Comcast taps Arris, Harmonic eQAMs for switched video
Comcast notified Arris and Harmonic on Friday that they were the winners in the edge QAM derby, with the first application being switched digital broadcast, otherwise known as switched digital video.
“I was positively surprised by the Arris win,” said Brian Coyne, an analyst with Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group. “Harmonic is the big incumbent in terms of edge QAMs, so they might get out of the gate a little faster, but given the fact that these edge QAMs are still in field testing, it’s too early to speculate on who will win the market share.”
Edge QAMs allow cable operators to share bandwidth across QAMs for services that will eventually include HD, VOD, Internet access and telephony.
“We are extremely honored to have been selected as a qualified vendor for next- generation edge QAM applications,” said Mike Caldwell, Arris’ senior director product management. “The Arris D5 is a versatile platform that supports QAM sharing for such service extensions as HD, SDV and VOD. Its modular architecture allows scaled deployments in any size system with a cost-effective roadmap to higher densities and performance.”
According to analyst Anton Wahlman, the selection of Arris and Harmonic “suggests that Comcast is moving forward with at least one of its early trial partners, Motorola and C-COR. Our guess would be Motorola, which has the complementary set-top software.”
To date, BigBand Networks has been the early mover and most widely deployed vendor in the switched broadcast arena, but the edge QAM selections could reduce BigBand’s role in Comcast’s overall deployment, according to Needham & Company analyst Anton Wahlman.