BigBand Bows IPTV Product for Cable

BigBand Networks is pitching an Internet-protocol TV solution to cable operators that bypasses a DOCSIS cable-modem termination system — an approach that is 75% cheaper than delivering video directly through the cable-modem termination system, the company claimed.

The idea isn't new: Other vendors, including Motorola, Harmonic and GoBackTV, have developed CMTS-bypass solutions designed as a more-efficient means for delivering IP video over DOCSIS. But so far, these approaches haven't gained traction.

BigBand's vIP PASS suite, available now, is based on the company's existing universal-edge quadrature amplitude modulation platform, the BEQ6000, and delivers video streams encapsulated in IP directly to customers' DOCSIS modems. The vendor's VCX server handles communication between the BEQ6000 and the CMTS, which provides only upstream signaling.

That unburdens the relatively expensive QAMs dedicated to the CMTS from having to process that traffic, said BigBand chief cable architect Doug Jones.

“It's designed to be better technology than DOCSIS 3.0 video delivery,” Jones said. “CMTSs are well-suited for data and voice, but digital video traffic is substantially different than data or voice, because it's higher bandwidth and it's one-way.”

Also, unlike a DOCSIS-based infrastructure, the vIP PASS can leverage existing features of the video-delivery infrastructure, such as overlays, mosaics and ad-insertion, Jones added. “Anything you can do with your video platform, you can do with IPTV,” he said.

IP video over DOCSIS could be delivered to IPTV set-top boxes, personal computers, Internet-enabled television sets or any number of other video devices, Jones said.

“The key thing is getting the video off the CMTS,” he said. “Again, CMTS is great for data — but video is just one-way, and it's very high capacity.