Motorola Will Host Switched Digital Video For Small Ops


Motorola is pitching a way to make switched digital video affordable for smaller operators.

The vendor announced Monday a hosted version of its SDV system, operated from Motorola's facility in San Diego, that will provide the management functions to implement switched linear TV channels. SDV makes the least-popular linear TV channels available to subscribers only when they're requested, allowing a provider to offer access to more channels without having to allocate more bandwidth.

The communication between the cable operator's headend and Motorola's San Diego facility is conducted over a virtual private network. Subscribers select whichever channel they want; channel change message sent from service group; that makes its way through the VPN to the SDV servers at Motorola data center. Once the source detail is identified, communications amongst the servers, the same servers that manage the edge QAM tell them to join a multicast stream.

All told, the process occurs in less than a second, Motorola claimed. Only channel-change requests and other management signaling passes between the operator and Motorola; the programming feeds must be delivered via satellite or other means to the local headend.

Motorola's hosted SDV service will be priced on a monthly basis according to the number of set-top boxes accessing the system, edge QAMs and other factors. The company declined to provide pricing details, but will be an order of magnitude less expensive than rolling out a full-scale SDV system, which can run in the mid six figures, according to Chris Poli, Motorola director of product line management.

"The upfront cost of deploying a traditional SDV solution has been cost-prohibitive," Poli said. "The offering scales down to some of the smallest cable operators, and they may be in more dire need of it than others because of the competitive presence of satellite."

According to Motorola, the SDV system has been proven to work with Cisco Systems. Poli said that Motorola recommends SDV customers use the vendor's own APEX edge QAM devices.

Motorola announced the hosted SDV solution in conjunction with the Independent Show, July 25-28 in Baltimore.

Separately, the company last week sold its wireless-infrastructure group to Nokia Siemens Networks in preparation for splitting into two entities by the first quarter of 2011.