HBO, Turner Join SCTE Standards Program

HBO and Turner Broadcasting System have joined the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers' standards-setting program, as part of SCTE's new push to recruit cable programmers as organizational members.
HBO and Turner -- both divisions of Time Warner Inc. -- will be "actively involved" in the creation of national and international standards designed to accelerate delivery of "new digital video services that can attract and retain subscribers and increase revenue for the cable industry," the SCTE said in an announcement.
They join Discovery Communications, an existing participant in the SCTE standards-setting program.
"The growth of digital video has created a variety of situations where the needs of programmers often intersect with those of cable operators and vendors," SCTE vice president of standards Steve Oksala said. "Our hope is that more programmers will follow the lead of HBO, Turner and Discovery and work with us from start to finish, shaping standards that address the concerns of the entire industry."
The SCTE's Digital Video Standards subcommittee has developed more than two dozen industry standards. The subcommittee's road map is expected to include activity in such areas as HD video, 3DTV, audio and targeted advertising.
"For our industry to gain the greatest benefit from innovation, programmers and operators need to be assured of the flawless delivery of video content and advertising," said Mike DeHart, Turner vice president of distribution and technology. "As an Organizational Standards Member, we can help to drive knowledge of the specific needs of the programming community, and can anticipate how standards under discussion can impact the media ecosystem.
Craig Cuttner, HBO's senior vice president of advanced technology, said the creation of standards is frequently a "cumulative process" and noted that the industry's experience on the video-on-demand front has become valuable in developing advertising-insertion standards. "This is just one example of why it is extremely important for programmers to maintain a high level of involvement, and ensure that the process reflects as much of the collective vision of the industry as possible," Cuttner said.
The SCTE Standards Program is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and also is recognized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as a forum for the development of cable telecommunications industry technical specifications.