Sunday, October 10, 2004

UTStarcom Unveils mVision IPTV System

UTStarcom
introduced its "mVision" Television over IP
(TVoIP) solution for enabling carriers to deliver very-large-scale streaming
of video content over a switched network
architecture ( xDSL or FTTx ). UTStarcom's mVision is a unicast/multicast
distributed system that scales to support millions of users and
hundreds of thousands of content hours.  It could span multiple
cities, states, or even an entire nation. UTStarcom, which has
previously announced major IP DSLAM contracts with Softbank in
Japan among others, plans to deliver its mVision either as a
soup-to-nuts integrated solution for incumbent carriers or as a
core technology platform where other vendors' equipment may also
be present.



Key components of UTStarcom's mVision include:


  • a Content Engine that provides live encoding, transcoding
    and transrating of analog or digital input streams into
    MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Windows Media 9 video formats and MP2, MP3,
    AAC, WMA, AC-3 audio formats. Variable bit-rate encoding
    from 22.5Kbps to 15Mbps enables operators to optimize video
    quality based on available bandwidth.

  • a MediaSwitch that leverages a chassis-based cluster
    architecture to scale with the number of subscribers and
    amount of storage required. The NEBS-compliant MediaSwitch
    resides in the central office and can serve multiple remote
    IP DSLAMs or PONs. The platform supports a density of 22,800
    subscribers per telco rack. The storage capacity is rated at
    100,000 hours of programming content per rack.

  • a new Set-Top-Box that is codec upgradeable via software
    push. It initially includes support for WM9,VC9, H.264
    Codecs. The console delivers services such as real-time and
    time-shifted television, VoD, video gaming, and video
    conferencing. UTStarcom plans to continue to add new
    functions such as WiFi capability to the boxes in the
    future. An Electronic Programming Guide (EPG) and HTML
    embedded browser are included.

  • a carrier-class OSS software suite that reduces operating
    costs by handling media asset management, channel management
    and scheduling, billing, security and conditional access,
    system management, and other management functions. A secure
    data link ensures the privacy of user data. The suite also
    allows customers to view their accounts, change PIN numbers
    on their TV sets by using their remote control.


For regional of nation-wide IPTV deployments, UTStarcom is
recommending a hierarchy of MediaSwitches. Edge MediaSwitches
would stream live programming and store 4 minute starter
segments of most recently / frequently accessed content. An
intermediate-tier of MediaSwitches would store popular region-specific
content and Central MediaSwitches would store all content.
UTStarcom has developed a Broadband Media Distribution Protocol
(BMDP) that would provide automatic or on-demand program data
distribution so as to minimize edge storage requirements,
network impact and user access latency. UTStarcom describes its BMDP
as a layer 7 protocol for media distribution and roaming. The
company intends to submit the protocol to a standards body.



UTStarcom said one of the chief advantages of its mVision is
that the architectures provides an interleaving of multicast and
unicast capabilities.  This enables a "massively scaleable
network PVR. The Content Engine and MediaSwitch combination
could support the simultaneous real-time, multichannel recording and
storage of all broadcast video for weeks or months worth of
content. UTStarcom is providing support for Microsoft DRM and
support for NDS DRM is planned.



UTStarcom estimates that its "Pure" IP TVoIP end-to-end
solution will provides telcos with a return on investment of
under 12 months.
  • Earlier this month, Softbank BB began offering a new Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) service in Tokyo. UTStarcom has received initial purchase orders valued in excess of $60 million for its Gigabit Ethernet Passive Optical Network (GEPON) solution. UTStarcom expects to recognize revenue for the contract in the second half of 2005.

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