NCTA — The Internet & Television Association

Top 5 Cable Tech Achievements 2013

Top 5 Cable Tech Achievements 2013


Cable speed, access, and content, all made huge leaps forward in 2013. So, as the final installment of our "Top 2013" lists, we wanted to give a nod to the cable tech that makes it all possible. 2013 technology helped redefine cable's role as an open platform of innovation, creativity, and endless possibility. If you haven't already seen them, check out our other lists, Top Programming Moments and Top Wi-Fi Gadgets 2013.




#5. Better User Interface

Interactive menus and intuitive design were the name of the game in 2013. While at The Cable Show 2013, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts presented X2, the latest in next generation cable UI. Soon after, Cox released Contour, their all-new web-based cable interface that works across multiple platforms. Cox and Comcast showed that cable companies are more than just content distributors – they’re your local neighborhood tech firm. You can see a video of Roberts’ X2 presentation here.

#4. Linear Content Streaming

We see a lot of chatter about TV Everywhere, but 2013 is one of the first years where consumers started to experience it across multiple brands and platforms. Cable channels like TBS, CNN, and National Geographic started offering apps that not only deliver on-demand programming and schedules, but live, real-time content viewing as well. As TV Everywhere applications improve and grow, expect to see more content available new ways, in more places, and on more devices than ever before.

#3. IPv6 Leadership

If you haven’t already heard of the end of IPv4, you’re sure to hear more in the future.  Essentially, the number of IP addresses – the unique codes that identify individual Internet connected devices – are running out. The solution is to transition to IPv6 – an effort easier said than done.  The full transition will take time and a huge investment across industries but cable has become a leader in preparing its networks for the transition. In fact, in 2013, Comcast’s Xfinity Internet became the world’s largest IPv6 deployment.

#2. Next Generation Broadband

Designed by cable’s non-profit research and development consortium CableLabs, DOCSIS 3.1 is the next evolution in broadband technology. Specs released in October  revealed DOCSIS 3.1 will be able to support home broadband speeds up to ten Gbps downstream and 1 Gbps upstream. If that weren’t enough, DOCSIS 3.1 technology will reduce traffic congestion, improve web application responsiveness, lower home energy consumption, and transmit up to 50 percent more data over existing networks. NASA even played a part in its development.  If it has one flaw, it would be the name. But I can forgive the marketing department when I’m downloading 10 gigs a second.

#1. Wi-Fi Everywhere

A world with near-limitless, fast and ubiquitous connectivity was once science fiction. Then came Wi-Fi. Homes, businesses and whole cities were connected and Internet connections became as easy to get as a cup of coffee. Cable alone added thousands of hotspots and, in 2013, that number officially hit 200,000. Today, for no extra charge, cable customers get fast Wi-Fi almost anywhere and, as spectrum becomes available, those hotspots will become even faster and easier to use. The tech may be over a decade old, but 200,000 hotspots is a significant milestone worth celebrating.