IP Gateways Are Gaining Steam

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Los Angeles — Cable’s IP video pipe
dreams are getting closer to reality.

Last week, international cable operator
Liberty Global made one of the industry’s
biggest moves yet toward the
IP gateway model, which distributes
video in the home to Internet-based
devices. The MSO, at The Cable Show
2010, announced deals with Samsung,
Intel, NDS and Nagravision, which will
work together to build an all-IP multimedia
home gateway for Liberty’s European
markets that will provide live
TV, on-demand video, Internet content,
widgets and telephony features.

The gateway is scheduled for deployment
in Europe starting in the first half
of 2011. The user interface — to be developed
by NDS, which is also acting
as lead integrator — will be based on
Adobe Systems’ Flash platform and
will feature advanced search and a recommendation
engine. Nagravision will
provide the conditional access.

Arris, meanwhile, showed off a preproduction
version of its IP home gateway
for cable operators; the company
expects to ship it later in 2010.

The demo unit includes six MPEG-2
tuners, a DOCSIS 3.0 modem with eight
channels down (for up to 320 Mbps) and
four up (for up to 120 Mbps); and a 500-
Gigabyte hard drive for DVR recordings
and personal media storage.

The Arris gateway can dramatically
reduce the cost of the components in
the home, since full-blown digital cable
set-tops and DVRs aren’t required
on every TV, said Stan Brovont, Arris’s
senior vice president of marketing and
business development.

“We’re convinced the time is right
for the industry to move to IP video,”
Brovont said. “They’re the same technical
and economic forces that moved
us to do voice over IP.”

The demo unit was running Digeo’s
Moxi guide, designed for 16-by-9 HD
displays and with support for Adobe
Flash, and most of the “guts” of the
gateway are based on the set-top design
of Digeo, which Arris acquired
last year. However, Arris will accommodate customer requests to use different guide software on the
gateway, Brovont said.

An IP gateway certainly provides cost savings, because the devices
on the additional TV outlets don’t need QAM tuners or CableCards
in the secondary devices. Moreover, with the Digital
Living Network Alliance (DLNA) media-sharing specifi cation,
devices like gaming consoles can function as set-tops.

Still, Morse noted, “What we are hearing consistently is that
operators are still interested in bringing set-tops to the table. As
soon as you get unmanaged devices in there, it’s a best-effort basis
to deliver video.”

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