Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Intelsat Previews "Super Head-end" for MPEG-4

Intelsat introduced its "Ampiage" -- a new satellite-based, open-architecture, super head-end for North American multiple system operators (MSOs) seeking to upgrade to MPEG-4 and telcos looking to enter the IPTV market.

Intelsat's Ampiage service will handle 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. Intelsat plans to offer hundreds of video and audio channels in full digital quality. Ampiage will leverage Intelsat's Americas' satellite fleet, including its IA-8 satellite, enabling reception in antennas as small as 3.7 meters and providing ample margin for variable environmental conditions.

"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.

Key Ampiage features will include:

  • Full IP-multicast capability employing the latest advanced video codecs;

  • Hundreds of all-digital video and audio programming channels;

  • Tailor-made solutions for local affiliate stations and regional sports networks;

  • Integrated conditional access solution;

  • Compatibility with existing access networks;

  • 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.

  • Intelsat's IA-8 satellite, which was launched in June 2005, carries 28 C-band and 36 Ku-band transponders, as well as 24 Ka-band spot beams and will have total end-of-life power of 16 Kw -- making it one of the most powerful communications satellites to date. The satellite will provide coverage of North and South America, Alaska, Hawaii and the Caribbean from its orbital slot at 89 degrees West longitude.

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