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ASTRA Platform Services selects Harmonic for digital headend upgrade

ASTRA Platform Services (APS), a subsidiary of SES Astra, has selected Harmonic's DiviCom Electra 7000 HD encoders and DiviTrackIP statistical multiplexing for a network upgrade to enhance and expand its HD MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) service. APS operates one of Europe's most modern satellite broadcast centers, transmitting more than 200 TV and audio channels to subscribers throughout Europe from its headend in Germany. As a result of this upgrade, APS will be able to strengthen its service portfolio while delivering HD picture quality at efficient bit rates.

APS was Germany's first playout center to offer HDTV as a regular service. SES Astra is one of Europe's leading satellite broadcasters, delivering services to more than 117 million direct-to-home and cable households. Harmonic's high-performance encoding and IP-based statistical multiplexing solutions enable APS to combine multiple MPEG-4 AVC HD channels in a single pool, resulting in more efficient use of network capacity and reduced operational complexity. In addition, APS is now able to multiplex SD and HD channels together in a shared statistical multiplex pool, resulting in greater flexibility and scalability of the channel lineup.

Harmonic's DiviCom Electra 7000 HD encoders, ProStream 1000 stream processing platform and DiviTrackIP statistical multiplexing were deployed by APS as part of this upgrade. Harmonic's NMX Digital Service Manager provides APS with comprehensive system monitoring and control.

The multiservice Electra 7000 encoder delivers up to four channels of full-resolution video alongside four simultaneous low-resolution outputs for applications such as picture-in-picture and multichannel mosaics. The platform's design saves considerable rack space while significantly lowering power consumption and costs. DiviTrackIP gives operators more flexibility and reduces operational expenditures while enhancing compression efficiency.

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