Arris Encoder Stuffs Four HDs Into One QAM

Arris claims an upgraded version of a video encoder from EGT -- which it acquired last month -- now lets cable operators fit four high-definition MPEG-2 channels into a single QAM channel without "observable video quality degradation."

Other vendors have made the same claim, including Harmonic, which says its DiviCom Electra 8000 can deliver four HDs per QAM while maintaining quality.

The EGT VIPr2200 encoder includes an "intelligent recode" feature, which uses preprocessing and filtering as well as closed-loop statistical multiplexing, to achieve what Arris said results in very high-quality rate reduction.

Arris acquired EGT for about $6.5 million, under which it obtained EGT's patents and video-processing technology for digital networks. Arris also said it would employ 20 to 25 of the Atlanta-based company's existing employees.

Typically, cable operators can comfortably fit two HD MPEG-2 services into one 256-QAM channel without "processing" those services. More recently, rate shapers and other alternatives have been able to increase that efficiency by 50% to accommodate three HD channels per QAM.

Arris plans to show the VIPr2200 at the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo Oct. 28-30 in Denver.