Technology

Arroyo Gets U.S. Deployments

1/09/2005 7:00 PM Eastern

Arroyo Video Solutions Inc. will use this week’s Society of Cable Television Engineers Emerging Technologies conference in Huntington Beach, Calif., to showcase its Arroyo On-Demand separate streaming and storage architecture.

The company — backed by $14 million in venture capital money from Doll Capital Management, Time Warner Investments and Comcast Interactive Capital — said its technology has been deployed by three North American cable operators in trials or rollouts.

'MORE THAN VOD’

“It’s more than just a VOD platform, it’s a vision of how consumers will watch video,” said CEO Kim Kelly. “We do understand cable operators can’t make a technology decision and have it be obsolete in three years.”

The key to the company’s technology is its scalable, mix-and-match storage and streaming technology, said vice president of marketing and business development David Yates. “We can group services together very elegantly,” he said, whether those services are streams or storage.

Operators need a different types of architecture —one with more streams and less storage, or with fewer streams and more storage — depending on the type of on-demand content they are deploying (like lots of free VOD) or the market where they operate (large urban systems versus spread-out rural systems.)

“Storage differs with the operator and the market,” Yates said. “Some markets are extremely dense, while some markets are very spread out.”

Arroyo uses Intel Xeon servers, with performance optimized by its own Video Accelerator technology. The company said each server supports up to 3,000 3.75 Megabit streams in three rack units.

At 1,000 streams per rack unit, that translates to 42,000 streams per rack.

Additionally, each four-rack unit server can simultaneously ingest up to 160 channels of live TV and stores up to 9.6 Terabytes of video content.

Arroyo said it separates streams and storage, creating server vault groups and streaming groups that can operate as single units, connected by Gigabit Ethernet.

That topology allows operators to support extensive VOD libraries, compared to systems that require content to be replicated many times within a metro system, Arroyo said.

The architecture supports large stream counts without requiring the large amounts of available streaming bandwidth required in a centralized architecture, Yates said.

Because multiple smaller servers are grouped together, acting as one, any individual server can fail without affecting the entire group, said Yates.

Yates said the three rollouts are a mix of greenfield deployments and ones that add applications to existing servers.

'OPEN ARCHITECTURE’

“Operators regard open architecture as extremely important going forward,” said Yates. “They want to build systems from components that are best-in-class.”

That flexibility extends to VOD strategies. “Each operator has a view of on-demand they want to headline,” Yates said. “Some put a lot of emphasis on the ability to scale the number of content hours with local VOD content. Others have taken view they want broadcast on-demand TV.

“Other operators are enthusiastic about a lot of local sports, other local content and archival content from Hollywood.”

In addition to its server and stream technology, Arroyo also has developed Arroyo System Manager, a Web-based central management tool designed to configure, monitor and report over a large VOD network.