SeaChange Gives VoD a Shot of 'Adrenalin'

SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC), facing competitive pressure from cable operator-backed newcomer BNI Video , has unleashed "Adrenalin," a new back-office video software platform designed to help cable operators deliver video content to PCs, iPads, and mobile phones, as well as traditional set-top boxes. (See SeaChange Upgrades Its VoD Backoffice and Cable Guys Buck Up for BNI Video .)

SeaChange is demonstrating Adrenalin, a fourth-generation product that spruces up its existing Axiom Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) platform, at this week's Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) Cable-Tec Expo in New Orleans. Check out the news from that industry event at our SCTE Show Site.

The new product, which should help cable operators adopt a TV Everywhere strategy, integrates multiple digital rights management systems and video streaming formats for a range of set-tops, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)- and Android-powered mobile devices, Playstation 3 consoles, and other "over-the-top clients."

Potential customers will need to wait a while for their shot of Adrenalin: SeaChange doesn't expect to make the new system commercially available until early 2011.

The company believes Adrenalin's Web-like service oriented architecture (SOA) will serve as a back-office glue that will accelerate cable operators' ability to develop and launch third-party video applications. These include targeted advertising systems, next-generation content guides, and recommendation engines that let customers more easily find content as video-on-demand (VoD) libraries grow by tens of thousands of titles.

With an eye toward MSO-managed content distribution networks (CDNs), Adrenalin also features an automated content management system that enforces business rules for that content. (See Cable Thinking Big With Video-Focused CDNs and Comcast's 'Project Infinity' Takes Flight .)

"We're now hearing about [operators] implementing multiple CDNs and CDN sharing... almost as if we're creating a new level of complexity from a CDN-to-CDN level," says SeaChange president Yvette Kanouff.

Likewise, the company hopes Adrenalin and its ability to support future all-IP environments will stop a lengthy process that has required cable to touch and test every component of its legacy video platform before it can upgrade an application or introduce a new one. Kanouff says a decoupling of those components will help cable break free of that "monolithic environment."

Those noble goals might sound familiar. SeaChange is introducing Adrenalin just as BNI Video, a video back-office startup with financial backing from Comcast Interactive Capital and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), starts to nip at its heels.

While BNI Video is looking to disrupt the market with software that requires platform replacements, SeaChange says its new product doesn't require a forklift swap-out for existing customers, but a way for Axiom users to gradually migrate to Adrenalin and introduce multi-screen video delivery when it makes sense.

"This allows us to bring cable [operators] a next-gen environment without in any way disrespecting the legacy environment," Kanouff stresses. "We can't just throw away the deployment base... We have to make that a very carefully managed transition."

She says Adrenalin has been two years in the making, and includes technology elements SeaChange has obtained via recent acquisitions of eventIS Group, Mobix Interactive, and VividLogic Inc. (See SeaChange Softens Up, Cuts Staff, SeaChange Reports Q3, Buys Mobix, and SeaChange Snags VividLogic for $12M.)

Some SeaChange back-office customers are already taking advantage of some of that work. StarHub of Singapore and Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) have already embarked on three-screen video service launches. Other SeaChange MSO customers include Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Cox Communications Inc. , Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), Bright House Networks , RCN Corp. , Mediacom Communications Corp. , Knology Inc. (Nasdaq: KNOL) (via its acquisition of Sunflower Broadband ), and Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI).

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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