RCN Doubles VOD With SeaChange

Cable overbuilder RCN Corp. said it is upgrading its on-demand technology to almost double subscribers’ content choices, including high definition programs.

The new offering will be available to all RCN digital subscribers in Boston, Chicago, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., by June.

“By combining on-demand’s convenience with the quality of high definition programs and movies, RCN customers will have a top notch television experience,” said RCN President and CEO Peter Aquino. “In addition to the expanded HD content, we’re introducing new portals and virtual channels so customers can get to their preferences effortlessly.”

RCN launched on-demand services in 2003 with software and servers from SeaChange International. The television operator’s on-demand technology platform overhaul includes an upgrade of its operational software, replacement of all of its video storage and steaming resources, and a navigation software upgrade that will provide a new, custom on-demand user interface.

“With SeaChange’s new server upgrades, we have the ability to easily manage and expand the VOD infrastructure going forward,” said Jason Nealis, RCN senior director of video operations. “In addition, we are very excited about the launch of SeaChange’s VODlink Portal 4.0, which allows us to provide individual, on-demand channels for specific network content.”

Every video server will be replaced with SeaChange MediaServer MDS 201 hybrid memory disk streamers. Combining the advantages of standards-based hardware with SeaChange’s patented MediaCluster technology, the MDS 201 enables a new level of cost performance for RCN’s advanced video services, the companies said.

RCN is also rolling out SeaChange’s VODlink Portal 4.0, a video-rich, state-of-the-art navigation interface for on-demand content with a range of advantages. VODlink allows operators to simply integrate full motion video into menus and user interfaces that can be changed quickly to reflect new promotions and branding; to enable sophisticated use of movie posters in screen design; and to set the stage for advanced capabilities such as DVD games.