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SA Takes Switch To Motorola Boxes

Scientific Atlanta is extending its switched digital video platform to support digital set-top boxes from its No. 1 competitor, Motorola.

Greg Hardy, vice president of business development for Scientific Atlanta’s transmission-network systems group, said the Motorola solution is “in our labs now, and we’ll begin installing and shipping that late this year or early next year.”

Historically, Motorola and Scientific Atlanta headend and set-top video solutions have been largely proprietary. Cable operators, however, have steadily pushed for products that conform to industry standards to provide more flexibility and a choice of multiple suppliers.

The component of SA’s switched video solution that would communicate with Motorola set-tops is the Universal Session and Resource Manager (USRM). The USRM allows applications, including switched digital video and video-on-demand, to access the network; it then delivers the requested content to edge devices.

The USRM “allows us to break out of the SA-only world, if you will,” Hardy said, by handling monitoring and provisioning capabilities that would normally be handled by SA’s Digital Network Control System.

Switched video lets operators free up bandwidth by delivering less-frequently viewed channels only when subscribers tune to them.

Scientific Atlanta, a subsidiary of Cisco Systems, announced plans for USRM in January and released the software as an upgrade to its switched video servers in June.

Time Warner Cable, one of SA’s switched video customers, expects to roll out the solution in Motorola-based systems, Hardy said. The operator currently is deploying the vendor’s switched video platform in systems in Ohio and the Carolinas, among other locations.

Over all, SA’s switched video customers are in the process of deploying the technology in systems representing more than 7 million homes passed, Hardy said.