Time Warner's Getting Switched Up

Time Warner Cable said it plans to roll out switched-broadcast-video technology in several markets this year, and the MSO is eyeing a potential 2006 national rollout that would allow it to reclaim up to one-half of its digital-channel capacity between hub locations and consumer homes using switched technology.

The MSO believes it could place half its digital channel lineup — plus video-on-demand streaming — on switched broadcast video (SBV), saving gobs of bandwidth to expand its video-on-demand, HDTV programming and other new services.

At the same time, the MSO is committed to rolling out digital simulcast to half its digital subscriber base this year.

By definition, digital simulcast increases the amount of spectrum Time Warner Cable needs to set aside for video, but switched broadcast video allows it to reclaim all of that bandwidth, and more, for future applications.

“The history of cable has been chapter after chapter of system upgrades,” Leddy, who’s been researching switched broadcast video for years, said. “That’s not the right approach any more. We ought to get to a model where we can offer any new channel or service that requires bandwidth within the 750 MHz [systems] that we’ve built across the country. We need to get to a switched environment.”’

SBV will follow on the heels of Time Warner Cable’s digital simulcast rollout. The company plans to have half its digital subscribers seeing all-digital pictures by year’s end.

For more, please see Matt Stump’s story on page 41 of the “Broadband Week” section of Monday’s Multichannel News.