Arris' hybrid QAM/IP video gatewayBuckeye CableSystem is gearing up for its long-term IP migration while attempting to win back customers in the short term with Arris’ hybrid QAM/IP video gateways.

Buckeye CableSystem CTO Joe Jensen said the Tier 2 cable operator first started installing Arris’ Whole Home Solution Moxi video gateways last fall.

“We now have around 150 employees that have units in their homes, and we are looking to open this up in a soft launch to our regular customers, hopefully within 30 days,” Jensen said. “It’s a fresh user interface, and it’s certainly different from our legacy environment. We think it’s going to be a very positive alternative for our customers, and I think it’s going to be a competitive solution versus [AT&T’s] U-verse.”

The gateway, which features elements of Arris’ hardware combined with the Digeo Moxi assets it purchased three years ago, is a six-tuner, multi-room HD PVR with 500 GB of storage, as well as a customized user interface. It also has a four-port Ethernet home networking router, MoCA 1.1 home networking and 802.11n capabilities.

“It’s a nice hybrid box, and I think all of the major MSOs are talking about being able to deploy a box with those capabilities,” Jensen said. “What it allows us to do is expand on our service beyond CableCard/QAM service, because in the box is a full DOCSIS 3.0 modem that will allow us to expand to IP video in the future to our customers.

“We’re currently evaluating how we want to approach that and what content we would like to move on that pipe, but that would allow us to bring a whole suite of applications and alternative video sources into that platform.”

The Moxi gateway, which connects to up to six lightweight Moxi Players in other rooms of a home, can record up to six programs while playing back three previously recorded programs – all in HD.

Since the system supports DLNA, Jensen said Buckeye is looking at applications such as Pandora or Flickr in order to share music, photos and videos on the home network. Buckeye currently has pre-integrated interactive games available and a Caller ID on TV offering for customers that subscribe to its phone service.

Buckeye could also offer over-the-top video via the gateway through the likes of Netflix, and while Jensen said that all of the options were under consideration, there have been no discussions to date.

With Buckeye on board, Arris has its Moxi gateways deployed with BendBroadband, Shaw Communications and WideOpenWest, as well as two unnamed MSOs.

Stan Brovont, Arris’ senior vice president of marketing and business development, said Arris is planning a major software release for its Whole Home Solution platform in the first half of this year that will include, among other new features, HTML5 as the lead feature.

Jensen said Buckeye replaced SeaChange International’s VOD servers with Arris’ ConvergeMedia on-demand platform. Buckeye also made the decision recently to manage its DOCSIS devices with Arris’ ServAssure networking monitoring solution.

“Buckeye is evolving into a really solid customer for us across the board,” Brovont said. “Prior to these purchases of the Moxi gateway, the ConvergeMedia VOD and the ServAssure products, we’ve also had some success selling the C4 CMTS and Touchstone CPE product lines. [Arris-owned] BigBand also has deployed its SDV (switched digital video) products there, as well.

“The real story here is that this a customer where the Arris culture of listening really hard, delivering what the customer asks for and taking really good care of them seems to be paying off.”