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IBC2008: Harmonic Wins More DirecTV Biz

Compression and transmission supplier Harmonic announced at IBC2008 Monday that satellite operator DirecTV invested in additional Harmonic MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) compression systems, which it is using to deliver HD programming via its new DirecTV-11 satellite.

DirecTV is using Harmonic's high-end DiviCom Electra 7000 HD H.264 encoders, which support multiple HD formats including 1080p video at 24 frames per second and ProStream 1000 stream-processing platform with DiviTrackIP statistical multiplexing to maximize video quality at low bit rates. With the addition of the DirecTV-11 bird, which launched in March and became operational this summer, DirecTV is now delivering more than 130 HD channels to customers.

"The technical merits of Harmonic's Electra 7000 encoders and IP-based [Internet protocol] video-processing technologies are outstanding and continue to help us deliver a superior HD experience to our customers,” said Hanno Basse, vice president of broadcast systems engineering for DirecTV, in a statement.

In addition to the DirecTV deal, Harmonic announced in Amsterdam, Netherlands, that it won large contracts from German cable operator Kabel Deutschland, which is using a bevy of Harmonic standard-definition encoding and multiplexing gear for a new IP-enabled headend in Frankfurt; and Portugal Telecom, which is using Harmonic’s MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) compression systems to launch a new direct-to-home satellite service as part of its “Meo” triple-play package of video, voice and data services.

Also at IBC2008, Harmonic introduced a new real-time transcoding product aimed at distributing programming to Internet and mobile TV platforms, the ProStream 4000. The ProStream 4000 is designed to complement Harmonic’s existing Rhozet software-based transcoding tools and delivers up to 16 channels in a one rack-unit design.

The software-upgradeable system supports a wide range of video codecs, including MPEG-4 AVC high/main/baseline, MPEG-4 SP, H.263 and MPEG-2 MP@ML, as well as audio pass-through and various audio codecs. It is scheduled to ship in the fourth quarter.