The agreement calls for BellSouth to trial "IP Prime," a centralized video distribution scheme that SES has developed for bundling hundreds of standard-definition and HDTV programming channels along with broadband and voice services. SES Americom, a unit of the European satellite company SES Global, will supply BellSouth with video aggregation, encoding, monitoring and transport services from its broadcast center in Vernon Valley, N.J.
Based on an open-standards architecture, the IP Prime service beams down IPTV signals via SES' AMC-9 satellite. As a result, it can plug into a number of infrastructure platforms, including the Microsoft IPTV middleware and conditional access systems that BellSouth is now testing.
BellSouth launched a technical trial of IPTV technology about a year ago. The phone company said it plans to expand that trial this year using the additional MPEG-4 (Moving Picture Expert Group) encoded programming channels that IP Prime will deliver.