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BendBroadband Takes Arris's Gateway For Whole-Home IP Video

Independent Oregon operator BendBroadband is the first announced customer for Arris's Whole Home Solution Media Gateway, which incorporates Digeo's Moxi user interface and provides linear TV, multiroom DVR, over-the-top video, high-speed data and telephony through a central IP hub.

The centerpiece of the solution is the Arris Media Gateway, a six-tuner HD DVR with 500 Gigabytes of storage space, based on the products developed by Digeo, the Paul Allen-owned DVR company that Arris acquired in 2009. The gateway solution retains Digeo's Moxi guide -- which won a pair of technology Emmy Awards -- and much of the video processing and DVR technology has its roots in Digeo products.

"A significant amount of the engineering for the gateway and media player was done by the former Digeo team," Arris spokesman Alex Swan said. The Atlanta-based Arris team contributed voice and data components, and the hardware and system integration are "a direct result of the business and cultural integration of the two teams," he added.

BendBroadband expects to launch the Arris gateway -- under the service name "Alpha" -- in late April; pricing details were not announced. The privately held cable operator in central Oregon has about 35,000 subscribers.

"We are very excited to be able to offer our customers so much in such a powerful solution," BendBroadband CEO Amy Tykeson said in a statement. "The Arris Whole Home Solution delivers broadcast, on demand, over-the-top and user-generated content, whole home DVR, high speed data, Wi-Fi and primary line voice -- all easily controlled through one simple remote and a customized on-screen user interface."

BendBroadband's Alpha is currently in employee trials. Final pricing hasn't been determined, but the operator will charge a rental fee for the media gateway and a rental fee for each player (one per TV). In addition, because Alpha provides a whole-home DVR feature, BendBroadband's standard DVR service fee will apply, marketing manager Lance Judd said. The Alpha service also requires that customers select one of BendBroadband's standard video and high-speed Internet packages; a home phone service package is optional.

"Alpha will provide a much richer home media experience and greater overall value at a price point that is comparable to what consumers now pay in total for their double- or triple-play service with DVR and Wi-Fi," Judd said.

The Arris Media Gateway includes a four-port Ethernet home networking router, plus support for Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) 1.1+ home networking technology and an option for 802.11n Wi-Fi. It supports the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) specification to connect with subscriber-owned DLNA-enabled devices across a home network and CableCard conditional access.

The gateway also includes a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem and two phone lines for carrier-grade voice-over-IP. It is capable of delivering over-the-top video services as well as a subscriber's own personal media content. When integrated with the Arris ConvergeMedia Management multiscreen architecture, the gateway can provide VOD to both traditional set-tops and IP-capable devices.

A smaller IP-based set-top, the Arris Media Player, supports full HD with HDMI, component, and composite outputs, front and rear USB ports, 10/100 Mbps Ethernet and MoCA 1.1+ networking. The Media Player also features front-panel navigation, digital clock display and a backlit remote control.

According to Arris, the multiservice gateway platform ends up costing MSOs less per household compared with traditional cable set-top boxes, cable modems and wireless Wi-Fi routers. The solution, Tykeson said, "lets us offer an expanded level of service while lowering the cost and complexity of household access."

Arris showed off a prototype of the gateway at the 2010 Cable Show in Los Angeles.

The Whole Home Solution "is a disruptive technology solution that will accelerate the transition of content delivery to an all-IP paradigm," Bruce McClelland, president of Arris's Broadband Communication Systems division, said in a statement. "We are very happy to be working with BendBroadband, our first announced Media Gateway and Media Player customer on this innovative approach to charting a new direction in personalized customer experience."