Three small cable operators have launched field trials of R.L. Drake's MPEG-4-based digital video delivery system and programming-transport service.
Drake announced that the operators -- FamilyView Cablevision, in Clemson, S.C.; NexHorizon Broadband, in southern and central California; and Nelson Cable's in Wintergreen, Va. -- are testing its Digital Freedom system. The system is based on the MPEG-4 video encoding format, which is roughly twice as efficient than the more widely used MPEG-2.
According to Drake, the initial deployments will verify operation of satellite uplink and transport, transcoding at the headend and video quality of standard- and high-definition MPEG-4 video streams, as well as test control and addressability of the set-top boxes and compile feedback on the on-screen user interface. Digital Freedom is the first digital video platform to feature Beyond Broadband Technology's downloadable conditional-access technology.
Franklin, Ohio-based Drake earlier this year hired Jeff Huppertz, formerly in charge of marketing for video-silicon startup BroadLogic Network Technologies, as president and CEO.