Time Warner Offerings Result in VOD Deployment

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"From Technology to Cash" was the multiyear marketing campaign undertaken by Concurrent Computer Corp. to help Time Warner Cable in Oahu, Hawaii, design, build and launch video-on-demand services. Started in April 1999, the system is now one of the largest deployments in the U.S., covering 352,000 VOD-enabled basic homes and 85,000 digital subscribers.

The process began in April 1999, when Concurrent was chosen by Time Warner to be its server vendor. Servers and quadrature amplitude modulators were installed in July 1999. After a trial among friendlies, VOD service to paying subscribers was launched in January 2000.

Time Warner wanted to use as much pre-existing headend equipment as possible in its VOD launch to optimize the existing hub and network architecture. Time Warner also needed to seamlessly integrate VOD into its ordering, billing and royalty payment system.

The system used Scientific-Atlanta Inc.'s digital network control system and QAM system, along with the Explorer 2000 box. Prasara Technologies' software was used for royalty management and subscriber billing. Concurrent supplied its MediaHawk server technology.

The expense equation included per stream costs of $300 and QAM costs of $150 to $200 per transport stream.

Time Warner not only offers movies-on-demand, but also pizza, karaoke, sports and tutoring on-demand services. The system also conducted a short network-based PVR test during its VOD rollout.

"Subscribers love the interactive services and subscriber retention grew because of VOD," reported Joseph Parola, vice president, market development, for Concurrent.

For instance, local sports programming that has already aired on television continued to get buys on the on-demand service. A University of Hawaii game that was already shown on broadcast TV received more than 1,000 buys on Time Warner's sports on demand service.

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