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News summary for 4/16/07

Mon, 04/16/2007 - 11:15am

Harmonic offers new VOD capability, software app, gateway
By Traci Patterson, CED

Harmonic Inc. said its new VOD capabilities for non-real-time content delivery, on its StreamLiner 2000 video server product line, are now available. The company also introduced the new LIVEcut scheduler and an enhanced ingest gateway solution for its on-demand software.

The new VOD download capability allows video servers to download assets to STB hard drives, in addition to the existing support available on the StreamLiner platform for real-time VOD sessions, the company said.

The VOD capability is designed for service providers such as satellite direct-to-home (DTH), terrestrial (DVB-T) and telco operators who are unable to guarantee or deliver a real-time VOD service today.

Harmonic said it has also debuted LIVEcut, a software app that enables service providers to automate the capture of broadcast video content for on-demand apps such as VOD, time-shifted TV or network personal video recording (nPVR).

And Ingest Gateway, a workflow system for managing the ingest of offline assets, has been integrated with the company’s CLEARcut storage encoding solution to facilitate the video processing needed prior to storage on the StreamLiner 2000.

Harmonic offers a fully IP-based on-demand video solution, encompassing content creation, preparation, ingest, asset management and distribution. Software-based solutions from Harmonic support VOD, near VOD, time-shifted TV, nPVR, barker channels and advertisement insertion.

Harmonic will demonstrate LIVEcut, Ingest Gateway, CLEARcut and the new VOD capability at the NAB exhibition in Las Vegas April 16-19.

BitBand’s VOD servers off to Italy
By Traci Patterson, CED

BitBand’s new Vision 880 video-on-demand servers are being installed throughout FastWeb’s points of presence in Italy.

The servers will allow FastWeb—Italy’s second-largest fixed telephony operator—to expand its delivery of IPTV, VOD, network personal video recording (nPVR) and Catch-Up TV services with higher streaming throughput and increased storage capacity, BitBand said.

The servers employ BitBand X:Stream, the company's new streaming technology offering more than 7 Gbps streaming throughput and storage of up to 10,000 hours of H.264 SD video on a standard server platform, the company said. The servers will add more than 100 Terabytes of storage to FastWeb’s IPTV network.

FastWeb operates in more than 130 Italian cities via a network of more than 22,000 kilometers.

SA decoder boosts DBS bandwidth
By Brian Santo, CED

Scientific Atlanta announced a new Advanced Program Receiver that supports multiple conditional access (CA) systems and features a streamlined path for delivering more video over satellite bandwidth using DVB-S2, the second-generation standard for digital video broadcasting via satellite.

SA first alluded to the new decoder last week (see Cisco/SA intros passel of new vid products at NAB).

The new decoder’s support for the DVB-S2 modulation standard, which expands the content carrying capacity of existing satellites by up to 30 percent, together with the bandwidth improvements of SA’s own MPEG-4 advanced video encoders, provides programmers and broadcasters with the ability to deliver more content over satellite transponders.

“In addition to support for multiple CA systems, this receiver has bandwidth-efficiency improvements for just about everyone: DVB-S2, high definition, standard definition, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 advanced video coding and MPEG over IP outputs, all in one receiver," said Dean Rockwell, vice president and general manager, SA Digital Media Networks. "These multiple capabilities will be extremely valuable to help meet the increased demand for HD programming that is generating a bandwidth challenge for content owners and creators.”

Gemstar-TV Guide betas online video listings
By Brian Santo, CED

Gemstar-TV Guide International has up and running the beta version of its Online Video Guide, a guide for video content on the Internet.

TV Guide’s Online Video Guide will index videos from more than 55 major entertainment-focused Web sites, including broadcast and cable network-affiliated sites, among others.

Other search sites are available. TV Guide is trying to distinguish itself with richer search functions, including the ability to browse videos by top videos, top TV shows, top celebrities, and also by network or genre.

Rich Cusick, Gemstar-TV Guide's senior vice president and general manager, digital media, said, “It's a logical extension for us as we continue to focus on providing guidance on platforms beyond just linear television."

While focused on professionally-generated content, TV Guide said it will also highlight popular clips on non-professional sites.

The Online Video Guide is supported by advertising and includes a number of interactive advertising features. The Online Video Guide is built on the new Microsoft.NET Framework 3.0 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. SharePoint is the key technology used to index and catalog video metadata, while providing quick and relevant search results.

Scopus and Neotion team to provide advanced H.264 decoding solution
By Brian Santo, CED

Scopus Video Networks has integrated its IRD-2900 integrated receiver decoders with Neotion’s  MPEG-4 conditional access module (CAM). The combined product targets broadcasters and cable, terrestrial, telco, and satellite operators and is immediately available to the Scopus customer base.

The plug-in module, a unique version of Neotion's MPEG-4 CAM, enables operators using Scopus' MPEG-2 IRD-2900s to perform a field upgrade to an H.264 system.

The combination can perform re-encoding, format conversion monitoring, and content distribution. The solution also enables cable and telco operators to distribute H.264 content to edges where a full decoding to analog is performed, saving up to 50 percent in bandwidth over satellite and IP infrastructures, by Scopus’ estimation. 

Ikanos expands into FTTH gateway market
By Brian Santo, CED

Ikanos Communications has expanded into the fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) residential gateway market with a new gateway processor. The Fusiv Vx170 supports gigabit packet processing and enables integrated security, voice and wire speed quality of service (QoS).

Based on Ikanos’ Fusiv architecture, the Vx170 supports most major local area network (LAN) and wide area network (WAN) interfaces, including 802.11n, MoCA, HomePNA and Power Line Communication.

The chip, which draws less than 2.5 watts of power, has a RISC CPU, dedicated DSP engines for voice-over-IP (VoIP) and multiple Accelerator Processors. By offloading various tasks across several Accelerator Processors, most of the Vx170’s RISC CPU’s processing power is available for customer applications, Ikanos said.

The Vx170 is designed to offer 2.7 GHz of processing power, which ensures that the Vx170 meets the processing needs of current and future applications.

BelAir and Cheetah run with wireless network
By Traci Patterson, CED

BelAir Networks and Cheetah Wireless Technologies Inc. (CWTI) are collaborating to enable high-speed wireless Internet access throughout Primm, Nev.

Primm Valley Casino Resorts is the city’s main attraction with three casinos, two golf courses and the Desperado, a top 10 U.S. rollercoaster. The city hosts about 400,000 visitors a year, and, upon completion, the deployment will cover all casinos and hotels, as well as a 300-unit campground, several truck stops, an outlet mall and two square miles of outdoor coverage.

“Cheetahnetwork” will offer tiered service levels at hourly, daily, weekly and monthly rates.

Las Vegas-based CWTI and BelAir are also collaborating on the launch of a broadband mesh network delivering high-speed Wi-Fi access along The Strip in Sin City.

Broadband Briefs for 4/16/07

* CommScope funds scholarship for Cox alum
CommScope Inc. has given a $5,000 contribution to Southern Polytechnic State University.

The gift will fund a scholarship program in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology (ECET) department in honor of alumnus Ken Williams, director of engineering technology for Cox Communications Inc., CommScope said. Williams received the 2007 Polaris Award, sponsored by CommScope, for his achievement and commitment to HFC networks for commercial services apps.

* OpenTV ‘participates’ in licensing agreement
OpenTV Corp. has entered a multi-year licensing agreement with Active Loop Television for its OpenTV Participate system.

Participate will serve as the central interactive TV business management system for Active, which provides more than 2,500 hours of programming in 13 countries each month. The service will enable participation TV format creation and competition management, and it will also provide extensive analysis and reporting tools, the company said.

* Cyber Digital to acquire telecom, CLEC
Cyber Digital Inc. has received approval from the FCC and the states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Massachusetts and Florida to transfer control of New Rochelle Telephone Corp. and CLEC Telecarrier Services Inc. to Cyber Digital.

Cyber Digital expects official written orders of these approvals within the next few weeks, with a closing date expected before May 12. The acquisition will initially bring Cyber Digital $7.4 million in revenue and $800,000 in profit. The company expects revenue to grow to $12.2 million, with a profit of $2.1 million, after one year.

* Modulus Video to use Dolby Digital Plus in MPEG-4 encoders
Modulus Video has taken the first license of Dolby Digital Plus for a professional broadcast video encoder. The company said the integration of Dolby Digital Plus C-Source code enables native Dolby Digital Plus professional encoding within its ME2000 Series Multi-Format MPEG-4 AVC Encoders and the new MRE2000 Series Multi-Format MPEG-4 AVC Receiver Encoders, which are designed for delivering real-time MPEG-4 AVC HD or SD services at low bit rates.

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