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Virgin Media Deploys Harmonic Gear for Olympics Coverage

SAN JOSE, CALIF.—Virgin Media, one of the U.K.’s leading providers of cable TV, broadband, phone, and mobile services, has selected a complete range of Harmonic video processing solutions to power its HD channel delivery in the U.K., including HD coverage of the 2012 London Olympics from the BBC. 

Electra 8000

Virgin Media will deliver 24 high-quality HD BBC Olympic Channels utilizing a combination of Harmonic's advanced Electra 8000 universal encoders, ProStream 1000 Multiplexer, NMX Digital Service Manager, and Iris advanced video analytics software suite.

Neil Drennan, director of TV Engineering at Virgin Media said, "With a full range of live channels in HD from the BBC, Virgin Media customers will be spoiled with a superb viewer experience for the London Olympics. Harmonic is delivering a range of high-density video systems with outstanding video quality and, thanks to Harmonic's high-performance yet bandwidth-saving encoding and management software solutions, our TV customers can now watch even more live sports coverage in breathtaking HD quality."

During the summer games, U.K. broadcaster BBC will supply Virgin Media with the live HD BBC Olympic Channels. The content will be encoded instantly by Harmonic's Electra 8000 encoder, which supports both MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 AVC compression, enabling Virgin Media to deliver high-quality video to subscribers via Virgin Media's fiber-rich cable infrastructure.

The Electra 8000 encoder and ProStream 1000 solutions are managed by Harmonic's NMX Digital Service Manager, a powerful software-based network management system for creating, modifying, and managing service lineups. Utilizing NMX, the underlying equipment is automatically reconfigured to support the new operating parameters. The NMX management system is fully integrated with Harmonic's Iris video analytics software suite, which provides Virgin Media with video quality monitoring, global channel availability, and source profiling measurements both in real time and historically, enabling Virgin Media engineers to analyze all of their sources and programming over time. Service lineups are downloaded and synchronized with NMX, offering instant data collection.

"For the first time, U.K. subscribers will be able to watch every spellbinding moment of the London Olympics, live and in HD, delivered with exceptional quality," said Ian Graham, vice president of Europe and Middle East sales at Harmonic. "Our sophisticated family of encoding solutions offers the superior video quality desired, as well as a high-density, bandwidth-saving design that is instrumental in allowing Virgin Media to add this additional capacity with minimal headend space."