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Video services

Harmonic Does the Polska

Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT)’ s video-on-demand strategy got a shot after winning a deal to supply its servers and management system to Multimedia Polska S.A., a Poland-based cable and IPTV service provider with north of 600,000 subs.

The companies said the deployment marks the first VOD rollout in Poland. Initially, Multimedia Polska plans to offer the service in six cities, and then extend it to its entire digital cable base by year-end. The VOD network will consist of 20 regional sites across Poland, all linked up by IP-based connections that will enable the operator to serve up video to its hybrid cable-DSL service grid.

In addition to traditional VOD applications, the operator also plans to offer network-based digital video recording services such as “catch-up” and “look back.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Harmonic said it will provide the MSO with its StreamLiner servers and Armada asset management platform -- two components the vendor picked up via its $45 million acquisition of Entone Inc. ’s VOD assets in 2006. Entone is now focused primarily on building and marketing IP-based set-tops and media gateways. (See Harmonic Spends $45M on Entone VOD-Ware.)

Although Harmonic originally targeted the Entone portfolio at tier-2 and tier-3 telcos, the company is now gaining some traction with larger video service providers, says David Price, Harmonic’s vice president of business development & marketing communications.

And, he insists, those opportunities aren’t just for relative VOD greenfields outside the U.S.

“Just because an operator chose [a VOD vendor] five years ago doesn’t mean they have to use them all their lives,” he says, noting that Harmonic is seeing interest in its VOD gear particularly as MSOs ramp up time-shifting apps that leverage the on-demand system.

“We have a lot of replacement opportunities.” Price notes, adding that Harmonic is closing in on its first announced deal with a U.S.-based cable MSO.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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