Movidis Offers Low-Cost Streaming


Video-on-demand server provider Movidis said its low-cost system is in two lab trials with undisclosed MSOs, and that it is offering a back-end software suite to provide operators with a more fully integrated end-to-end VOD solution.

The company's basic MMS video-server platform starts with 40 streams and 100 hours of storage for $14,990. That package includes a VOD server, a networked attached storage server, and switch and business-management software and hardware, said vice president of sales and marketing Keith Beckwith.

"We're pricing the production systems at $89 per stream, including software," Beckwith said.

The software system is actually the old Diva Systems Inc. software suite, which Movidis bought.

Some of the engineers who worked at Diva are now at Movidis. That's important, Beckwith said, because it means the software has processed millions of VOD transactions during Diva's rollouts with Charter Communications Inc. and Insight Communications Co.

"The software has got all the elements for ingesting and managing content initially, all the elements for subscriber management and resource allocation," Beckwith said.

Another feature of Diva's software, he said, is that "it had significant rules based on a commerce engine. This allowed for MSOs to do a trial promotional campaign and check results instantaneously."

The MSO could run a weekend special — say, buy two movies and get a third one free — and see results Monday morning. "All the data is there in real time," Beckwith said.

Although the MMS 1000 starts with 40 streams and 100 hours of storage, it can scale to 400 streams. "We can put 10 disks in a box to get 400 streams," he said.

Movidis began two years ago with the idea of separating streaming from storage, Beckwith said. The concept is gaining popularity among cable operators.

"We want to disrupt the stream price curves in the industry," Beckwith said, which would allow telcos to enter VOD and service providers to get to profitability more quickly. Beckwith, for instance, is talking about under $60 for video pumps only.

"DBS keeps growing and digital churn is still high, and you have the migration to IP," said Beckwith — factors that cause operators to want to lower VOD costs as much as possible.

Beckwith said Movidis has finished testing the MMS 1000 video server, and is in lab trials with MSOs and original equipment manufacturer partners. "We've also ported the software onto to the IBM platform," he said. Movidis will go to market with its own hardware as well as IBM's he said.

The Movidis software has been tested at Motorola Inc. labs and is Interactive Services Association compliant.

Beckwith said each Movidis streaming engine houses about 25 hours of content. He said some, but not all, requests for proposal in the marketplace have asked to separate streaming from storage. "But all the RFPs ask about independent scalability," he said.

And how does Movidis operate in a crowded market? "The price point is going to catch the eye, hopefully in a pretty significant way," he said, since video streams cost $180 to $200 at present. But he also suggested that server-industry consolidation is likely.