Thursday, August 25, 2005

VNL's IPTV Service First to Complete Migration to MPEG-4 AVC (H.264)

Video Networks Limited (VNL), provider of the HomeChoice entertainment and communications service, has completed the migration of its broadcast line-up to MPEG-4 AVC (H.264), becoming the world's first revenue-generating broadcast television service delivered exclusively using MPEG-4. VNL's HomeChoice IPTV service is currently available to 2.4 million homes across London and Stevenage.

HomeChoice currently offers over 80 broadcast and on-demand entertainment channels including BAFTA award-winning interactive music channels and more than 5,000 on-demand movies, music videos and TV programmes. Sky Sports and Sky Movies channels are available on the HomeChoice platform under a retail distribution agreement with BSkyB.
In early 2004, VNL deployed Harmonic's DiviCom MV 100 and its own multi-codec set-top box for the new HomeChoice IPTV service. This gave VNL the ability to provision differentiated video services with MPEG-2 and, at a later date, install the MPEG-4 AVC software option to cost-effectively extend its geographical reach and service-carrying capacity. Since April 2005, VNL has incrementally migrated groups of the operational MV 100 encoders to MPEG-4 in a process that was recently completed. VNL is also using Harmonic's NMX Digital Service Manager to monitor and control its complete digital television infrastructure as a series of services.

"Video Networks' move to MPEG-4 AVC, a historic event that will change the dynamics of the broadband TV industry, provides a strong technology platform for continued service innovation and business growth," said Patrick Harshman, President of the Convergent Systems Division of Harmonic Inc.

"The completion of our migration to MPEG-4 for the delivery of our broadcast channels is an important milestone for Video Networks. The ongoing improvements in advanced encoding will enable us to free up bandwidth which can then be used in our continuous quest to provide ever more advanced products and services for our customers," said Roger Lynch, Chairman & CEO, Video Networks Limited. "We see the benefit of advanced encoding in MPEG-4, combined with European service providers' migration to ADSL2+ enabling the sector to provide HDTV in the very near future," he concluded.

Harmonic noted that there are approximately 4,000 advanced codec-ready DiviCom MV 100 systems currently in service.

  • Video Networks was founded in 1992 and conducted early work with BT on the first video-on-demand trial in the UK in the mid 1990s.

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