Blue Ridge, GCI upgrade with Harmonic

Thu, 10/29/2009 - 8:30am
Brian Santo

Blue Ridge Communications is now using Harmonic’s universal encoder, while GCI has deployed Harmonic’s DWDM transmission system and segmentable nodes.

Blue Ridge is upgrading its network, and is using Harmonic’s Electra 8000 universal encoder to expand its HD offering to its subscribers in central and eastern Pennsylvania.

The Electra 8000’s Flex technology provides an integrated decoding front end, making it possible for Blue Ridge to re-encode content from any source format or codec – HD or SD, MPEG-4 AVC or MPEG-2 – for delivery on its MPEG-2 network.

“Harmonic’s Electra 8000 brings cutting-edge video processing technology,” said Gary Woods, CTO of Blue Ridge Communications. “The video quality, bandwidth efficiency and density of this solution have exceeded expectations. The Electra 8000’s simultaneous support of MPEG-4 and MPEG-2 codecs, in both HD and SD formats, also affords us greater flexibility in that we can easily adapt to any type of source or delivery format, which is important moving forward, for example, as content providers move to AVC distribution.”

Blue Ridge had previously purchased Harmonic’s ProView integrated receiver/decoders and other former Scopus products for digital turnaround applications; it is also a customer of Harmonic’s HFC access solutions.

Separately, GCI (General Communication Inc.) is using Harmonic’s SupraLink 1550 nm DWDM transmission system and PWRBlazer segmentable nodes to expand bandwidth capacity across its network. GCI also uses Harmonic’s NSG edge QAMs for its video-on-demand service.

GCI is transitioning from a centralized broadcast/narrowcast architecture with optical combining at the hubs to a distributed architecture using IP transport and full-band SupraLink transmitters at the hubs for transport to the nodes, Harmonic said.

SupraLink delivers up to a four-fold increase in fiber reach over 1310 nm systems, the vendor said, by supporting up to eight wavelengths per single fiber over link distances of up to 40 km with optical amplification, for up to 1 GHz of both digital and analog content per wavelength.

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