Wednesday, November 12, 2008

CableLabs Issues Modular Headend Architecture Specifications

CableLabs released a set of Modular Headend Architecture (MHA) specifications that define interfaces for narrowcast MPEG digital video services such as video-on-demand (VOD) and switched-digital-video (SDV). These build on the existing DOCSIS Modular CMTS specifications.

The MHA suite includes multiple specifications and an architecture overview technical report. The new specifications define MPEG video processing functionality for VOD and SDV Edge Quadrature Amplitude Modulators (EQAMs), as well as an interoperable resource management and video session setup protocol and an interoperable EQAM provisioning and configuration mechanism. With the addition of these new specifications, the MHA suite provides a common industry-wide approach for Universal EQAMs, as well as for Video EQAMs and M-CMTS EQAMs.

CableLabs said these new digital video specifications result from an effort involving headend equipment manufacturers and cable operators. The specifications provide a point of harmonization between the Time Warner Cable-led Interactive Services Architecture (ISA) and the Comcast-led Next Generation on Demand (NGOD) architecture, which are used throughout the industry.

"This is important because for the first time we have an interoperable set of specifications that will lead to integrated equipment from multiple suppliers for delivery of advanced video and data services," said Tony Werner, Comcast CTO. Added Mike LaJoie, Time Warner Cable CTO: "Once again our industry's suppliers have worked with us through CableLabs to achieve a common approach which benefits the whole industry and our suppliers."

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