Costing Out Switched Digital Video

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The cost of deploying switched digital video is said to be in the range of $5 and $10 per home passed (this according to ABI Research) — clearly more affordable option for bandwidth expansion than, say, the hundreds per home to upgrade cable plant to 1-Gigahertz. But what goes into those SDV numbers?

Scientific Atlanta’s Greg Hardy provided a breakdown of SDV project estimates, with different assumptions for system and service group sizes, among other factors.

For example, according to SA’s calculations, it would cost $6 million for a cable system with 1 million homes passed ($5.80 per home passed), assuming 432,000 set-tops, 8 QAMs for SDV per service group and service groups of 1000 tuners.

However, Hardy cautioned, the estimates don’t include other costs for infrastructure upgrades that may be necessary to deploy SDV, such as reconfiguring nodes. Also note that costs are higher in systems with smaller service group sizes, but that the larger the service group the fewer number of channels can effectively be added to the SDV tier.

System 1

System 2

Homes passed



Digital set-tops



SDV QAMs per service group



Service group size (tuners)



Headend SDV components*



SDV servers*






Services and training*



Cost per set-top



Cost per home passed



Total budget



* Pricing per set-top box

Note: Estimates exclude costs for other infrastructure improvements that may be necessary to deploy SDV, such as reconfiguring nodes or expanding shared facilities with additional Gigabit Ethernet switches for video transport.

Source: Scientific Atlanta