Cox Bets on IPTV in Vegas
Under the deal, Cox Business designed and built two 10Gbit/s fiber optic circuits to deliver services to a 67-acre site fitted between the Bellagio and Monte Carlo, comprised of both gaming resorts and residences. Tied in, Cox is using IPTV to deliver a linear lineup of 230 TV channels, as well as a video-on-demand (VoD) service. (See Cox Taps IPTV for CityCenter Deal.)
For the CityCenter video service, Cox's Las Vegas director of network technology John Fountain estimates that more than 10,000 IPTV boxes (provided by Enseo Inc.) are already up and running and using LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) 's Pro:Idiom digital rights management platform.
Cox is delivering the channels using an MPEG-2 multicast, running some high-definition channels at their full 19.2Mbit/s, with several standard-def networks coming in at 4.5Mbit/s to 5Mbit/s. Cox is obtaining much of that programming from the feeds coming into the system that's serving residential customers in the larger Las Vegas area.
The MSO is complementing the CityCenter linear TV service with a VoD offering powered by an IP-ased platform from SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC). Cox is feeding the on-demand component to each of the six CityCenter hotels via two 300Mbit/s point-to-point links.
More IPTV to come?
Fountain says the IPTV deployment in Las Vegas is not necessarily indicative of a larger technical trend at Cox, but did mark a unique opportunity that was driven by this particular client.
The folks behind CityCenter decided more than a year ago that they were going to go with a pure IP platform throughout their towers, running dual fibers to every room, and not use coax at all, Fountain adds.
He says Cox considered running an RF video overlay to the CityCenter towers, but decided that the technology wasn't ready for prime time, at least at that early phase of the deployment process.
Although the CityCenter deployment marks the first time any division of Cox has run a linear IPTV service, it's not the first location to get on-demand content from Cox over a managed IP network. The MSO is running that kind of VoD service (off the same SeaChange system and IPTV headend being used now to serve CityCenter) at the Encore at Wynn hotel, which opened in December 2008. Cox is taking a hybrid approach there, using QAM technology to deliver the hotel's linear video lineup.
Cox is using QAM exclusively for the video services it's delivering to Rush Tower, a 25-story addition at the Golden Nugget. So the technologies these hotels are using can vary greatly, but Cox has shown, with the CityCenter deployment, that it can do IPTV, too. (See Golden Nugget Bets on Cox.)
The CityCenter deployment was a unique one for Cox, but the MSO may look at IPTV implementations again as it goes after more hospitality business, a Cox spokesman said.
And the CityCenter experience could come in handy if Cox decides to deliver managed video services to residential customers using hybrid platforms that employ both IP and QAM. (See How Will Cable Deliver IPTV?)
Cox didn't disclose how much revenue the CityCenter deal is expected to bring in, but business and hospitality services continues to be a growth engine for the privately held MSO. Cox Business VP Phil Meeks said last month that the unit should eclipse the $1 billion revenue mark this year, and double that sometime during the next six years. (See Cox Targets $2B in Biz Revenues.)
Hospitality Networks LLC, an affiliate of Cox Las Vegas, already offers services to more than 125,000 guest rooms for clients in Nevada, New Jersey, Mississippi, and other parts of the U.S.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News