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“Headend 2.0” with MPEG-4 Rate Shaping for Europe

Motorola headend 2 cap1000 apex1000 rem1000 ANGAIt’s pretty, it’s shiny, it’s red, and it does MPEG-4 rate shaping.

The new Motorola “headend 2.0” solution launched at the ANGA Cable Show this week plugs some serious holes in the European cable infrastructure market, and it does so after a period of years when Motorola’s involvement in the space has been limited. For one thing, the solution (details in a moment) supports DVB SimulCrypt conditional access (CA) technology. Simulcrypt is used by ninety-odd percent of the European cable operators, and until now Motorola hasn’t focused its technology efforts to support the Simulcrypt CA scheme, hence the limited presence in Europe.

More importantly, however, the new Motorola solution offers a capability that is virtually non-existent from other European cable infrastructure providers: MPEG-4 rate shaping. Unlike in the US, all HD content in Europe is delivered using MPEG-4 rather than MPEG-2. With MPEG-4 rate shaping capabilities in the headend, European operators can now do a lot more to optimize bandwidth while mitigating the risk of packet dropping. Motorola is demonstrating the solution by delivering four MPEG-4 HD streams and four MPEG-2 SD streams over a single QAM channel. It would certainly be possible to cram more into the space of one QAM channel, but the purpose here is to show that the quality of all eight video streams isn’t compromised through rate shaping. Operators gain capacity. Consumers continue to get high-quality HD and SD video.

The other upside of the Motorola solution is that it’s made up of several pieces that all work well together and support the widely-deployed network management platform DataMiner. DataMiner provides a view into the entire operation of a cable provider’s network for monitoring and diagnostic activities.

So what makes up the Motorola “headend 2.0”?

Glad you asked, right? 😉 According to folks on the ground at ANGA, the new Motorola solution is getting a lot of attention from European operators.

4 Responses

  1. Now where’s the MPEG4 lovin’ for the US? It would sure save a lot of hastles with bandwidth.

  2. Wow 8 HD Channels on one QAM, 4@MPEG4 / 4@MPEG2. We need this in the U.S.!

    It’s important to note that Euro spec is 8 MHz wide channels, so they have 55.616 mbps per channel, while in the US the 6 MHz wide channels only provide 42.884 mbps (after headroom 38.8mbps effectively)

  3. Matt- MPEG4 is coming. If you do a search on this blog, you’ll see broadcasters are moving in that direction, set-tops are starting to be deployed (beyond satellite service), and Motorola is selling satellite receiver equipment that will transcode MPEG4 content to MPEG2 so that MPEG4 operators get MPEG4 signals and MPEG2 operators can still stream the content in MPEG2. Slowly, I know, but it is coming.

    Cypherstream- this demo shows 4 HD and 4 *SD* streams on one QAM. Again, there’s room for more, especially if you’re talking all MPEG4 compression. But the point is to avoid degrading quality while still being able to transmit both MPEG4 and MPEG2 streams.—- Good clarification on the US vs. Euro spec. I suppose coordinating on a single standard would be like getting Americans to convert to the metric system. 😉

    • Well Mari, your right, you see that post so early in the morning I didn’t have my coffee yet! Still 4 HD and 4 SD in a single QAM with no quality degradation is a major win!

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