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Japanese ISP Picks Harmonic

Plala Networks uses headend from Harmonic to deliver IPTV services in eastern Japan

June 9, 2005

4 Min Read

CHICAGO -- Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT), the global leader in digital video compression and transport solutions for telcos, today announced that Plala Networks, a subsidiary of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) and a leading ISP, is using a Harmonic-based headend to deliver television-over-IP (IPTV) to customers in eastern Japan. Harmonic's versatile high-performance DiviCom MV 100 encoding platform makes it possible for NTT's Plala Networks to simultaneously distribute broadcast-quality video services via existing DSL and fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) infrastructures to maximise reach and revenue while minimising operational costs and complexity.

Japan, one of the world's leading broadband nations, was an early adopter of IPTV, high definition television, video-on-demand and mobile video. For several years, Harmonic has enabled leading broadband service providers in Japan to deliver some of the world's most innovative and advanced digital television services. Through its work with Harmonic, Plala Networks has launched the world's first commercial IPTV service based on Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), an advanced version of the existing protocol that offers superior quality of service (QoS), security and other capabilities. Plala's digital broadcast television, VOD and Karaoke services are accessible to NTT East's growing base of broadband subscribers, currently encompassing approximately four million DSL and FTTP customers.

"There is great demand for new television services delivered over copper, fibre and wireless networks in Japan," said Mr. Satoshi Nakaoka, Director and General Manager of New Service Development at Plala Networks Inc. "IP is a very reliable way to deliver the video, voice and data triple play over many different networks. Harmonic's flexible solutions and IPTV experience helped us break new ground by launching the industry's first TV-over-IPv6 service. That same expertise and system versatility will make it possible to expand our services, move from MPEG-2 to an advanced codec and take advantage of the many features of IPv6."

Central to Plala's new IPTV service is Harmonic's DiviCom MV 100 encoding platform which provides outstanding video quality at ultra-low bit-rates. This makes it possible for NTT to deliver a competitive range of video, voice and data services over both DSL and FTTP networks. While Plala's service was introduced using Harmonic's highly tuned implementation of MPEG-2, the MV 100 can be migrated at any time to an advanced compression technology-such as MPEG-4 AVC (H.264)-through a customer installable option. The use of an advanced codec will further reduce video bit-rates for Plala, allowing more services to be delivered within the same bandwidth. The compression capabilities of the MV 100 combined with its native IP interfaces make it particularly attractive to operators that need to deliver a wide range of television services over bandwidth sensitive networks such as DSL.

Plala has deployed Harmonic's NMX Digital Service Manager to operate its digital headend as a series of services rather than as discrete hardware and software elements. The most comprehensive solution for managing an IPTV infrastructure, NMX's point-click-provision interface simplifies the task of adding new digital services and configuring the underlying systems. NMX also facilitates the adoption of advanced codecs by allowing MV 100 encoders to be migrated remotely while preserving service integrity.

"NTT is well regarded for its technology and service innovation in telephony, data and video. Plala Networks continues the NTT tradition with IP-based broadcast and on-demand TV services that establish new industry firsts and will serve as a model for other operators around the globe," said Dr. Yaron Simler, President of the Convergent Systems Division at Harmonic Inc. "The DiviCom MV 100's compression efficiencies and extensibility combined with the distributed monitoring and control of NMX Digital Service Manager enable Plala to centrally provision IPTVservices across a variety of networks. This deployment underscores why the MV 100 and NMX are key enablers of the world's leading IPTV services."

In addition to the real-time encoding of broadcast channels, Harmonic systems perform high-quality, ultra-low bit-rate storage encoding for Plala's VOD and Karaoke services. Traditionally, Karaoke services in Japan have used the MPEG-1 compression format, however, with this deployment Plala becomes the first broadband video operator in Japan to deliver a service based on MPEG-2. MPEG-2 in conjunction with DiviCom encoders enables Plala to offer subscribers better picture and audio quality as well as greater choice due to the ability to store and transport more efficiently compressed video content. Plala currently has a combined library of approximately 10,000 Karaoke and VOD titles, one of the largest available today.

Harmonic Inc.

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