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Motorola to handle HD encoding chores for Starz

Fri, 08/31/2007 - 9:35am
Mike Robuck

Motorola announced that Starz Entertainment will use its HD MPEG encoding system for the upcoming launch of Starz’ new HD channels. Motorola’s technology encrypts and modulates HD signals within a single integrated transmission system.

Starz will be launching Starz Comedy, Starz Edge and Starz Kids & Family by using Motorola’s modular uplink system that will support Starz’s planned migration to MPEG-4 compression.

Motorola’s MPEG-4 AVC technology handles both 1920 x 1080I and 1280 x 720P resolutions at approximately half the bandwidth required with similar MPEG-2 coded signals.

A key feature of the enhanced content delivery chain is Motorola’s new DSR4410MD multi-program demodulator/decryptor. The one rack-unit product receives DVB-S2 modulated signals and decrypts up to 64 services from a single MPEG-2 transport stream. Motorola said testing with Starz signals has shown reliable transmission at 77.5 Mbps using a 36 MHz, C-Band transponder, which translates into four-to-five MPEG-2 HD streams or as many as 10 MPEG-4/AVC HD streams.

"We were very pleased with the quality and efficiency offered by Motorola’s new modular uplink system," said Ray Milius, senior vice president, programming operations for Starz Entertainment, in a statement. "Both the MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 HD encoders interfaced seamlessly with the access control and transmission system in use today, so adding current and future HD services is very straightforward.” 

Cable operators look forward to optimizing the bandwidth savings that MPEG-4 offers, but they also face the issue of the legacy MPEG-2 boxes that are currently deployed in the field. With broadcasters such as Starz and HBO moving to HD MPEG-4, cable operators are expected to start taking delivery of MPEG-4 enabled set-top boxes next year.

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