SkyStream's MPEG-4 AVC Transcoding Solution

SkyStream®, the leader in IP video delivery solutions, has announced the industry's first MPEG-2-to-MPEG-4 AVC transcoder. The transcoder is a new, added capability to SkyStream's Mediaplex-20™ and iPlex™ video headend platforms. 

Aztech International chose SkyStream's MPEG-4 AVC transcoders and MPEG-4 AVC encoders for their new fiber network's headend, which will supply MPEG-4 video to a large subscriber base throughout Arizona, United States (U.S.). This will be the largest operational MPEG-4 deployment in the U.S. using transcoding, in terms of targeted subscriber count and channels.

Transcoding solves the most challenging issue for television operators that want to take advantage of the bandwidth savings and compression efficiency of MPEG-4 AVC technology: how to cost effectively and easily convert the vast amounts of widely available MPEG-2 content into high quality MPEG-4 AVC content for distribution over new networks.

"We're among the world's first operators to build an end-to-end MPEG-4 network, and it was essential that we fully exploit the advanced capabilities of our equipment and infrastructure by delivering true MPEG-4 content," said David S. Nelson, president, of Aztech International. "With SkyStream's MPEG-4 transcoder, we're able to cost-effectively and reliably turn MPEG-2 video into low bit-rate MPEG-4 AVC and deliver 150 channels of superior-quality content to our subscribers."

The traditional method for transcoding involves the use of separate decoder and encoder devices to first decode the MPEG-2 video stream into uncompressed video or baseband and then re-encode it into MPEG-4 format. Not only does this method reduce reliability and consume large amounts of resources, but it can also affect the quality of the content and is costly.

SkyStream's transcoding solution is a combination of software algorithms and a hardware module that is installed and used in the Mediaplex-20 and iPlex video headend platforms. Because it is an integrated solution, it eliminates the need for external devices and the picture-quality degradation and reliability issues created by digital-to-analog-to-digital conversions. Transcoding preserves the original picture quality throughout the conversion process and reduces costs, maintenance and failure rates by eliminating extra equipment.

SkyStream's high-density approach to transcoding is particularly important in an MPEG-4 network. In a typical scenario where an operator is delivering 100 channels, 75 channels will arrive in MPEG-2 format and 25 in analog format. SkyStream's Mediaplex can transcode 48 channels from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 simultaneously in a single chassis and its iPlex can transcode 8 channels. This 

density reduces the number of chasses that an operator needs, reducing costs, cutting power consumption and saving space.

The market for transcoding is in its infancy. IPTV operators-and telecommunications carriers in particular-are just beginning to roll out or upgrade their networks to accommodate MPEG-4 AVC compression to deliver high-bandwidth services over low-bandwidth networks. MPEG-4 offers a significant bandwidth advantage over MPEG-2-approximately 50 percent bandwidth savings for standard-definition TV and high-definition television (HDTV).

Key Streaming Media Technologies Packaged on TI Silicon Give OEMs A Low-Risk, Easy-to-Use Solution that Speeds Time to Market

Uniting three of the top-tier technologies in the streaming media industry, Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) (NYSE: TXN



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has joined with software providers ANT (AIM: ANTP) and Orca Interactive (LSE: ORCA) to facilitate interoperability for manufacturers looking for low-risk solutions that will hasten the design cycle of IP Set-Top-Box products and services. By bringing the core software together on TI silicon - soon including the new DaVinci™ technology, an integrated offering of processors, software, and tools - the three companies deliver an end-to-end solution that saves valuable time and dollars making it simple to offer a full range of IPTV and Video on Demand (VoD) capabilities today. 

This robust development ecosystem was made available today on TI's high-performance digital media processors. And manufacturers soon will be able to easily upgrade designs on the code-compatible DaVinci technology. The streaming media version of the DaVinci technology will be a system-on-a-chip based on high-performance TMS320C6000™ digital signal processors (DSPs). It is built around a programmable DSP with video and audio peripherals that match consumer entertainment equipment specs. And it offers vast scalability options, helping streaming media manufacturers keep up with their ever-evolving industry, especially when it is used in conjunction with ANT and Orca software.

ANT, a leading provider of advanced embedded solutions for digital TV, presents customers with a highly dynamic browser-based solution that, when coupled with the advanced capabilities of the TI silicon, gives service providers interactive content applications with feature-rich digital TV programming. ANT's software controls everything from VoD interfaces to dynamic news, information and communication applications. 

"ANT has long seen the value of teaming with TI because their DSPs support advanced software coding that makes it easy for OEMs to get to market quickly with our products like Galio, PurePlay and Fresco," said Stephen Reeder, executive director, sales and marketing at ANT Software Limited. "By adding Orca middleware to the mix, the pack

age is complete, giving broadcasters and operators an even greater opportunity to add services over their existing bandwidth that increases revenue."

Orca Interactive is a leading IPTV middleware provider for broadband network operators and service providers. Orca leverages its telco-quality platform, RiGHTv, to empower operators to deliver and manage enhanced entertainment services such as VoD, broadcast television, EPG (electronic program guide), NVoD (near video-on-demand), pay-per-view, PVR and e-commerce for related merchandise. RiGHTv's SDP (Service Delivery Platform) and SUI SDK (subscriber user interface software developer kit) offer operators the flexibility and service control to increase ARPU (average revenue per user) and reduce total cost of ownership.

By coupling our software with TI hardware and ANT's browser technology, we are giving providers a one-stop-shop that enables them to deliver the services that give subscribers choice, convenience and control," said Yosi Glick, vice president of marketing and business development, Orca Interactive. "We will continue to look for ways to leverage the synergies between core technology providers to ensure that our customers can offer compelling and differentiated media services." 

The combination of Orca middleware, ANT browser and TI silicon means that the owners of the key streaming technologies have come together, making it possible for encoder vendors, VoD servers and conditioned access providers to be added to a cutting-edge streaming media ecosystem that is fully interoperable.

This compelling, end-to-end package is available today running on the TMS320DM642 digital media processor with a road map to DaVinci technology. ANT and Orca Interactive have indicated they will be among the first to take advantage of TI's cutting-edge DaVinci technology.

GIST launches UGuide™: mobile TV EPG  

Digital television guide expert, GIST Communications, Inc. has begun a commercial offering of UGuide™: a market-shaping, mobile EPG that analyzes TV viewers' program preferences, then delivers personalized recommendations directly to the cell phone or other mobile device. Gist's UGuide™ gives viewers true remote control, enabling them to use cell phones to schedule recordings on PVR's at home-powerful, easy to use technology that delivers effective results. The UGuide™ can be deployed as a resident application on a cell phone or PDA, or as a web-based product.

The patent-pending, user-friendly service is easily installed on mobile phones globally and provides personalized recommendations based on users' individual profiles. Then, with a simple click on UGuide™'s record button, consumers can remotely program their recording device. The service distributes recording instructions through any digital distribution platform such as cable, satellite or the Internet. TV viewers can also check their local TV programming, and determine their personal and private viewing interests both with their mobile phone and via the UGuide™ website. 

Jim Cantalini, CEO of GIST states: "Our


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customer research and interaction showed us the market's need for easy, remote programming of recordings for consumers' home viewing enjoyment. That insight has driven our product development and global interest. We know that IBC is the best possible environment to launch and showcase the premiere portable and remote global programming service. This distinctive development by GIST's team helps mobile operators to create a bridge between the mobile phone and the living room TV. With UGuide™, GIST's strength in delivering advanced digital media and TV program guides is underscored."

GIST is in advanced discussions with leading software vendors, hardware manufacturers and mobile phone and platform operators in the U.S. and Europe, the details of which will be discussed at the International Broadcast Conference (IBC). The "Look & Feel" of the UGuide™ can be easily and individually adapted to the design requirements of the carrier or platform operator. The product can be delivered as a stand-alone service or within a broader offering through partners.

UGuide™ is the next step in digital TV program guide concept that has been successfully deployed in Europe by GIST with leading program press publishing houses and manufacturers. It combines the excellence of up-to-date editorial quality program content with an innovative recommendation engine and truly intuitive usability. "UGuide™ offers a direct added value to the viewer and a powerful selling - and up-selling - proposition for operators and hardware manufacturers", observed Ned Wiley, Vice President Sales &

Marketing and responsible for international deployment.

More Microsoft TV Hardware Partners

Microsoft Corp. announced further partner support for its IPTV software platform with a host of new set-top-box offerings and a new class of system-on-chip (SOC) that will enable the production of low-cost, high-definition (HD) set-top boxes. The announcements underline a growing choice of Microsoft® TV IPTV Edition-enabled devices, allowing broadband service providers worldwide to develop offerings best suited to their business models and customer needs.

Hardware partners Linksys-KiSS, Motorola Inc., Scientific-Atlanta Inc., Tatung Co. and The Thomson Corp. confirmed sup

port for the Microsoft TV platform with a range of new set-top boxes supporting Microsoft TV IPTV Edition:

Linksys-KiSS announced it will provide set-top-box products supporting Microsoft TV IPTV Edition with integrated DVB-T tuners and conditional access support for European Network operators. Products will be available in December 2005.

Motorola will support Microsoft TV IPTV Edition in the company's worldwide portfolio of IP-based video products, including its VIP line of IPTV set-tops, a forthcoming line of hybrid IPTV-DTT set-tops and advanced video-encoding technology. 

Scientific-Atlanta announced its support for Microsoft TV IPTV Edition in a new family of set-top boxes under development. Scientific-Atlanta will target both the NTSC market with its IPN series set-top family and the PAL and European markets with its IPP series set-tops. Models will range from basic SD to HD and DVR and will include optional features such as integrated IP over Coax and DVB-T support. These set-top models, which complement Scientific-Atlanta's encoder support for IPTV Edition, will be on display at IBC2005 Stand 1.471.

Tatung announced its support for Microsoft TV IPTV Edition in a new set-top box. The company will demonstrate this support in the Sigma Designs booth, Hall 3 West, No. 151.

Thomson and Intel Corporation announced that a new family of IPM11xx set-top boxes supporting Microsoft TV IPTV Edition are now commercially available and

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hipping to Microsoft TV customers. The IPM11xx products support a range of video codecs including MPEG-2, Windows Media® Video 9 (Microsoft's implementation of VC-1, the proposed SMPTE standard) and MPEG-4 AVC. They feature the Intel 1.4 GHz Intel 854 platform with its application-handling performance, design flexibility and scalability. They also come with optional hard disk drives for both streaming and digital video recording (DVR) applications. On display in Thomson Stand 11.551, the IPM11xx products are the first deployable set-top boxes to support the IPTV Edition software.

To further stimulate the market for other IPTV-enabled set-top boxes and consumer electronics devices, Microsoft TV is working with semiconductor suppliers to introduce a class of SOC products. The first partner to bring such a product to market is Sigma Designs Inc., which has developed an SOC capable of delivering multiple channels of HD video. Available now, this chip significantly lowers the cost of manufacturing IPTV-ready receivers. This makes it easier for network operators to reach volume deployments with HD-capable devices, helping to differentiate their services from existing cable and satellite offerings. 

The SOC can also be embedded inside a range of consumer electronic devices to enable consumers to choose from a variety of IPTV-ready receivers such as TV sets, set-top boxes, digital video disc players and gaming consoles. These offerings create more "on ramps" to the connected digital home, enabling great stand-alone IPTV experiences that are ultimately "better together" when connected to other compatible devices and services. 

Network operators including British Telecom, Swisscom AG and SBC Communications Inc. welcomed today's announcements as a much-needed development to help support their IPTV strategies. 

"We've seen tremendous progress across the entire IPTV ecosystem in the past several months, and today's announcements illustrate the increasing momentum," said Moshe 

Lichtman, corporate vice president of the Microsoft TV Division. "The pace of innovation in IPTV is impressive, and it is particularly exciting to see all this coming together in time for the first commercial deployments of the Microsoft IPTV Edition platform by leading operators worldwide."

Latens & IBM Team up to Achieve Massive Scalability

in the supply of dynamic, software-based Conditional Access, today announces that it is the first software-based Conditional Access supplier to have proved that its systems scale efficiently to protect Pay-TV and IPTV networks with millions of subscribers.

The extensive testing process took place during the summer of 2005 at a test-bed run by an independent and globally recognized systems integration partner of Latens. The IT test-bed used is one of the most advanced in the world. In every part of the test Latens met or easily surpassed the required metric. The test results show that Latens CAS scales easily to manage multi-million Pay-TV networks and, in terms of provisioning and making changes to a consumer's service, Latens Content and Revenue Protection provides unparalleled levels of efficiency and flexibility. "Like many new technology vendors, one

n we are frequently asked is: 'How well do you scale?' Having specified how our security works, designed the architecture and guided the development at Latens, I know that our security systems scale highly effectively. Of course I equally understand that there's no reason why anyone should take my word for it, so by undertaking these rigorous tests we can now prove that we are the world's only software-based CA vendor that scales efficiently for multi-million user networks," says Jason Rogers, CTO, Latens Systems.

How important is scalability?

When Mike Coblitz, Senior Vice President of strategic planning for Comcast Corp. said: "No matter your constituency, downloadable security is better than the solution we've had in the past - there isn't anybody who looks at it who wouldn't say it's a better solution" we knew that software-only Conditional Access System (CAS) had finally been accepted as the most secure and functional system for protecting content distributed across two-way networks. The one remaining unknown risk regarding the performance of this type of CAS was the issue of proven scalability. The objective of the test process was to validate performance and prove scalability of Latens CAS for a large scale, two-way cable/IP broadcast TV system. To do this Latens used real data from a major, multi-region architecture, broadcast TV operator.

Not only did it scale, but a total of 4,021,703 STB's were provisioned managed and tested over an extended period. The tests even included the effects of hardware failure to prove resilience and recovery. Latens CAS exceeded every target with ease. Rogers concluded: "These test results are great news for operators investing in Latens technology, as they now no longer need have any concerns over the scalability of security, however steep their subscriber growth curve. With the added bonuses of flexibility of content packaging and industry-leading levels of security, Latens Content & Revenue Protection makes sense whatever size an operator is, now, or in the future."

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SES AMERICOM Inaugurates Broadbased IPTV via Satellite

SES AMERICOM has launched IP·PRIMETM, a centralized, satellite deliv

ered IPTV distribution solution enabling telcos to bundle traditional standard and HD television programming with their voice and broadband services. IP·PRIME will originate from the SES AMERICOM IPTV Broadcast Center based in Vernon Valley, New Jersey, where video and audio will be received and processed for distribution via satellite and fiber to telco video hubs nationwide.

The National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC), which serves rural and independent telephone operators in a market of more than 10 million homes, has signed a preliminary agreement to initiate trials of the new service early next year.

Scientific-Atlanta has been selected to provide an MPEG-4 encoding system for the SES AMERICOM IP·PRIME video network and the multi-channel standard and high definition television package it will deliver to telcos. Once the initial phases of the distribution 

network are complete, SES AMERICOM will enlist more than 100 Scientific-Atlanta MPEG-4 standard definition encoders. SES AMERICOM has also selected Scientific-Atlanta's ROSA™ Network Management System for its powerful, flexible video services, network and equipment monitoring and control capabilities. 

Globecomm Systems will provide the overall design and integration services as well as the major components for the IPTV broadcast distribution center, which include systems for RF and program acquisition, MPEG-4 compression, and uplinking services. SES AMERICOM, the largest satellite services provider in the U.S., will deliver the IPTV programming over its reliable, secure satellite fleet to authorized telco video hubs throughout the country. 

"SES AMERICOM's IP·PRIME represents a significant advancement in the effi-

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cient DSL delivery of high-end video services to the home. By transporting quality video over the most reliable and secure hybrid satellite/fiber distribution network in the world to authorized IP telco hubs, IP·PRIME arms phone companies of all sizes with the solution they need to cost-effectively deliver voice, broadband, and television over a single line to the home," said Bryan McGuirk, president of North American media solutions for SES AMERICOM. "IP·PRIME enables telcos to bypass extensive and expensive fiber installations and accelerate their IPTV initiatives by months, even years. We look forward to working with the NRTC, Scientific-Atlanta, Globecomm and other innovators as we create and launch an exciting and viable path to the true triple play."

IP·PRIME programming will be delivered encrypted to the telco's video center for decryption. SES AMERICOM will offer the option of conditional access and middleware solutions all the way to the IP set-top for customers who want to minimize local headend investment and streamline their video operations.

"NRTC is pleased with our preliminary agreement and we look forward to working with SES AMERICOM, as it develops the exciting, new IP·PRIME platform," said Bob Phillips, NRTC's president and CEO. "NRTC is focused on finding telecommunications solutions that are ideal for rural communities and working with our membership to make those solutions a reality across the country."

"IP·PRIME will help deliver critical momentum for the launch of IPTV services for regional and rural telephone companies," said Paul Kosac, vice president of market development, Digital Media Networks, Transmission Network Systems at Scientific-Atlanta. "Our involvement in IPTV initiatives that are already underway and our state-of-the-art MPEG-4 technology are solid complements to SES AMERICOM's plans for the launch of IPTV services."

"SES AMERICOM's IPTV Broadcast Center and innovative IP·PRIME solution mark a significant milestone in the delivery of broadband television to homes across America," said David Hershberg, chief exec



utive officer and chairman of Globecomm Systems, Inc. "As we initiate support of SES AMERICOM's exciting IP·PRIME service, Globecomm becomes one of the first companies to participate in the design and delivery of an all IP-based MPEG-4, satellite-delivered IPTV video distribution facility."

SES AMERICOM's extensive experience in programming distribution, for cable operators, programmers, and broadcasters, enables the largest satellite-based distribution services provider in the U.S. to offer the NRTC and other telcos a proven platform to deliver the powerful and elusive triple play of video, voice and broadband.

The NRTC plans to begin IP·PRIME trials with several of its members early next year. The organization views SES AMERICOM, with its IP·PRIME solution and powerful relationships with the world's leading television programmers, as the most effective path to meeting increasing consumer demand for a true triple play of compelling video services together with voice and broadband.

Internet Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA) Forms IPTV Workgroup

To further promote standards-based solutions within the IPTV market, the Internet Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA) has formed an IPTV workgroup. The goals of the workgroup are to monitor developing standards or specifications for deploying an IPTV system, to create an interoperability confor


mance program for IPTV and to promote solutions that pass conformance testing.

With the world-wide deployment of consumer broadband connectivity, the broadcasting community has faced the emergence of a new medium for video delivery to the home: the Internet Protocol. Whether referred to as IPTV, TV over IP, TV over DSL, or Broadband TV, it consists of the same set of techniques that allow the delivery of live video streams, as well as content on demand, to a subscriber through a broadband connection supporting Internet Protocol (IP). "IPTV deployments relying on proprietary solutions for one carrier network may not be applicable to another network. This creates additional development and integration costs for all the players such as carriers, headend providers, network equipments providers, and set-top box providers. Recognizing a clear need for standardization in many areas, the ISMA has created an IPTV work group to recognize and promote interoperable solutions where multi-vendor competition can be assured," said Jean-Francois Fleury, Chairman of the ISMA IPTV workgroup.

The workgroup has monthly meetings. Workgroup activities include - selecting the best standard where appropriate for the considered areas when standards are available, - working closely with other entities to reach a common solution when they are working in a considered area, - engaging in promotional activities, focused on interoperable open standards that are deployable in this area, and member products that support them, - and developing a brand new specification when no solution exists and no other entity is currently working in that area. ISMA members actively participating in the IPTV working group include representatives from AOL, Cisco, Envivio, IBM, Philips, Optibase, and Thomson. Companies and individuals interested in joining the ISMA and/or any of its workgroups can call +1.415.561.6276.




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Tandberg allows KPN to roll-out MPEG-2 and easily switch to MPEG-4 AVC

TANDBERG Television announced that it has signed a contract with Siemens to provide Dutch telco KPN with a flexible EN5930 encoding system that can simultaneously transmit both MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 AVC standard definition television. KPN is adding IPTV to its existing communication services and plans to introduce digital television over its DSL network for the first time this year. Internet Protocol means it is possible that television, telephone and internet will eventually be provided over a single DSL connection.

With the new TANDBERG Television system, KPN will be able to substantially grow its range of television services and keep ahead with a competitive consumer offering with MPEG-2 today. KPN will begin transmitting MPEG-2 content and will be poised for a smooth transition to MPEG-4 AVC once convinced of the technical availability and stability of all components required. TANDBERG Television will provide a head-end system that will enable KPN to seamlessly transition to the delivery of content using MPEG-4 AVC, with a potential bandwidth saving of 50% over MPEG-2. Once the transition to MPEG-4 is complete, KPN will be able to double the number of channels it delivers, meaning it can attract subscriber

with a larger, broader and more diverse menu of content.

We are excited by the prospect of a timely initial launch with equipment that prepares our service for growth to full MPEG-4 AVC capabilities," says Jeroen van Lierop, Program Manager IPTV at KPN. "Commercial viability and technical feasibility of the KPN IPTV service are well served by the upgrade potential of the equipment that will make our investment last."

We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with KPN at this stage of its operations," says Noel Matthews, Director of Broadband at TANDBERG Television. "This project really demonstrates both the ability of our systems today and the flexibility they offer for the future. KPN knows they can rely on us for ongoing support and system maintenance throughout the process of their graduation to MPEG-4 AVC."

Entone Selected For World’s Largest IPTV VOD Deployment

Entone Technologies, a leading provider of personal video content delivery solutions, announced today that PCCW, operator of the world's largest deployment of IPTV services, has selected Entone to support its deployment of on demand service.

PCCW is globally recognized for its deployment of the world's largest IPTV ser

vice, now Broadband TV, which has attracted over 441,000 subscribers since its launch approximately two years ago. now Broadband TV provides 24-hour, DVD-quality broadcast of 73 television channels and 15 subscription-based audio channels. The service has been a global innovator in several aspects, including 22 channels of premium and local content that are exclusively available on the now Broadband TV service. The service also offers a là carte programming that allows consumers to select from a menu of channel options.

Looking to extend its leadership position with other innovative services, PCCW has also launched on demand service. This service enables viewers to enjoy television viewing on their own schedule but without requiring the replacement of existing settop boxes as required by DVR services.

To support its on demand deployment, PCCW has selected Entone's full suite of IPTV solutions for creating, managing, and delivering digital assets. These solutions include:

- StreamLiner network video recorder (NVR)™- An open, highly scalable software architecture that transforms standard server and storage hardware from HP and IBM into specialized, high-performance video servers that ingest, store and stream on-demand video programming without the costs, risks, and inflexibility that comes with competing proprietary solutions.

-Encoding Studio™ content ingest system - Market-leading solution for managing the process of capturing, encoding, quality assuring, and staging digital assets through comprehensive workflow management.

-Armada™ intelligent asset manager - Dynamic runtime system for distributing and cost-optimizing the placement of digital assets across a network of video servers based on actual subscriber consumption patterns and operator defined rules.

Adding to its already strong presence in the North American and European IPTV markets, this selection clearly confirms Entone's global leadership position in IPTV. According 































to a recent IPTV Market Leader Report from Multimedia Research Group: "Entone jumped out as a strong participant in the Video On Demand server market at the end of 2004 with several wins in Europe and North America. Entone's most significant win so far has been at PCCW in Hong Kong. Serving PCCW's more than 400,000 subscribers has moved Entone into the leading position in the IPTV Video On Demand market."

"The now Broadband TV service is a major growth driver for PCCW, with 92% of our new broadband data users also opting to subscribe to our television service," said Paul Berriman, Head of Strategic Market Development for PCCW. "The Entone solution allows us to expand our service offering to include personal television services such as time-shifted TV and movies on demand. We are pleased to be working with Entone in supporting our ambitious plans."

"We are thrilled to be working with PCCW and to have been selected to support the world's largest IPTV service deployment," said Steve McKay, CEO of Entone Technologies. "PCCW represents one of the most exciting success stories in the global IPTV market and serves as a great role model for other operators that are considering IPTV services."

Harmonic's Multi-Service Encoding Platform

Harmonic Inc. has introduced the one rack unit (1-RU) DiviCom® Electra™ 5000 multi-

service encoding platform. As the first to enable the simultaneous encoding of multiple channels in multiple formats using multiple video/audio compression standards, the Electra 5000 offers an unprecedented level of flexibility and establishes the new category of multi-service encoding. Now, from a single 1-RU encoder, operators have the ability to deliver broadcast video services to a variety of devices, from a standard definition television in a home to a mobile phone, enhancing scalability while, at the same time, dramatically simplifying the entire service infrastructure. 

Continuing a long tradition of product innovation-which includes the first standard definition (SD) and high definition (HD) encoders able to compress video using MPEG-2, MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) or SMPTE VC-1-Harmonic's DiviCom Electra 5000 ushers in the era of multi-service encoding. Going well beyond single-codec multi-channel encoding, the Electra 5000 makes it possible for operators to rapidly introduce new services-such as advanced picture-in-picture, personalized mosaic program guides, high-quality PC streaming and TV to the hand-held-over more types of networks, greatly expanding their geographical reach, customer base and revenue potential. This state-of-the-art encoding platform provides superior channel density with the best video quality irrespective of the operator's chosen compression standard, bit-rate and resolution. 

"Harmonic's new DiviCom Electra 5000 delivers the ultimate compression performance and flexibility for existing and emerging applications," said Patrick Harshman, President of the Convergent Systems Division of Harmonic Inc. "The versatile system supports video delivery to a growing array of devices, and simplifies the way operators build and scale their video service infrastructure. Because it provisions any combination of MPEG-2, MPEG-4 AVC and SMPTE VC-1, it's an outstanding solution for operators that need a more staged migration to an advanced codec. The Electra 5000 also opens the door to mobile TV applications, like DVB-H, which represent greenfield opportunities for video service providers and wireless 

communication operators. The results of a recent European mobile TV trial found the majority of users believe these services will be popular and consumers will have a high propensity to purchase." 

The Electra 5000 can be easily configured to meet a wide range of service requirements - including standard definition TV, codec migration, picture-in-picture and channel mosaics, broadcast-quality streaming video to the PC and mobile video-and provides seamless integration with both traditional and IP-based headends. Basic configurations simultaneously encode two full resolution standard definition channels using MPEG-2, MPEG-4 AVC and/or VC-1 while others support the addition of multiple low resolution channels. The Electra 5000 can encode a single channel in multiple formats, multiple channels in a single format or multiple channels in different formats, without compromising the video quality or performance of any channel. Software options that add new features and capabilities are field installable, giving operators the ability to quickly and cost-effectively expand service in accordance with competitive and customer demands. 

"The combination of the Microsoft TV Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) Edition software platform and Harmonic's Electra 5000 multi-service encoder will enable operators to offer a premium viewing experience, encompassing virtually an unlimited number of video channels and value added applications such as picture-in-picture interactivity and a personalized program guide, over an IP network," said Phil Corman, director of Worldwide Partner Development for Microsoft TV Division. "This highly scalable service infrastructure reduces deployment and operational costs as well as eliminates complexity throughout the network." 

Motorola technology in Major Telco IPTV Deployments

Motorola has expanded its relationship with two of the largest wireless provider customers in the US, Verizon Communications, Inc., and 

SBC Communications, Inc. The company has recently announced two deals that tap Motorola's wireline digital video solutions to enable Verizon and SBC to provide video entertainment services to subscribers.

Motorola is building a next-generation video entertainment network for Verizon Communications Inc. providing video network infrastructure and consumer set-top boxes, for the FiOS TV service. Motorola’s-service went online in Keller, Texas, offering 180 digital video and music channels for $39.95 a month. More than 20 high-definition channels; nearly 600 video-on-demand titles; and a range of local and special-interest channels not found on most cable and satellite systems are also being offered by Verizon.

In addition, Verizon has awarded Motorola a five-year contract to supply equipment in support of the deployment of next-generation fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) networks. Motorola's FTTP technology will help 

Verizon deliver advanced services, including innovative broadband, video entertainment, and quality voice services to the homes and businesses served by Verizon's all-fiber network.

Finally in August, Motorola's IPTV set-tops were named as the launch platform for SBC's U-verse TV service, set to debut in mid-2006. U-verse-TV is part of SBC's $4 billion Project Lightspeed, an initiative to deploy fiber-to-the-neighborhood and fiber-to-the-premises technologies to 18 million households across 13 states by the end of 2007.