Motorola Plays Host to Microsoft IPTV
The service, expected to launch early next year, could be hosted by Motorola entirely or could be placed inside someone else's hosting facility. Decisions like that are still in the works, Motorola officials tell Light Reading.
"This is a solution primarily aimed at small operators, where you may have a couple thousand, maybe 5,000, subscribers," says Mike Laraia, vice president of sales and services for Motorola Mobility. "This will let us address the smallest of the small that really want to deploy video."
"What they're doing with this is going to help the medium and small operators," says Jessie Mason, general manager of Greenlight Communications, a group building a municipal fiber network in Dunnellon, Fla. Greenlight is one of a few customers Motorola is signing up for the service.
It's also viable for a large operator that wants to outsource some chunk of a deployment, but Motorola will wait before pursuing that kind of business.
Mediaroom has garnered quite a few Tier 1 IPTV wins, such as the U-verse service from AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). But the architecture calls for lots of servers. That makes it expensive for any operator to deploy, and competitors have claimed it also makes Mediaroom difficult to scale.
Microsoft has worked to improve this, partly to make Mediaroom better suited for Tier 2 and 3 operators. (See Microsoft Mediaroom Tackles Tier 2 IPTV.)
"Mediaroom 2.0 supports server virtualization. You can be much more efficient in utilizing the service, particularly if you are able to aggregate several small operators," says Colin Dixon, an analyst with The Diffusion Group (TDG) . "It's still not cheap, although it has come down in price quite a bit."
Motorola's service would consist of housing the Mediaroom servers and maintaining the software. Motorola could host content as well, but it's more likley that providers will keep using their own headends, Laraia says.
Competitors such as Nokia Networks , Orca Interactive Ltd. , and particularly Minerva Networks Inc. have been more closely associated with smaller-tier telcos. But smaller operators are still willing to shop for new video options, Dixon says.
That's giving Microsoft an opening. Last year, it got a high-profile Tier 2 win with SureWest Communications (Nasdaq: SURW), stealing that customer away from Minerva. (See SureWest to Make Its Mark With Mediaroom.)
Motorola's participation isn't surprising, as the company has gotten more and more involved with Mediaroom with each passing year. Motorola became a Mediaroom integrator a year ago and became a certified integrator this past spring, Laraia says.
Motorola has some experience with cloud services, too, as it's running a switched digital video (SDV)-hosting business out of San Diego. (See Moto, BigBand Play Small Ball With SDV.)
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading