Light Reading

Zenverge Eyes More Streams for More Screens

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

Zenverge Inc., a chipmaker that specializes in video transcoding, is getting ready to take in-home video streaming via gateways and set-tops to the next level. The company's current-generation transcoding chips can support up to four individual HD video streams and device/bit-rate profiles at the same time, but the next version will target at least six streams, company execs tell Light Reading Cable. A six-channel transcoding chip "is a natural spot for us," says Tony Masterson, Zenverge's CTO. "We can go even higher than that." Zenverge isn't saying exactly when it will launch those new products, but the company expects to announce details about its roadmap "over the next few months," Masterson adds. Zenverge's technology is gaining traction with the cable guys as they continue to piece together IP video migration strategies for the home. Many MSOs are in pursuit of hybrid QAM/IP gateways that can convert the incoming QAM video stream into multiple IP video streams that can then be distributed to smart TVs, tablets, smartphones and other IP devices that are hanging off the home network. In addition to straight streaming, Zenverge's silicon also has the ability to transfer recorded content to other devices, a technique sometimes called "slideloading." (See Morega Tackles Video Portability.) The gateway approach can help operators offset some big capital costs, because only the primary device needs to contain a CableCARD, a module and interface that adds more than $40 to the cost of a set-top. While today's four-stream solution appears to be enough at the moment for most customers, a six-stream version offers a good technical target, since today's widely deployed multi-stream CableCARDs can support up to six individual streams. (See Charter Bemoans CableCARD Costs.) Zenverge's four-stream system has already racked up some wins. Among them, TiVo Inc. uses Zenverge silicon in its new TiVo Stream transcoding sidecar, and Arris Group Inc. has picked it for a new class of "headless" video gateway that's based on Comcast Corp.'s Reference Design Kit and can be deployed in out-of-sight places like a basement or a closet (that device is considered headless because it doesn't handle the video rendering tasks that a "headed" gateway/set-top would). Zenverge is also targeting headed gateways and advanced HD-DVRs that tack on the transcoding piece. (See Comcast All-Service Gateways Go 'Headless' and Suddenlink Activates TiVo Stream.) Zenverge's co-processor approach will compete with companies like Broadcom Corp., which is integrating the transcoding piece on its own. Zenvege's current four-stream chips already out-muscle some early single-stream transcoding devices, such as the Motorola Mobility LLC-made Televation, a product that includes a CableCARD. Comcast markets that device under the AnyPlay brand. Motorola's working on a multi-stream version of Televation, according to FierceCable. (See Comcast Uses TV Streamer to Pump Mobile Bundles and Comcast Beams Live TV to the iPad.) Gateway versus cloud
Although cable's also starting to deliver some live TV programming directly from the cloud (primarily in the form of national cable channels), the home gateway will remain a key part of the industry's strategy for five to ten years, Masterson predicts. A big reason for that, he adds, is because cable has already spent billions on a QAM infrastructure and still has millions of QAM-only set-tops in the field that it's not going to just walk away from. He also holds that QAM remains the most efficient way to deliver local TV broadcast feeds and PEG (public, education and government) access channels to customer homes. Transcoding all of those different versions for each local market represents a cumbersome and complicated task that many MSOs don't want to tackle yet. And that's the kind of trend Zenverge hopes will hold up as operators start to accelerate the gateway model. Zenverge, a privately held company founded in 2006, doesn't reveal financial data, but the company believes it will become profitable within 12 months. Zenverge recently closed a $20.5 million "D" round led by set-top chipmaker Entropic Communications Inc. Verizon Ventures, the VC arm of Verizon Communications Inc., announced it had invested (the amount was undisclosed) in Zenverge last August. Motorola participated in Zenverge's $30 million "C" round in early 2010. (See Entropic Buys Into Video Transcoding.) — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
2/5/2013 | 1:07:29 PM
re: Zenverge Eyes More Streams for More Screens
Will 6 be enough? Homes with three TVs and three other types of IP devcies (PCs, tablets and smartphones and game consoles) will take up all of that streaming capacity. Of course, this assumes that six devices are all streaming at the same time.-á-á How many video-capable IP devices are hanging off your home network these days?
From The Founder
The comms industry is rallying to the cause of open, independent interoperability testing.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Chiosi on the Potential of Open Source

10|6|15   |   06:27   |   (0) comments

AT&T Distinguished Network Architect Margaret T. Chiosi talks to Light Reading's Carol Wilson about the potential for open source technology to liberate communications service providers.
LRTV Interviews
Network Security in a Gigabit World

10|6|15   |   05:52   |   (0) comments

Masergy's James Harrison talks about some of the network security and data center issues network operators need to consider as they expand their broadband services portfolios.
LRTV Documentaries
Telefónica: In Search of Virtual Simplicity

10|5|15   |   07:30   |   (0) comments

Francisco-Javier Ramon Salguero, head of Telefónica's NFV initiative, admits virtualization initially means greater complexity, but with the right abstraction layer, it is possible to create a services-driven network architecture. He explains how Telefónica's current trials and initiatives are aimed at doing that, and what his company and other carriers need to ...
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit Europe Takeaways

10|5|15   |   03:47   |   (0) comments

Participants from the inaugural Gigabit Europe event in Munich share their key takeaways from the conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Intel Urges Women to Take Advantage of Their Seat at the Table

10|5|15   |   4:27   |   (1) comment

Have inclusive and constructive conversations, attach a bigger meaning to your work and get involved in the cause, Intel's Monique Hayward advises women in comms.
LRTV Interviews
BT Updates on Plans

10|2|15   |   03:16   |   (2) comments

Peter Bell, CIO at Openreach, the access network division at UK incumbent BT, provides an update on the operator's trials and how Openreach is planning to deploy the broadband technology in its street cabinets.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Sonus Shakes Up SD-WAN

10|2|15   |   7:22   |   (0) comments

Sonus CTO Kevin Riley sat down with Light Reading to discuss the trajectory of the company, its SDN ambitions and why Sonus is taking a market-disruptive approve to SD-WAN.
LRTV Interviews
CityFibre's Gigabit Vision

10|1|15   |   03:18   |   (1) comment

Mark Collins, director of Strategy & Public Affairs at competitive UK city network operator CityFibre, talks about his company's plans to help build Gigabit Cities.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Automate, Scale & Create With Juniper's vCPE Solution

10|1|15   |   6:34   |   (0) comments

Join Kireeti Kompella, Juniper Networks CTO, and Steve Saunders, Light Reading Founder and CEO, as they discuss Juniper Networks' approach to NFV showcased with a turnkey vCPE solution, which demonstrates how service providers can use automation to rapidly deploy services.
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit Europe: Day 1 Takeaways

9|29|15   |   05:47   |   (5) comments

Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre and Iain Morris sup a beer and discuss some of the key takeaways from the first day of Gigabit Europe 2015.
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit in Europe

9|29|15   |   04:24   |   (0) comments

At the Gigabit Europe 2015 event in Munich, Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie talks about the availability of gigabit broadband in Europe.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
AT&T's Band of Women

9|28|15   |   4:36   |   (0) comments

Brooks McCorcle, the president of AT&T's partner solutions divisions and a mathematician by trade, shares stats on AT&T's diversity and advice on how to create your own band of women at work.
Upcoming Live Events
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Communication service providers realize that an ICT transformation is critical to their long-term survival, but most haven't yet committed to making it happen.
Hot Topics
Google Gives Huawei a US Device Boost
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/29/2015
Verizon's Go90 Is Live – Will Anyone Watch?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 10/1/2015
Eurobites: Dunroamin'
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 10/2/2015
Good News for NFV Interoperability
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 9/29/2015
TiVo Takes Aim With Bolt
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/30/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With so many new and exciting communications technologies now under development, it's easy to get caught up in the industry's escalating hype cycle. That's why the ...
Last week saw a big day in the 15-year history of Light Reading when Editor-in-Chief Ray Le Maistre and I were invited to interview the Deputy Chairman and Rotating ...
Cats with Phones
Hold My Calls, Indefinitely Click Here