BigBand Debuts IPTV Solution For Cable

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

BigBand's vIP PASS suite, available now, is based on the company's existing universal edge QAM platform, the BEQ6000, to deliver video streams directly to DOCSIS modems on the customer premises side. 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 Doug Jones, BigBand's chief cable architect.

"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 delivery 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 idea isn't new: Other vendors, including Motorola and Harmonic, have developed CMTS-bypass solutions designed as a more efficient means for delivering IP video over DOCSIS.

Jones said the "key thing is getting the video off the CMTS. Again, CMTS is great for data -- but video is just one-way, and it's very high capacity."