Starz Entertainment is gearing up for a four-channel, high-definition (HD) MPEG-4 encoding system with equipment from Motorola.

Starz is migrating from its current MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 installations. MPEG-4 has half the bit rate of MPEG-2, which allows Starz to offer more HD content.

The new Motorola system compresses, encrypts, modulates and receives HD signals within a single, integrated transmission system to allow Starz to expand its HD offerings for subscribers.

The system is currently being implemented for Starz Entertainment's existing HD channels, Starz, Starz Kids and Family HD, Starz Edge HD and Starz Comedy HD. The latest addition to Starz Entertainment's HD movie channel lineup, Encore HD, will be launched in MPEG-4 concurrent with this migration.

"Starz has a history of delivering the best in first-run, hit films in HD, and we continue to expand our programming lineup with the highest quality for our viewers," said Ray Milius, Starz’s SVP of programming operations and IT. "Motorola's highly efficient MPEG-4 encoding system allows us to seamlessly migrate from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4, with the video quality that we require, while conserving satellite bandwidth to deliver diverse additional HD content for our customers."

Motorola's DSR-6050 digital satellite receiver/transcoder supports both MPEG-4 and MPEG-2 outputs to enable Starz to transition to more-efficient MPEG-4 formats, while maintaining compatibility with existing MPEG-2-based cable networks.

Also included in the new uplink and the new receivers is support for DVB-S2 satellite modulation that can increase the satellite transponder output by 50 percent, which can expand the number of possible HD channels without increasing transponder usage.

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