Motorola Unveils Enhancements to its VOD Portfolio

--Launches OCAP Development Toolkit
--Launches New Set-Top Platform Offering Media Mobility
--Secures Deals with T-Home, Ziggo

At the IBC show in Amsterdam earlier this month, Motorola unveiled various enhancements to its VOD product portfolio that make use of adaptive media management (AMM). AMM is a technology framework that is billed as creating a flexible and cost-effective platform for the delivery of such on-demand services as VOD, on-demand advertising and time-shifted TV. According to Motorola, its AMM enhancements will enable its operator customers to rapidly adapt to changing content usage patterns, while optimizing storage, streaming and network costs; and will also enable more content choice and improved service reliability for end-users.

Motorola says that the enhancements are intended to respond to the ongoing rapid growth of operators' VOD content libraries, by addressing the fact that increased content choices mean that viewership is more widely distributed and traditional concurrency rules no longer apply. Instead of taking a "one-size-fits-all" approach to managing and storing content, the company says, its AMM implementation proactively and reactively manages the placement of content within the network and identifies and assigns the most effective streaming and storage technology (DRAM, flash, disk and network attached storage/storage area networks).

Motorola's VOD portfolio enhancements include:

  • The ODM2000 (slated for availability in Q1, 2009), an on-demand media blade that the company says is designed to improve the performance, scalability and reliability of its B-1 Video Server. It is a hybrid solid-state ingest and streaming module which supports a configurable cache of both DRAM and flash memory and which the company says is designed to support the full range of advanced video services. According to Motorola, the B-1 uses AMM to manage content and streaming between DRAM, flash memory, local and remote storage in a manner that maximizes system performance while lowering total operating costs.
  • The CPS1000 cluster manager which is the first component of Motorola's content propagation system. According to the company, it is designed to optimize storage, streaming and network resources, and improves the fault resiliency of co-located or geographically distributed on-demand elements.
  • System Release 4.0 of Motorola's on-demand solution system, of which the CPS1000 is a part. According to the company, SR4.0 features enhanced H.264 support, integration with Tandberg OpenStream 4.0, chaptering functionality for creating a DVD-like experience on VOD, and ranged playlists that enable the B-1 to insert targeted ads at any point in on-demand content.

In other Motorola news:

  • The company has announced the commercial release of a toolkit, called DEVPlatform for OCAP, for creating and debugging tru2way/OCAP applications. "Motorola is committed to bringing new, innovative and interactive viewing experiences to operators' cable systems," Larry Robinson, Motorola's VP of product management for digital video solutions, said in a prepared statement. "Motorola's support for open specifications and tru2way technology enable cable companies and application developers to rapidly bring to market the innovative television applications that consumers demand." According to Motorola, the new toolkit provides developers with both a Windows PC simulator and a commercial set-top environment. It allows developers and cable operators to load, run and debug on actual set-tops, the company says, without the need for a cable headend or any additional software licenses. It runs on Windows XP SP2 and is integrated with Motorola's tru2way-enabled set-top box. According to materials on Motorola's Web site, DEVPlatform for OCAP includes the following components: Standalone Windows PC developer environment; Windows-based PC simulator with virtual TV monitor, remote control, and set-top front panel; built-in section generator for generating MPEG-2 transport streams; a Motorola OCAP-enabled set-top box; Motorola OCAP middleware for both the simulator and the set-top; new project wizards for creating OCAP projects; TFTP and HTTP server software; sample applications and technical bulletins; Javadoc API references; Motorola technical support; system, design and testing services available on request.
  • The company has launched a multimedia set-top platform that allows users to transfer content to and from a mobile phone, without having to use a PC. It also allows users to create and store personalized music and video libraries, Motorola says. The first implementation of the new platform will be launched November 1st by Japanese mobile wireless operator, KDDI, which is deploying Motorola set-tops equipped with the platform to power a service called au BOX. The service will allow subscribers of KDDI's au mobile wireless service to transfer content between their home entertainment systems and their mobile devices. The Motorola set-tops will be offered to au subscribers as an option on a leased basis. Among other things, the boxes feature a CD player and CD ripping capabilities, in order to allow users to rip CD's from their personal collections, automatically retrieve CD information, store the files in their music libraries, and then transfer them to a mobile handset or portable media player via USB. In addition, Motorola says, subscribers will be able to play music from a CD, mobile handset or portable media player on the set-top through its integrated speakers. The boxes also offer video encoding capabilities, so that viewers can upload video from a DVR and then transfer it to their mobiles; a DVD player; and the ability to access the Internet, Motorola says. The new set-top platform is based on Motorola's KreaTV open software for set-top devices, which it acquired via its acquisition of set-top box manufacturer, Kreatel, back in 2006. According to the company, KreaTV is designed to let operators easily add new functionality and services at any time, is compatible with a wide range of OS middleware and DRM technologies, and supports multiple video formats, including H.264 HD.
  • The company says that Deutsche Telekom has selected its HD-enabled VIP1616E IPTV set-top box for its Microsoft Mediaroom-powered T-Home Entertain services. According to Motorola, the box--which T-Home will brand as Media Receiver 300 Typ A--will enable T-Home customers to access a range of multimedia applications, in addition to standard TV offerings. The box will also allow those customers to access premium sports content in HD and to use its included EPG to plan their viewing and schedule recordings. It incorporates a DVR and two-way IP capability.
  • The company says that Dutch cable operator, Ziggo, has selected its B-1 Video Server and its Stream Commander management software to power its new VOD service, which will offer both SD and HD content. The service launched commercially on the former Casema network in the second quarter and is scheduled to launch across the entire Ziggo network by the end of the year. The service features several thousand titles, including movies, children's programs, documentaries and music videos, and will shortly also offer a selection of content in HD. According to Motorola, its VOD platform has now been selected by European operators that collectively pass over 8 million homes. The B-1 Video Server--which Motorola acquired via its acquisition of Broadbus (see [itvt] Issue 6.87 Part 1)--separates storage from streaming, which, the company says, allows operators such as Ziggo to independently scale content libraries and streaming resources "at a fraction of the operational costs" of legacy servers. Motorola bills the solid-state server as providing a very high-performance, scalable and reliable solution for VOD and an open platform for advanced on-demand services, such as time-shifted TV, network DVR and on-demand ad insertion.