VOD Blooms in Arizona Desert

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It’s the end of the video-on-demand dry spell for Cox Communications’ Arizona subscribers.

The Cox division expects to launch VOD statewide next year — the operator’s last remaining major market to offer the product — with initial services set to go live in January.

VOD is scheduled to be available to Cox digital-cable subscribers in Scottsdale, Ariz., in January and to expand to other areas of the state in subsequent months. Cox has about 3 million voice, video and data subscribers in Arizona.

The VOD lineup in Arizona is to include thousands of free shows, according to the operator, including programming from E!, CMT and MTV Networks’ MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon. Cox also will offer hundreds of pay-per-view movies, as well as VOD services from HBO, Showtime Networks and Starz Entertainment available for no extra charge to subscribers of those premium channels.

The service will include some movies and free content in high-definition, manager of public relations Erin Lambremont said, but she didn’t specify how many HD VOD titles will be available at launch.

The operator is using Concurrent Computer’s MediaHawk 4500 platform for its Arizona VOD rollout. According to Concurrent, Cox uses MediaHawk servers to deliver video-on-demand to more than 75% of subscribers. Earlier this year, for example, Cox deployed Concurrent servers in Tulsa, Okla., and Baton Rouge, La.

Cox vice president of video product development Steve Necessary said in a statement that “our prior experience played a key role in our selection of [Concurrent’s] VOD platform for our Arizona operation.”

Cox Arizona is one of the operator’s first divisions to install Concurrent’s MediaCache 1000 servers, which use flash-memory solid-state drives.