One of the attractions of DOCSIS 3.0 is that it provides the option of using the DOCSIS channel to transmit IP video. In a paper presented at the recent SCTE Conference on Emerging Technologies, two engineers from Motorola anticipate a rocketing increase in the demand for video, evaluate the problems that will cause, and suggest what appears to be a fairly elegant solution that works within the DOCSIS 3.0 framework.
Authors Michael Patrick and Gerald Joyce summarize their proposal in the title of their paper, "Delivering Economical IP Video Over DOCSIS by Bypassing the M-CMTS with DIBA."
They start by observing that the demand for video threatens to escalate dramatically. First, there's a growing number of devices that can play or process video. Secondly, consumers are agitating for what-I-want-when-I want-it (or WIWWIWI, which for convenience Patrick shortens to "wee-wee" [certainly spelled that way to avoid trademark infringement with Nintendo. But I digress…]).
Rising numbers of wee-wee customers will amplify the long-tail phenomenon, which basically says that even though the majority of people will confine their requests for content to a limited pool of only the most popular stuff (i.e., "Jackass" films and episodes of "The OC"), at least one person is going to ask for "An Inconvenient Truth" or episodes of "Firefly."
Patrick posited a peak-usage Saturday night on a node with 750 homes, 75 percent of which are cable subs (that's high; he knows), with 50 percent of those being wee-wee viewers. He assumes each of those homes is demanding two standard-def streams, or about 10 Mbps of bandwidth. Multiply through and an operator might need to have 2.8 Gbps per node, or 73 carriers - that's assuming SD, not HD, mind you. Operators typically set aside one carrier for DOCSIS and maybe four for VOD.
There's a significant disparity there between 73 carriers' worth of demand and 5 carriers available.
There are numerous ways to expand bandwidth per household, but an operator would still normally have to install more and more CMTSs as demand rises. But Patrick and Joyce suggest diverting a significant amount of the on-demand traffic away from the modular CMTS by routing IP video from the source directly through QAMs. They're calling it the DOCSIS IPTV Bypass Architecture (DIBA).
Three possible ways to bypass the M-CMTS to deliver IP video. These approaches
would variously require software updates to VOD servers, software updates for
the CMTS, different QAM implementations, or some combination thereof. DEPI
stands for the proposed DOCSIS external physical interface.
They propose several ways of routing IP video directly through edge QAMs, all of which are fairly simple and equally effective. The variations all rely on creating a tunnel through to the EQAM - a function that is inherent in the DOCSIS 3.0 architecture. The authors promise "a price-per-QAM that matches that of the most advanced, cost-reduced MPEG-2 EQAMs."
However it's done, if DIBA is to be used, it would first have to become part of DOCSIS 3.0. Patrick said they will be submitting the DIBA proposal to CableLabs for consideration. He anticipates that it might be a 6- to 12- page addendum to the DOCSIS 3.0 spec. Watch for it.
Tiscali to start IPTV service in U.K.
The U.K. unit of Italy's Tiscali, is planning to launch an IPTV service, called Tiscali TV, in March. Tiscali will also offer broadband data and voice service. Tiscali is said to be looking for someone to buy its U.K. operations. Possible buyers are said to include BT and Deutsche Telekom.
Pixelmetrix to showcase IPTV T&M gear
Pixelmetrix said it plans to showcase its IPTV test and monitoring systems at the IPTV World Forum 2007. The product demo line-up will include the DVStation-IP for IPTV Quality of Service Monitoring, DVStorIP-Gen for IPTV Stress Testing and DVStation210 Preventive Monitoring System.
of IPTV boxes to hit 19M in 2010
Demand for IP set-top boxes is growing, and will reach 19 million units in 2010, up from 4.3 million in 2006, according to In-Stat. The research, "IP Set-Top Box Market: Done Waiting For H.264" covers the worldwide market for IPTV set-tops. The research contains five-year worldwide forecasts broken down by region for unit shipments, ASPs, revenues, HD box unit shipments, DVR box unit shipments, and DVB-T integrated box unit shipments.
Compare and contrast those numbers with research from Strategy Analytics which found just under 6 million homes worldwide at the end of 2006 tuning in to an IPTV service, and also projected a total exceeding 80 million by 2011 (story here).
Nobody's abandoning their TVs yet
While the usage statistics from online video sites and traffic reports about peer-to-peer activity justifiably merit the attention they're getting, the vast majority of consumers are hardly abandoning their TVs for their PCs yet. Four percent of all adults over age 18 in the U.S. watch video online at home daily and an additional 14 percent do so at least once a week. Meanwhile, 93 percent of adults spend at least one hour a day, on average, watching TV, according to Leichtman Research Group (LRG).
While total online video usage has increased in the past year, the percentage of adults watching online video remains relatively unchanged. The same people are consuming more online video.
Corvette selects Verimatrix for IPTV in Moscow
Corvette Telecom has signed on Verimatrix to provide digital video content security on its IP network. Corvette is currently rolling out a fiber network to provide triple play services to customers in Moscow. The company plans to reach 600,000 homes by the end of 2007.
AT&T completes rollout of Homezone
AT&T now has its Homezone service available in Connecticut, the last market in its original 13-state territory to get the service. Homezone uses a residential gateway, currently supplied by 2Wire, to make a wireless connection between viewers' PCs and their set-tops, so that viewers can tap content on their PCs and bring it to their TVs.
Homezone is currently limited to AT&T customers who subscribe to AT&T Yahoo! High Speed Internet, AT&T | Dish Network satellite TV (from EchoStar), and AT&T Home Networking, plus Homezone, which is an additional $9.99 a month.
AT&T Homezone subs can access movie downloads from MovieLink, and soon, Akimbo, pictures from their AT&T Yahoo! Photos account, and AT&T Yahoo! LAUNCHcast radio. Homezone customers will also be able to access movie show times and reviews from AT&T Yahoo! Movies, and with AT&T Yahoo! Web Remote they'll be able to schedule and manage DVR recordings through a Web browser on their PCs.
Moto has phone adapter, router for Vonage Canada
In support of Vonage Canada's VoIP service, Motorola Canada now has available its VT2142 phone adapter and router. This new Motorola device can connect up to two Vonage lines through a high-speed connection, and includes a networking router. The Motorola adapter/router is available on-line for free after an $89.99 instant rebate.
EarthLink signs telemarketer for VoIP
EarthLink is partnering with TMone to promote EarthLink's Internet voice products. TMone, a telesales and database marketing firm, will provide marketing sales support for EarthLink's trueVoice and DSL and Home Phone Service. TMone, which has a database of 38 million broadband subscribers, also provides services for Vonage, Packet8, and SunRocket.
O1 delivers hosted VoIP using Acme Packet gear
Acme Packet said O1 Communications has deployed its Net-Net session border controllers (SBCs) to support multiple applications to small- and medium-sized enterprises throughout the West Coast and to wholesale service providers worldwide. The Net-Net SBCs provide the secure and seamless interconnection of IP networks necessary for the delivery of high-quality IP Centrex, business trunking and PSTN termination services.
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Chunghwa Telecom selects Alvarion's WiMAX
Taiwanese telecom service provider Chunghwa Telecom will get its WiMAX equipment from Alvarion. Using BreezeMAX, Chungwa Telecom will deliver a range of data services including Internet access, VoIP and support for mobile medical, business and education applications to underserved residents in Nantou County, a rugged mountainous region of central Taiwan.
D-Link intros routers for 3G broadband
D-Link unveiled a family of 3G mobile broadband wireless routers. The D-Link 3G Mobile Wireless Routers allow users to create an 802.11g/b-compatible wireless hotspot anywhere within range of a cellular network. By plugging a compatible 3G notebook adapter into the D-Link 3G Mobile Router's built-in card bus slot, users can get immediate access to EV-DO, UMTS or HSDPA networks. The D-Link router can then share this signal via 802.11g/b Wi-Fi technology to notebooks, PCs or other Wi-Fi-enabled devices. The D-Link routers are available in two versions, one specifically for EV-DO networks, the other for UMTS/HSDPA networks. The router is available now for a suggested retail price of $299.99.
Qwest HSD, DirecTV subs contribute to Q4 profit
Qwest Communications added 165,000 Internet subscribers in the fourth quarter, compared with 140,000 a year earlier. Qwest now tallies a total of 2.14 million high-speed data customers. The company said it benefited from strong demand for its "Price for Life" promotion, which offers new Qwest Choice DSL Deluxe (1.5 Mbps) and Qwest Choice DSL Premium (3-5 Mbps) customers who sign a two-year term commitment a fixed price for life.
Qwest also added 78,000 net DirecTV subscribers in the quarter for a total of 366,000. The company posted a fourth quarter profit of $194 million, compared with a net loss of $528 million in Q4 2005. Revenue was essentially flat at $3.49 billion, up from $3.48 billion a year ago.
EarthLink posts loss while shifting to broadband services
EarthLink in its fourth-quarter added 29,000 net broadband customers, despite a one-time reduction of 19,000 subscribers related to a broadband partner's database reconciliation. EarthLink now has 1.88 million broadband subs. The net growth in broadband customers included 12,000 net voice subscribers, EarthLink's best quarter for voice subscriber additions. Net narrowband subscribers declined by 29,000 to end the quarter at 3.3 million.
The company still posted a $24.8 million quarterly loss, compared to a $29 million profit in the fourth quarter of 2005, with results dragged down by Helio, EarthLink's joint venture with SK Telecom. On the bright side, Helio revenue is growing rapidly, according to EarthLink, and it had about 70,000 subs at the end of the quarter.
AT&T U-verse to include Music Choice
AT&T scored a distribution agreement with Music Choice that will allow it to deliver dozens of Music Choice digital audio music channels as part of its U-verse TV channel lineup. Audio will be accompanied by visual content such as artist photos, album, song and artist information.