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Video software

MSO Hangs 10 on MPEG-4 Wave

6:30 AM -- NewWave Communications, a Tier 2 MSO with about 115,000 subs, is the first US cable MSO to tap into Avail-TVN 's full set of turnkey video services, including MPEG-4-based linear video, pay-per-view, and video-on-demand (VoD).

Several of Avail-TVN's cable partners have been using its PPV and VoD components, but this is the first time a cable op with multiple systems has also opted for the company's MPEG-4 linear offering. The service trio is a product of the 2009 merger between Avail Media and TVN Entertainment. Several telcos that use IPTV have already hooked into the company's MPEG-4 transmission platform. (See TVN, Avail Media Merge.)

NewWave is plugging those services into systems serving parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Avail-TVN chief marketing officer Brian Matthews says cable operators are starting to deploy MPEG-4 and leverage its bandwidth-saving properties. Zito Media LP , an operator run by former Adelphia Communications exec James Rigas, was the first MSO to deploy Avail-TVN's linear MPEG-4 service, using it to get more punch out of systems that have just 450MHz or 550MHz of capacity. (See MSO Taking the MPEG-4 Plunge.)

In the case of NewWave, it's taking a "cap and grow" strategy with MPEG-4, simulcasting some programming in the new format and using the technology as the basis for new digital HD tiers that require new boxes that can do both MPEG-4 and legacy MPEG-2. NewWave has yet to specify its MPEG-4 strategy, as deployment of the technology isn't expected to start the rollout until the third quarter.

The operator could go all-MPEG-4 later, "but this [approach] gives them a good transition path," Matthews says.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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