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Video services

Houston, We Have Pre-Packaged VOD

Phonoscope Communications Ltd. , an independent cabler based in Houston, has become the first operator to agree to deploy "VOD in a Box," a pre-integrated platform from C-COR Corp. (Nasdaq: CCBL) and the Comcast Media Center (CMC) that targets operators serving fewer than 25,000 digital subs.

Phonoscope plans to deploy video-on-demand services this fall, offering upwards of 1,200 hours of programming at the start. C-COR and the CMC made the announcement in concert with The Independent Show, taking place this week in Monterey, Calif.

Introduced in January, VOD in a Box marries C-COR's n5 Compact (n5C) server and nABLE backoffice system with premium and "free" on-demand fare that is aggregated and managed by the Comcast Media Center. The CMC has yet to disclose specific content partners for the small ops VOD offering. (See Comcast, C-COR Team.)

In addition to content and servers, the platform also pre-integrates the necessary receiving and streaming gear, as well as services and support for a group of operators that typically does not have the internal expertise or resources to install and manage VOD services.

Phonoscope did not disclose how many customers are served off its traditional cable system. The company also operates a privately owned fiber optic network. In the fall of 2005, Phonoscope teamed up with Optical Entertainment Network on a separate, completely fiber-fed effort that aims to deliver hundreds of video channels over IP connections to more than 1.6 million homes in the Houston area.

Phonoscope is a member of the National Cable Television Cooperative Inc. (NCTC) , a product and programming buying agent for independent service providers. It's also an affiliate of the CMC Headend In The Sky (HITS) digital service. Phonoscope officials were not immediately available for further comment.

While Phonoscope is the first to deploy VOD in a Box, it's not the first to kick the tires. Wave Broadband of Seattle, a historic C-COR VOD customer, launched a beta trial of the pre-matched tech-programming combo earlier this year.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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