Intelsat Introduces Ampiage Content Delivery and Management System

Intelsat today introduced Ampiage, a new satellite-based, open-architecture, content delivery and management service ideally suited for North American multiple system operators (MSOs) seeking to cost-effectively upgrade to MPEG-4 and telecommunications operators (telcos) looking to enter the IPTV market.

“Our goal is to offer services that help our customers reach their goals, and Ampiage will benefit phone companies and cable operators in two very different ways,” said David McGlade, CEO of Intelsat. “This is a game-starter for phone companies looking to launch IPTV services for their subscribers and make a video play. Separately, it is also a cost-effective way for cable companies to upgrade to MPEG-4 without having to invest new capital in equipment. Lastly, Ampiage also showcases Intelsat’s ability to introduce innovative services that address new and growing markets created by the convergence of telecom and media.”

Modeled on a ‘super head-end’ for content distribution, Ampiage will upgrade and convert video stream for MSOs from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 using state-of-the-art equipment. The move to MPEG-4 is being driven by the desire for both higher transmission quality and efficient utilization of bandwidth. The service is designed to include fully redundant facilities and transmission capacity, thus it is expected that Ampiage services will have the "gold standard" service excellence and high availability for which Intelsat is known.

Telco customers are expected to realize significant cost savings by taking advantage of Intelsat’s packaged offering which, if the elements were procured separately and on their own, would cost them millions of dollars. Telco customers are expected to benefit from Intelsat’s volume relationships with content creators worldwide, its ability to secure transport rights and its relationships with coveted niche and international programmers, which will enable them to create local packages that are highly customized to demographic concentrations.

How Ampiage Works

Ampiage cost-effectively packages the acquisition, aggregation, encoding, encapsulation and encryption of licensed TV programming from content providers and has the ability to redistribute it in MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 format to cable and telecom service providers. This allows MSOs and telcos either to establish or enhance their digital programming lineups quickly and with low capital investment.

Ampiage completely centralizes the aggregation of national TV programmer content and offers hundreds of video and audio channels in full digital quality. This enables telcos to efficiently bundle an attractive standard and high definition programming package with their voice and broadband services without incurring a significant upgrade cost.

Ampiage originates from Intelsat’s Video Operations Center, where video and audio are received and processed for distribution to telco and MSO video hubs nationwide. Leveraging the complete coverage of North America offered by the Intelsat Americas fleet, Ampiage distributes the programming to regional telecom and cable service providers. Telcos and MSOs then distribute this programming content via xDSL, fiber, conventional cable networks and other broadband networks to their residential subscribers across North America.

"Ampiage represents a ‘super head-end’ that service providers can use to offer the highest quality, reliable content transport, distribution and content management. A small telco would find it difficult to build an infrastructure that has the suite of capabilities afforded by Ampiage at a cost that would yield a profitable business case,” said Stephen Spengler, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing at Intelsat. “Additionally, an MSO would need to invest millions of dollars on new equipment for each head-end to upgrade to MPEG-4, whereas using Ampiage will allow them to realize amplified cost-savings quickly. With Ampiage, Intelsat reduces time to market, and cost to market, for telcos or MSOs eager to offer expanded services to their subscribers.”

Other Ampiage features will include:

o Full IP-multicast capability employing the latest advanced video codecs
o Hundreds of all-digital video and audio programming channels
o Tailor-made solutions for local affiliate stations and regional sports networks
o Integrated conditional access solution
o Compatibility with existing access networks
o Multiple set-top box integration

Ampiage will be equipped with an open architecture to enable operators to either leverage existing equipment (including set top boxes) or choose new equipment from multiple CPE providers. The product is designed to offer two different service models that have been created to respond to different operator requirements.