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The multiplex meets outer space

June 16th, 2014

chickenlittle poster Disney

In the Walt Disney Pictures movie “Chicken Little,” a piece of sky falls on the head of the animated protagonist voiced by actor Zach Braff, setting off the dramatic progression that delighted fans of the 2005 release.

It’s fitting that the sky plays a significant role in the film, because behind the scenes, the animated 3D feature broke new ground by becoming not only the first commercial picture to be delivered at scale to theaters digitally, but the first to make extensive use of satellite communications technology.

Here’s the rest of the story I wrote for SatMagazine.

For the love of bandwidth…

June 16th, 2014

Net Neutrality iStock_000015498827SmallIn the raging debate over network neutrality, there’s one thing nobody questions: the need for mo’ bandwidth. Here, a panel of tech and policy experts spells out what’s at stake. From the University of New Hampshire’s Broadband Center of Excellence website.

The Internet takes over channel 37

June 10th, 2014

My deep-dive into a little-known but emerging technology that uses television airwaves to transmit high-speed Internet signals. Written for the University of New Hampshire’s Broadband Center of Excellence.

TVWS TV in Field istock

Pretty sweet site, right?

June 10th, 2014

Clearleap web page

Everything you always wanted to know about digital video file preparation and delivery. And don’t pretend you weren’t curious.

It’s the new website for Clearleap, where great people do cool things to get television to appear on all the screens of your life. This client is a favorite of mine, in part because they have a foosball table in the lunchroom. Had good times writing this copy and seeing it go live.

When television froze

June 10th, 2014

How the FCC of the 1940s set the stage for the Internet of tomorrow. From my retrospective column in CED Magazine.

In September of 1948, the average high temperature in Washington, D.C., was 79.8 degrees Fahrenheit, off just a tick from the historical average of 80.7. So it’s ironic that September would go down in history as the month of the Big Freeze – at least in the television business.

The freeze referred to an FCC decision to halt spectrum allocations for television broadcasting. At the time, 108 stations were on the air, and demand was mounting for permission to beam moving pictures and sound over frequencies within the 50 to 294 MHz range, a prized swath notable for its ability to convey signals over wide ranges and to penetrate walls. Read the rest of this entry »

A TV Everywhere success story

June 9th, 2014

This case study I wrote for Clearleap goes behind-the-scenes to describe what it takes to bring television into the era of smartphones, tablets, game consoles and other video thingamajigs. And how one content company hopes to profit from it.

Introducing the ambient Internet

April 7th, 2014

Some of these insights about the future of the Internet have really struck a chord. They’re not all cheery, and some are downright dystopian, but they make for provocative reading. Thanks to Pew Research for rounding up the quotes and ideas.

Here’s my article, Where the Web Is Taking Us, from the Broadband Center of Excellence.

Digital media subscriptions: why semantics matter

February 26th, 2014

addressable house

Asking which content provider has more subscribers fuzzes up the reality: In many cases they’re the same people. Here’s a take from zonewire.net that my high school semantics teacher would have appreciated.

Live from the show at SCTE 2013

February 26th, 2014

What exactly am I doing standing in front of a giant gasoline tank with SCTE CEO Mark Dzuban? Talking shop as part of CED Magazine’s “Live from the Show” series, that’s what. Here’s Dzuban on emergency preparedness and why it’s important to broadband network operators — and those who rely on them.

SCTE Dzuban Photo

Highway star

February 26th, 2014

Dwight D. Eisenhower never got to experience the power of broadband. But here’s a guess that he would have enjoyed the ride. From a Memory Lane column in CED Magazine. (And a little Richie Blackmore tossed in, too.)

In the summer of 1919, a convoy of 81 U.S. Army vehicles began a cross-country journey from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco. Traveling at an average speed of 6 miles an hour, 24 officers and 258 soldiers lurched across parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, the open plains of the Midwest and over the Rocky Mountains before reaching their destination 62 days and 3,251 miles later. The convoy hewed more or less to the Lincoln Highway, a two-lane, rock-surfaced road that was the nation’s first transcontinental driving route. It was intentionally an arduous trip, arranged shortly after the end of World War I and meant to test whether it would be possible to move a self-sufficient military procession across the country. Read the rest of this entry »