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Comcast Media Center Lines Up Buckeye For Beta Test

Buckeye CableSystem has signed an agreement to serve as a Beta site for advanced applications that are being tested for Comcast Media Center’s HITS Advanced Interactive Services, officials said Thursday. 

HITS AxIS operates on the National Authorization Service, which CMC offers in conjunction with Motorola and has been upgraded to support deployment of applications that use the current Enhanced Television-Binary Interchange Format platform, as well as the emerging tru2way platform.

HITS AxIS provides cable system operators serving smaller markets with additional revenue opportunities and a more competitive profile without incurring the significant capital outlays required to upgrade their cable system architectures in order to support advanced interactive applications.

Buckeye CableSystem serves more than 150,000 customers in northwest and north-central Ohio and in southeast Michigan.

“Buckeye CableSystem welcomes the opportunity to work with Comcast Media Center on a beta trial of the HITS AxIS service,” Joe Jensen, Buckeye executive vice president and chief technology officer, said in a prepared statement. “We see this as an opportunity not only to understand the AxIS service better, but also to develop a further understanding of some of the ETV EBIF applications and their implications in our network.”

Deployment services available in connection with the HITS AxIS service are expected to include configuration, hosting, affiliate sales, contract management and product launches on HITS’ cable system affiliates. Its operations management services are expected to consist of application and network monitoring, updates and upgrade management, billing services and customer support, security, 24-hour technical support, training and disaster recovery services, among others.

The CMC’s portfolio of services that are designed to support the industry’s migration to all digital also includes its HITS Quantum MPEG-2 programming services. The HITS Quantum Classic lineup features over 150 digital video and audio services typically carried on digital tiers.  The HITS Quantum SD lineup offers digital feeds for nearly 70 widely carried basic and expanded basic channels. HITS Quantum affiliates may also choose from an expanding lineup of HD channels.

The linear channels, as well as HD and SD VOD programming available via the VOD In a Box service, may be received with one “triple-feed” antenna. Additional HITS Quantum services available from the CMC include HITS Broadband, a carrier-class IP connectivity service. 

“Buckeye CableSystem has always been a leader among the independent cable operator community,” CMC senior vice president and chief operating officer Gary Traver said in a prepared statement. “We’re looking forward to working with the Buckeye team on paving the way for the launch and operation of ETV and iTV applications on cable systems across the country.”

CMC has collaborated on the HITS AxIS service with TVWorks, a joint venture of Comcast and Cox, and Vidiom Systems.

HITS AxIS is supporting product development activities for a number of interactive TV companies, including Alticast, Biap, Emuse, Ensequence, NDS, Softel-USA, Sofia Digital, Strategy & Technology, vivoTrak, Unisoft and Zodiac Interactive.