BigBand Tunes Up Switched Digital Video

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BigBand Networks is doubling the capacity of its switched digital video system, with an upgrade that will allow one server to support 24,000 active tuners in a cable system.

The fifth version of the BigBand SDV software is expected to be available by end of the month. Other features in the upgrade include program-level redundancy to edge quadrature modulation (QAM) devices and “hitless redundancy” to the switched broadcast session server, which is designed to ensure program and system availability.

The software also now allows third-party edge QAM devices to be shared across switched digital video and video-on-demand services.

Switched digital video systems allow cable operators to “oversubscribe” linear TV programming services by delivering a channel only when a subscriber’s set-top box asks for it. The assumption is that fewer than half the channels delivered by an SDV system will be watched at any given time.

BigBand, an early leader in the SDV space, said its switched digital video solutions are being commercially deployed by six cable operators -- including Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Cablevision Systems -- in more than 20 systems that pass more than 12 million households.

Last year, the company encountered financial turbulence, laying off 100 employees after reporting lower-than-expected third-quarter earnings. One of the factors that contributed to the earnings miss was that some ongoing SDV deployments “have required more software customization and integration than originally expected,” BigBand said.

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