Video-on-demand start-up Movidis Inc. has introduced a new media server designed to cut costs to less than $65 per stream.

The 3-RU-high Molecular Media Server (MMS) 1000, which sports dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, is anchored to Movidis' distributed VOD architecture, an approach that saves cost and space requirements, the company said.

Movidis' decentralized scheme also decouples the storage from the streaming, caching the most popular and requested content and movie titles closer to the subscriber.

"The cost of entry will be very low, and we'll be able to scale," said Movidis President and CEO David Adleman, noting that the first generation MMS 1000 can simultaneously pump out tens of MPEG-2 streams to as many as 500.

In addition to supporting traditional VOD content, the MMS 1000 and its underlying software system is designed to handle other audio and gaming content on-demand, Adleman added. The server is expected to become available in the first quarter of 2003.

Though Movidis' senior management hails from video conferencing titan Polycom Inc., the company does have cable VOD roots. James Armstrong, the former vice president of advanced development of Diva Systems Corp., is the Los Angeles-based start-up's vice president of engineering.

Those ties could come in handy at Movidis, which is seeking business in "greenfield" cable VOD sites as well as in existing VOD markets populated by servers and systems from incumbents such as Concurrent Computer Corp., nCUBE Corp. and SeaChange International Inc.

"The easier entry is in the places where VOD is not deployed," Adelman noted, "but even in the cases where large cable operators have started deploying, they're always looking for alternate, cost-effective servers."

However, the company has yet to secure any trials or deployments. "But we've initiated some of these discussions already," Adelman said.