Wegener’s PSIP Aids

Wegener Corp. said Cox Communications Inc. and Charter Communications Inc. are testing its new lines of demodulator and multiplexer products, built to provide program-specific information protocol (PSIP) information mandated by the one-way plug-and-play interoperability agreement between the cable and consumer-electronics industries.

“The July 1 date had some people scrambling to change the firmware in their equipment,” said Wegener cable sales manager Bill Martin.

The firmware in question resides within cable headend demodulators and multiplexers, and allows MSOs to turn PSIP-related information on or off.

PSIP data contains information related to broadcast station channel and program information.

Historically, most operators turned that information off, since broadcast signals were typically remapped on their cable systems and the MSO’s own program guide carried information for all channels.

But with consumers able to buy one-way TV sets as of July 1 — and receive cable service without a set-top — operators must now pass through the PSIP information, so consumers can see TV schedule information through the native guide in the TV sets they bought.

Martin said Wegener began shipping its new DTV744 and DTV742 product line last year, in anticipation of the July 1, 2004 deadline. That equipment allowed MSOs to decide whether to switch the PSIP data on or off.

In addition to trials with Charter and Cox, Wegener is in discussions with Comcast Corp., Martin said.