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BigBand Platform Promises 100 HD Channels in 100 Days

BigBand Networks, a leader in switched digital video technology (SDV) for the cable industry, unveiled what it calls its “universal edge” quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) platform—the Broadband Edge QAM (BEQ) 6000—designed to deliver simultaneous multiple services including video-on-demand (VOD), switched digital video, network PVR, high-speed data and VoIP.

“We believe there is an inexorable demand on bandwidth in cable TV systems,” John Holobinko, BigBand’s vice president and general manager of cable IP, told TV Technology. “That’s why we believe switched digital video is going to increase in popularity, as a means of being able to accommodate a greater number of channels without having to touch the plant.”

The company has embarked on a campaign promising “100 HD channels in 100 days.”

“Start to finish if you go with us and our proven technology at BigBand, we can implement that for you,” said Holobinko. “The technology is there, it’s proven.”

Cox Communications has already begun using the third-generation BEQ6000 to power its SDV deployment in Northern Virginia. That follows deployments in the Netherlands and Japan.

BigBand also says the new platform has greater reliability and better signal quality than other QAM platforms, saving operators money by reducing maintenance costs down the road. Advanced functions can be added onto the platform by adding software.

The device tackles SDV with multiple outputs and packet-switching technology that can assign priorities for different data and video streams for DOCSIS 3 or legacy cable modems.

“BigBand’s universal edge QAM deployments for SDV and M-CMTS are breakthroughs,” said Gerry Kaufhold, principal analyst for In-Stat. “Versatile QAM platforms, with the ability to support video, data or voice services, are key to keeping costs down and efficiency up as operators ramp up to deliver more bandwidth and new services.”

The company noted that as cable channel lineups expand, they’re adding ever less popular channels. With SDV prioritizing content—instead of sending all channels to all homes—systems can squeeze more content into the same bandwidth. Similarly, the technology promotes advances in targeted advertising, company officials said.

Cox, Cablevision (across New York City) and Time Warner all use BigBand technology in their SDV rollouts.