[opendtv] Re: Punching Above Its Weight, Upstart Netflix Pokes at HBO - NYTimes.com

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2014 07:56:13 -0500

On Feb 24, 2014, at 6:16 PM, "Manfredi, Albert E" 
<albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> QAM is use regardless, over the coax portions of the HFC plant.

True, but irrelevant to this discussion.

> The only meaningful question is this: In pre-IP VOD, do these "regional hubs" 
> download their VOD content to a distributed set of servers, at head-ends 
> throughout the MVPD network, or do individual VOD users have to send their 
> requests way upstream, to the "regional hub?" If the latter is true, the 
> system would be hopelessly limited. (Maybe they are hopelessly limited? You 
> seem to say they are, but I'm not sure how true that is.)

Historically, the  servers were located at each head end. Some may allow 
updating from IP networks; some require assets to be loaded locally from a 
portable hard disk or other media. This is the reason that the Comcast rep on 
the streaming media panel said it can take weeks to add a new asset to 
theMPEG-2  playout servers.

Most of the MSOs use a service called OnDemand that distributes streams to 
cable head ends via satellite. In 2013 OnDemand announced that they are moving 
to IP delivery, to increase the titles offered, and to serve new mobile devices.

So at the moment it's a mixed bag, but the capabilities of the users STB are a 
key factor. If the box does not support IP and h.264, a MPEG-2 stream is 
delivered on the live side of the plant. If the STB does support IP and h.264 
(or if the stream is delivered to a tablet or smartphone) the bits are 
delivered via the Internet. Some systems only support mobile device inside the 
home via the MVPDs ISP service.
> IF legacy VOD requests go to a distributed set of VOD servers at head-ends, 
> then there shouldn't be a big difference in network bandwidth required for 
> VOD, whether IP is used or not.

The major difference is rate control and delivered resolution. 

Clearly the next step us to move to IP enabled STBs as Comcast has been doing.

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