Fourth Phase of Digital Ad Insertion Work Shown at CableLabs®
Louisville, Colorado, October 31, 2002—CableLabs® has completed its fourth phase of digital ad insertion testing this week. Devices were tested for compliance with standards established by the Society of Cable and Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE).
The first three phases of the digital ad insertion testing were conducted last year and earlier this year. All four phases looked at SCTE standard 35 2001 (formerly DVS 253), which deals with digital program insertion cue messages for cable, and SCTE 30 2001 (formerly DVS 380), which deals with the digital program insertion splicing application program interface. Testing of each phase is built upon the testing of prior phases.
Returning companies participating in the phase 4 testing included BigBand Networks, Harmonic, nCube, SeaChange and Terayon Communications.
These vendors each completed new phase 4 tests and supported each other during the tests.
Each company also was allowed to be retested for issues arising during the prior phase3 tests.
Newcomers to the testing process were Adtec, Nextream, Sencore, and Wegener who �caught-up� by taking tests from past phases.
In addition to the phase 4 testing, advanced technology demonstrations were displayed; companies above were included, in addition to demonstrations by ACTV, Lifetime Movie Network, Scientific-Atlanta, and Visible World.
Phase 4 demonstrations included the following advanced functionality:
- Targeted Advertising Scenarios. These demonstrations utilized extensions of the Digital Program Insertion (DPI) technology and standards to show systems that place multiple advertisements into network avails, while allowing set-top box software to select an appropriate ad for each subscriber. Participating in this demonstration were ACTV, Visible World, SeaChange, nCube, and BigBand Networks.
- Programming Overtime and Early-end Scenarios. These demonstrations utilized the advanced capabilities of SCTE 35 2001 (DVS253) and an "in-progress standard" for uplink site cue message injectors that alert advertising equipment in a cable network headend of a sporting event that has gone into overtime (or has been rained-out). It then selects and inserts, in real-time, �correctly priced" advertisements. Participants in this demonstration included BigBand Networks, nCube, Harmonic, SeaChange, Terayon and Wegener.
- Live Network Insertion. This demonstration included real-time insertion of digital commercials into a digital program stream of a live network feed. This is a real-world application of already developed standards. Participants included Scientific-Atlanta, Lifetime Movie Network, nCube, and Terayon.
- High Definition Television. This demonstration showed high-definition commercials being spliced into digital programming, all within the digital domain. Participants included Terayon and nCube.
- Centralized/Distributed and Zoned Advertising. This demonstration showed an upstream splicing device performing a dual role of inserting local ads and distributing network feeds to downstream splicers via a GigE Internet Protocol (IP) network. The upstream splicer then performed conversions from MPEG transport to MPEG over UDP over IP for distribution via an IP network. Downstream splicers at each zone or node de-encapsulated the MPEG video before splicing local ads. Participants included BigBand, nCube, and SeaChange.
Although functional testing is being performed by CableLabs, no formal product certification is being conducted.
�We have made great strides in moving our industry�s capability for ad insertion into the digital realm and the work of the past few days, highlighted by several demonstrations, have greatly facilitated this technology advance,� said Dr. Mukta Kar, CableLabs Senior Advisor, Digital Network Architecture. Kar leads CableLabs efforts on ad insertion, assisted by Joe Davis, the co-chair of DVS Working Group 5 and a CableLabs consultant.
�We are finding that conducting these tests at CableLabs greatly promotes cross platform interoperability and facilitates faster, more cost-effective implementations,� said Paul Woidke, VP/Technology for Comcast Advertising Sales and chair of SCTE�s DVS Working Group 5.
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