May 1988 as a research and development consortium of cable television system operators representing more than 85% of the cable subscribers in the United States. It also has members representing 70% of the subscribers in Canada and 10% of the subscribers in Mexico. CableLabs plans and funds R&D projects that will help members take advantage of future opportunities and meet future challenges in the television industry. It also transfers relevant technologies to member companies and industry suppliers. In addition, CableLabs acts as a clearinghouse to provide information on current and prospective technological developments that are of interest to the cable television industry.
About CableLabs: Cable Television Laboratories (www.cablelabs.com) was founded in 1988 by members of the cable television industry. A non-profit research and development consortium, CableLabs delivers innovations that enable cable operators to be the providers of choice in their markets. Cable operators from around the world are members. CableLabs maintains web sites at www.cablelabs.com; www.packetcable.com; www.cablemodem.com; www.cablenet.org, and www.opencable.com.
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