Cable-Tec Expo 2009: SeaChange: RS-DVR Ready For Action


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SeaChange International is showing a fully functional network DVR system here at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo that the company says is ready for operators to put into service today.

"We can walk in and set up a trial today," said Anthony Landamia, SeaChange senior manager of product management for interactive applications. "There's no smoke and mirrors."

The network-based DVR got a huge boost this June after Cablevision Systems prevailed in a three-year legal battle with programmers and movie studios that reached the U.S. Supreme Court. With Cablevision's remote-storage DVR deemed to not violate copyrights, technology vendors and operators have rushed toward commercially deploying one.

SeaChange's system provides 108 Terabytes of storage in a seven-rack-unit configuration. That would provide 500 subscribers space for 100 hours of standard-definition programming, 25 hours of HD or some combination of the two. The SeaChange RS-DVR provides simultaneous ingest for 4,000 standard-definition-equivalent streams.

The system requires the vendor's VODlink 5.0 middleware platform, which runs natively on Cisco Systems and Motorola set-tops. SeaChange's demo at Cable-Tec Expo uses a Cisco (Scientific Atlanta) set-top.

For now, the SeaChange RS-DVR is limited to recording only on the channel the set-top box is currently tuned to, although recordings may be accessed from any set-top in a house. Landamia said the vendor could integrate the RS-DVR client with an interactive program guide, or deliver it as an Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format (EBIF) or tru2way app.

SeaChange isn't talking pricing for the RS-DVR system, but it has cited a total cost of less than $100 per subscriber. That's compared with up to $350 per sub for a conventional DVR set-top.

Also at the show, SeaChange is showing "Gemini," a three-screen VOD delivery system based on the vendor's Axiom 5.5. The Gemini system lets users pause a program on one device (like an iPhone) and resume it on another from exactly the same spot (like an HDTV).

"It provides a consistent user interface regardless of the device," SeaChange vice president of product marketing Alan Hoff said.

In addition, SeaChange is highlighting its Universal Resource Manager software, designed to guarantee quality of service for video delivery across cable, IP and wireless networks. The software is slated to be available in early 2010.

Another new product is AssetFlow, to ship in the first half of 2010, a video content and metadata manager that provides workflow templates to let operators manage the lifecycle of a single source file to reach any device. AssetFlow, for example, can produce regionalized video versions in any format and handle business rules about pricing or presentation on TVs, PCs and mobile phones.