Sun, SGI Enter VOD-Server Arena


A couple of big-name companies are using the National Association of
Broadcasters' convention in Las Vegas to announce their entry into the
video-on-demand server business: Sun Microsystems Inc. and Silicon Graphics

Sun said it's teaming up with Sony Corp.'s systems-solutions division to
offer VOD and streaming solutions for cable companies, telcos and

For its part, SGI -- which was involved in Time Warner Cable's first VOD
deployment eight years ago in Orlando, Fla. -- said it's going after nCUBE and
SeaChange International Inc. with its 'SGI Origin 300' server and 'Total
Performance TP 900' storage platform, which can deliver up to 600 video streams
for $255 per stream.

SGI relies on Thirdspace and Kasenna Inc. to supply the video pumps for its
server system.

The company said the Origin 300 base module holds two or four 64-bit MIPS
(millions of instructions per second) processors, up to four gigabits of memory
and a pair of disk drives. The vendor added that Chunghwa Telecom has deployed
SGI's servers for VOD.

NAB 2002 has also been a forum for a slew of other announcements related to
VOD, streaming and broadcast storage.

SeaChange introduced a new disk-based media-storage library, the 'BML24000,'
which it said reduces costs to 4 cents per megabyte of storage.

The company said the library can scale to petabytes with more than 16
terabytes of RAID-5 (redundant array of independent disks) storage per rack
using 144-GB disk drives. The BML24000 provides 1.2-GB-per-node cumulative

'Now that disk-drive storage density has closed in on data-tape density, we
can build media libraries that exceed the storage and throughput capabilities of
tape libraries for online use,' vice president of broadcast products and
engineering John Pittas said in a prepared statement.

SeaChange also announced a deal with Inc. to integrate its MPEG-4
(Moving Picture Expert Group) streaming server into SeaChange's VOD system.

And InterTrust Technologies Corp. said it will integrate its digital
rights-management software with Sun's server platform. The move will allow
content providers to supply DRM-protected material to set-top boxes, personal
video recorders, PCs and mobile devices.