BigBand demos IPTV delivery technology for cable

BigBand Networks, the digital video platform provider in Redwood City, Calif., reported that it's demonstrating switched digital video capability at the CableLabs conference this week in Keystone, Colo. SDV will enable legacy cable plants to deliver video the way IPTV does--one channel at a time.

Most cable systems currently transmit all channels in a given tier to the set-top box in subscribers' homes, which is why the industry sunk so much money into infrastructure during the '90s. Many cable pipes around the country have 500 to 750 MHz capacity, enough to simultaneously carry 83 to 125 uncompressed hi-def broadcast channels. With SDV, only the channel being viewed is delivered to the set-top, freeing up the remaining capacity.

A robust SDV cable plant could easily compete with a telco fiber system's broadband offering, and cable operators are moving to implement SDV. Time Warner Cable transitioned its Austin, Texas system to SDV last year using BigBand servers, according to several reports. BigBand won a technical Emmy with TWC in January for a technology that allows subscribers to jump to the start of a program in progress without needing a recording device.

BigBand meanwhile posted second quarter earnings last week of $1.7 million on revenues of $54.5 million, up from a loss of nearly $600,000 on revenues of $38 million during the same period a year ago.

For more:
- BigBand details its participation at the CableLabs event here
- BigBand's second quarter results are here
- Multichannel News covers TWC's switched digital Austin operation here