SkyStream's broadband vision

SkyStream Networks is introducing a video-services router intended to make it easier for cable operators and telecommunications companies to offer the triple play of video, voice and Internet services via broadband.

Called the Mediaplex 20 video-services router, the modular and scalable device starts at $60,000 for a base configuration that includes the chassis and the modules necessary to control the system and related daughter boards plugged into it, power supplies, fans, and ASI inputs and outputs.

"Users can manage multiple streams of video in the product rather than having many boxes on top of each other," says Bethany Mayer, SkyStream vice president, product marketing. "It's modular down to the port level and up to thousands of streams, so it's very scalable."

The router will be available next month and is already being tested by a large unnamed telecommunications company here in the U.S.

The ports are also user-assignable, which means that space or capital isn't wasted on modules with predefined ports that may never be used, says Ramin Farassat, director of product marketing, Hardware Platforms. "That considerably reduces the cost to us and to the operator. If users want just input ports, they can do it."

The system uses a technique called "transrating," a form of transcoding (the system also handles regular transcoding), which allows it to handle up to 250 simultaneous streams inside the device.

"With the transrating capability, SkyStream Mediaplex enables service providers to reduce the video bit rate on a per-stream basis," says Farassat.