News summary for 9/07/07

Fri, 09/07/2007 - 10:07am
CED staff

Harmonic strengthens its hand in VOD
By Brian Santo

Harmonic continues to insinuate itself into the on-demand market. Leveraging its encoders and transcoders, Harmonic is positioning the ability to quickly translate video from any video format to any other as a foundational capability for providing, on-demand, any piece of content on any delivery platform.

To that end, Harmonic introduced MediaPrism, a suite of content preparation tools aimed at taking video from any source - including tapes, DVD, live broadcast, Web or user-generated content - and preparing for presentation on-demand.

MediaPrism integrates Harmonic’s Clearcut offline storage encoding, Livecut scheduler, Rhozet Carbon Coder universal transcoding solution, and Ingest Gateway.

The key element is the transcoder, which Harmonic picked up with its recent acquisition of Rhozet. The transcoder allows Harmonic to take just about any video and quickly turn it into a VOD asset.

Shahar Bar, the company’s director of on-demand solutions, said, “The combination of MediaPrism with Harmonic's Armada intelligent content management application and StreamLiner video servers provides a more comprehensive solution for high-quality VOD services.”

A new example of the type of application Harmonic is trying to enable is provided by Israeli satellite provider Yes. Harmonic just announced that Yes will use the Carbon Coder to enable a new Internet-based, broadband video-on-demand (VOD) service. Yes will take video prepared for satellite and recode it in Windows Media format for delivery over the Web.

Separately, Harmonic said that Portugal Telecom has deployed its DiviCom Electra MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) encoders to power its IPTV service, called Meo. The digital video headend includes the Electra 7000 high definition (HD) encoders and Electra 5400 standard definition (SD) encoders. Portugal Telecom’s IPTV service runs on the Microsoft Mediaroom multimedia and IPTV software platform. The overall system was designed and integrated by Alcatel-Lucent.

Cisco expands high-speed channel-bonding solution
By Traci Patterson

Cisco has extended its high-speed channel-bonding solution - designed to deliver broadband services at up to 100 Mbps - with its new EPC2607 channel-bonded cable modem with an embedded media terminal adapter (EMTA) that integrates VoIP services.

“Consumers are increasingly demanding 'many services to many screens,' resulting in more bandwidth demands on the network than ever before," said George Stromeyer, VP and managing director of the EMEA Region at Scientific Atlanta. “To help cable operators meet these demands over their existing networks, our channel-bonding technology uses multiple channels to deliver more packets simultaneously, providing much higher throughput performance compared to existing downstream speeds.”

The EPC2607 supports downstream channel bonding, defined by CableLabs' DOCSIS 3.0 specifications, and the automatic discovery of bonding groups, but it is also backward-compatible for use as a single channel cable modem with Euro-DOCSIS 1.1/1.0 and 2.0 networks.

Cisco’s downstream channel-bonding solution includes the Cisco uBR10012 cable modem termination systems (CMTS), high-density xDQA-24 eQAMs, and cable modems from Scientific Atlanta and Linksys.

Cisco’s EPC26707 will be on display at IBC 2007.

C-Cor bows new segmentable cabinet node
By  Mike Robuck

C-Cor will introduce its new segmentable cabinet node at next week’s IBC 2007 show in Amsterdam.

C-Cor said its Opti Max 2100 1 GHz Segmentable Cabinet Node (OM2100) is the industry’s first 1 GHz fully-segmentable cabinet node that offers “pay-as-you-grow” capacity expansion. C-Cor’s node expands forward capacity by both extending bandwidth and segmenting smaller service groups.

Cable operators have been trending toward smaller service groups, along with using new technologies such as switched digital video, in order to free up bandwidth for additional or expanded services such as VOD, HDTV, high-speed data and VoIP.

"Customers around the world have urged us to build a fully-segmentable 1 GHz node that extends targeted service capacity for video-on-demand, HDTV, and high-speed data services for fiber-deep configurations," said C-Cor’s Bill Dawson, vice president, Access Strategy, in a statement.

"Giving service providers a reliable pay-as-you-grow approach to expanding HFC network capacity puts them in the best competitive position going forward."

The modular product, which C-COR will start shipping in the fourth quarter of calendar 2007, is compatible with C-Cor's Opti Max 2000 node and offers a comparable configuration with increased functionality and performance.

SeaChange debuts 72 TB storage for broadcast video
By Mike Robuck

SeaChange International is taking the wraps off a new storage system designed for broadcast video at IBC. The SeaChange Drawer of Drives supports up to 72 terabytes of storage, which amounts to more than 3,300-plus hours of HD content at 50 Mbps, in a 10-inch-high chassis.

As broadcasters transition over to HD video, Drawer of Drives gives broadcasters a core storage system that can help meet the demands of HD video workflows.

SeaChange said the Drawer of Drives is compatible with a wide range of servers and that it will conserve broadcast operation space along with reducing power consumption. The storage expansion chassis is slated for release early next year.

“SeaChange is firmly committed to supporting broadcasters’ transition to HD with technology that increases efficiency and reliability while also scaling as operations inevitably evolve,” said Chris West, vice president of broadcast sales, SeaChange International, in a statement.

Scientific Atlanta powers T-Com Montenegro’s IPTV launch
By Mike Robuck

Scientific Atlanta has provided headend gear for T-Com Montenegro’s (Crnogorski Telekom) IPTV service that is slated to launch later this year.

The service is expected to deliver up to 60 channels of SD digital programming using a variety of Scientific Atlanta equipment, including more than 60 D9034 MPEG-4 AVC standard-definition encoders, nearly 70 Model D9844 and D9850 receivers, analog terrestrial receivers, network adaptation equipment, and the company’s ROSA Network and Element Management and Control System.

The new headend will help enable T-Com Montenegro, one of the T family companies of Deutsche Telecom, to acquire video content via satellite, off-air or from other networks, descramble the signals, encode the video streams using MPEG-e Advanced Video Coding (AVC) and stream IP video to its customers.

"Flexibility and rapid time-to-market with our new video service are critical elements for T-Com Montenegro as we enter the video marketplace and launch this exciting new service in 2007," said Vuk Gojnic, director of network development at T-Com Montenegro, in a statement. "We want our customers to be among the 4.5 million IPTV viewers in Europe that research indicates will be enjoying this high-quality service by the end of this year."

NCTA launches ads about digital transition
By Traci Patterson

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) has launched a consumer education campaign, designed to reach millions of cable and non-cable viewers and inform them about the digital transition.

In a letter to leaders of Congress, NCTA President and CEO Kyle McSlarrow said: “As many have pointed out, the simplest and most direct route to communicating with television viewers is through television itself. Thus, we are making a substantial commitment to air $200 million of English and Spanish language advertising on cable and broadcast television stations and networks.

That advertising campaign will start this week and will not conclude until February 2009.”

In addition to TV advertising, the NCTA has created informational Web site material, in both English and Spanish.

Orca, muvee pair up for IPTV movie-making app
By Traci Patterson

Orca Interactive and muvee have developed LivePhotos, the first-ever application for automatic movie-making over IPTV platforms, the companies said.

LivePhotos combines Orca’s user-generated content (UGC) capabilities with muvee’s automatic video editing and photo movie software. Orca and muvee are considering jointly marketing the application as a stand-alone solution that is compatible with all IPTV platform types. The application is expected to launch later this year.

The application will enable subscribers to create personalized video albums from their photographs and video clips.

Orca will demonstrate LivePhotos, which is based on the RiGHTv scalable architecture, at IBC 2007

Broadcom adds new STB chip; throws in with OpenTV

By Brian Santo

Broadcom announced its latest iteration of its system-on-a-chip (SoC) for cable, satellite and IP set-top boxes (STBs). Rendered in the latest processing technology (65 nm), the new chip should help lower costs of HD set-tops incorporating a wide range of video compression standards and networked personal video recorder (PVR) functionality.

The BCM7405 also offers support for digital rights management solutions, including Microsoft DRM10, Secure Video Processor (SVP) technology (a joint venture between NDS and STMicroelectronics) and Marlin JDA (a joint development association formed by Intertrust Technologies, Matsushita Electric Industrial [Panasonic], Royal Philips Electronics, Samsung Electronics and Sony Corporation).

Samples are now available to early access customers. Pricing is available upon request. Reference designs are also available.

Separately, Broadcom said it is working with OpenTV on new cable, satellite, IP and terrestrial-based set-top box products with advanced features and capabilities.

Motorola MPEG-4 encoder good to go in Microsoft IPTV systems
By Brian Santo

Motorola has joined the Microsoft Mediaroom Interoperability and Qualification Lab (IQ Lab) for digital video encoders, which will allow the two to assure that the former’s encoders will work in deployments of the latter’s Mediaroom deployments.

Motorola announced its participation after having already submitted its SE-5100 High Definition MPEG-4 AVC encoder for testing.

"Microsoft Mediaroom's interoperability with Motorola's MPEG-4 encoder means that our global service provider customers will find it easier and faster to deliver advanced connected TV services," said Christine Heckart, general manager of marketing for the Microsoft TV business at Microsoft. "As a result, more consumers will benefit from a rich and secure TV experience, with excellent video quality and smoothly running applications on their set top boxes."

Both companies supply AT&T’s U-verse triple play service.

Broadband Briefs for 9/07/07
* Motorola passes 2M IP set-tops shipped
By Brian Santo

Motorola said it has shipped its two-millionth Internet Protocol (IP) set-top box, five months after the shipment of its millionth. The mark was surpassed with a shipment of another 50,000 units to TeliaSonera, Sweden's largest telecommunications company.

* Imake’s ERM software showing at IBC
By Traci Patterson

Imake Software & Services Inc. is demonstrating its OpenVision Edge Resource Management (ERM) software - for switched digital video (SDV) and VOD - at IBC 2007.

The software will allow cable operators to dynamically assign services to QAMs, enabling them to bring more programs and services to market on the same network, the company said. OpenVision ERM is integrated with Arris’ D5 Universal EdgeQAM and Harmonic’s 9000 NSG QAM, and the software will be ready for delivery in Q4.

* Pixelmetrix offers end-to-end IPTV monitoring
By Brian Santo

Pixelmetrix introduced its EndGame quality management solution for IPTV, a suite of tools the company says spans the entire content delivery chain, all the way from the headend to individual customers.

The company’s DVStation-IP³ On-Air Content Validation (OCV) system assures the right and expected content is on the pipe; the automatic On-Air Content Validation (OCV) is a function of the Pixelmetrix DVStation that validates the service structure of all services on each MPTS under test in real-time versus an expected “golden” state. 

* Haight joints Lindsay Broadband as U.S. VP of sales
By Mike Robuck

Cable industry veteran Jonathan Haight has been hired as vice president of sales, U.S., by Lindsay Broadband. Prior to joining Lindsay Broadband, Haight worked for EGT. He has more than 12 years in the broadband and broadcast industries, including stints at Motorola, Scientific Atlanta, and BarcoNet.



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