Last May, Cablemas bought more than a quarter million hybrid set-tops. The other shoe just dropped: Cablemas is going to phase out its traditional video-on-demand (VOD) system for a quarter of its TV subscribers in favor of a broadband-based streaming service managed by Avail-TVN.

Avail-TVN said it will stream on-demand content from studios, networks and specialty content providers to set-top boxes in more than 250,000 homes, and to other connected devices including PCs, tablets and smartphones.

Cablemas, the second-largest provider of television services in Mexico, claims more than 1.05 million cable television subscribers, 438,504 high-speed Internet subscribers and 254,698 telephony lines, with 3 million homes passed.

Cablemas will re-launch VOD with Avail-TVN's VOD service in the first quarter of 2012, according to Avail-TVN.

Cablemas is apparently keeping open the possibility of vastly expanding the streaming service. Last May, Evolution Digital (hardware) and Conax (content security) announced that Cablemas had installed 260,000 hybrid STBs. At the time, the two said that Cablemas had another 320,000 units on order.

In its announcement today, Avail-TVN said it is partnering with Evolution Digital, Conax and Cubiware (middleware). Avail-TVN is making its video library available to Cablemas, with content delivered using HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) adaptive bit rate (ABR) technology.

"Avail-TVN was able to offer the premium content we were looking for, in a format that allows us to easily expand viewing options for our subscribers," said Carlos Alvarez, CEO of Cablemas. "As demand grows for access to content on more than one screen, we are building an efficient, scalable service that gives our subscribers access to the content they want, however they want it."