Harmonic beefs up gateway product suite
Harmonic Inc. today took the wraps off two new gateway products - one aimed at simplifying video-on-demand deployments over cable systems, and another that cable operators can use to access and distribute digital signals.
The new NSG 8200 is an addition to Harmonic's Narrowcast Services Gateway (NSG) product family that allows MSOs to deliver VOD within their networks by using Gigabit Ethernet (GbE).
Like its predecessor the NSG 8100, a companion product that supports open standards-based environments, the NSG 8200 increases MSOs choices on how to structure their VOD network and take advantage of GbE transport technology. It also allows MSOs to overcome key deployment obstacles by using their existing conditional access systems that are based on proprietary encryption methods.
The NSG gateways allow cable operators to use GbE technology. A single GbE stream carries approximately 240 MPEG-2 channels, thereby reducing the number of streams and video servers required to provide VOD service.
The NSG 8200 is specifically designed for centralized VOD architectures, where the VOD server is centrally located and the QAM devices reside in the distributed hubs. It features a DVB-ASI output, a proven interface for legacy QAM devices.
Additionally, Harmonic introduced the Broadcast Network Gateway (BNG) family of products to enable MSOs to more cost-effectively access and distribute programming. Cable operators may use the gateways to source high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) content from both premium and local off-air channels while preserving digital picture quality. The multifunctional gateways provide a variety of inputs and outputs, including Gigabit Ethernet, DVB-ASI and QAM RF.
An initial application for the BNG is the digital cable turnaround of premium channels from satellite and off-air ATSC television feeds. In this application, programming is sourced via the four ASI inputs and then distributed from two DVB-ASI or QAM RF outputs. The DVB-ASI outputs feed premium channels to downstream scramblers while the 256 QAM RF outputs can feed broadcast signals to an HFC plant.
In a modulation application, the BNG can be used as a modulator/upconverter with four QAM RF outputs. In a centralized system, it provides a dense modulation solution. In a distributed system, it can change frequency mapping. The BNG 6000 series also supports DVB scrambling applications.
At the regional headend or hub, the BNG supports both existing fixed or switched network transports. As an edge device for MPEG-over-IP distribution networks, the BNG works with an ATM-based or native IP-based transport.