MTS Chooses Harmonic for Upgrade

Canadian telco MTS Allstream will use Harmonic’s MPEG-4 AVC H.264 encoders for an upgrade that will allow the operator to deliver a greater variety of standard- and high-definition content.

MTS will use Harmonic’s DiviCom Electra 7000 and DiviCom Ion AVC encoders and Harmonic’s NMX Digital Service Manager to manage their video headend operations. The move comes as MTS is upgrading to Microsoft Mediaroom.

Thierry Faultier, director of telco solutions at Harmonic, said MTS was already using its equipment but the telco had examined a number of other potential vendors when it decided to upgrade its IPTV offering with Microsoft Media room.

“Harmonic is involved in the majority of Microsoft’s IPTV deployments, which means that we were already Microsoft certified and able to deploy over quickly with Microsoft,” Faultier said. “In Europe, Asia, Latin America and North America, Microsoft has been very successful and we are involved in more than 20 Microsoft Mediaroom deployments” of IPTV with telcos.

Since launch in 2003, MTS TV has grabbed a 32% market share in its footprint, with about 81,000 customers in Winnipeg. Subscribers currently get over 250 video and audio channels but only 8 HD services.

MTS has not announced exact timing for the deployment of Microsoft Mediaroom or how much HD content it plans to offer. But Faultier said Canadian operators are rapidly expanding their HD offerings.

“For a lot of reasons they need to go from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4,” which will allow them to double the amount of HD or SD content they can deliver, he said. “They are considering not only the short term need for more bandwidth but also the long term need for more HD. Like the U.S. they can see the need for 100-plus HD channels coming up pretty soon.”