SureWest Communications is taking IP-based high-definition television (HDTV) out of the lab and into consumers' homes via its fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network.

Starting Tuesday, the Roseville, Calif.-based company will move its IP-based HDTV service out of beta testing as it prepares to launch it commercially in November.

SureWest currently expects to launch HDTV over IP commercially in November 2005.

Until now, IPTV service providers have been behind in offering HDTV, as they await set-tops and other requisite hi-def equipment. In this case, SureWest is delivering MPEG-2-based HD signals via Amino Communications' AmiNET 120 IPTV set-tops.

Cisco Systems, meanwhile, is powering SureWest's IP video network with its IP Next-Generation Network (IP NGN), which features the vendor's Catalyst 4510 and 6509 switches.

"The IP FTTP service delivery model provides flexibility and abundant cost-effective bandwidth to deliver voice and data services, as well as a host of interactive television capabilities with IPTV," said SureWest Vice President and CTO Bill DeMuth, in a release.

SureWest's FTTP network passes more than 80,000 homes in Sacramento.