Sunteți pe pagina 1din 14

Integrating DVB-C and DOCSIS Networks for Cable (IP)TV

John Horrobin

Cisco Systems, United States

1.0 INTRODUCTION
Cable operators and telcos have competed for broadband subscribers for years now. This
battle, however, may be just a prelude to the ultimate contest—the fight for video
subscribers.

Cable is well-established as an incumbent supplier of advanced entertainment-quality


video services. Clearly, telcos have to create a compelling value proposition to lure
subscribers from cable. Therefore, telcos are promising new interactive video services
delivered via Internet Protocol Television (IPTV). Telcos are determined to differentiate
their video services from incumbent video service providers, and will invest heavily to
develop and market those differentiators.

Of course, cable operators won’t stand idly by as telcos launch IPTV. Operating both a
digital video network based on the Digital Video Broadcasters - Cable specifications
(referred to herein as a DVB-C network) and a broadband IP network based on the Euro-
DOCSIS/DOCSIS specifications (referred to herein as a DOCSIS network) is a major
advantage for cable. While telcos have to build their IPTV solutions from scratch, cable
operators can take an evolutionary and selective approach to integrating IP-based
technologies in ways that best serve their subscribers and meet their business objectives.

The biggest challenge for cable operators is to continue to offer advanced entertainment-
quality services that meet the needs of their cable TV subscribers while evolving their
network with new technologies to extend their reach beyond the TV and offer more content
choices on more devices with total user control and a consistent quality of experience to a
broader subscriber base. This paper will focus on strategies for cable operators to meet
this challenge and develop an integrated video service delivery platform utilizing their
DVB-C and DOCSIS networks and new IP-based technologies to stay ahead of the
impending competition from telcos.

Although this paper does not specifically address analog video services, the concepts
discussed in this paper related to DVB-C services could be extended to analog services
with the addition of an encoding function either in the cable video infrastructure or in the
home video system.

The expression “Cable (IP)TV” is used in this paper to highlight the fact that cable
operators are focused on delivering cable TV services that meet the needs of their
subscribers. The cable TV services are predominantly delivered via a DVB-C network,
which today integrates IP-based technologies in portions of the network, and will continue
to evolve to incorporate new IP-based technologies. Cable operators will also continue to
develop new cable TV services for delivery over their DOCSIS networks to IP-based
devices. Thus, cable (IP)TV refers to a broad set of digital video services that are

362 IBC2006 Conference Publication


delivered on a hybrid network that incorporates IP-based technologies for delivery to both
traditional digital video and IP-based devices.

2.0 DELIVERING DIGITAL VIDEO SERVICES ON DVB-C AND DOCSIS NETWORKS

Cable operators that have deployed a DVB-C and DOCSIS network have a major
competitive advantage over other service providers aiming to offer competitive video
services. The DVB-C network has proven to be a very powerful and trustworthy platform
for offering high-value, entertainment-quality video services such as video on demand
(VoD), high-definition television (HDTV), and digital video recorder (DVR) services. When
properly equipped, the DVB-C network is arguably the best platform for offering a
comprehensive portfolio of broadcast and interactive digital video services today. Likewise,
the DOCSIS network has proven to be a very powerful platform for offering broadband
services, including streaming TV and other video services, and new innovations such as
DOCSIS 3.0 and Modular Cable Modem Termination System (M-CMTS) promise to further
advance the DOCSIS platform relative to alternative access technologies. With both DVB-
C and DOCSIS networks in place, cable operators have the luxury of selecting which
network is best suited to deliver a particular new video service they want to offer, and
incrementally upgrading that network as necessary to support the new service.

In contrast, most telcos entering the video services market have to do so through major
investments in video infrastructure, broadband access network upgrades, and home
networking and set-top box (STB) gear. They must build an infrastructure with the
scalability to deliver all video services from the ground up, and in most cases they are
relying on unproven technologies and a workforce that is generally inexperienced in
operating a video network.

Figure 1 depicts the delivery of a wide variety of video services over parallel DVB-C and
DOCSIS networks. As shown in the upper part of Figure 1, DVB-C video services such as
digital broadcast and VoD are delivered from the video source to the TV via an IP network,
a video edge QAM (EQAM) modulator, and a STB. As shown in the lower part of Figure 1,
video over DOCSIS (VDOC) services such as streaming TV and file download are
delivered from the source to the PC via an IP network, an integrated CMTS or, as shown,
an M-CMTS Core and M-CMTS EQAM modulator, and a cable modem (CM). The source
of VDOC services is typically a content delivery network (CDN) – a specialized, distributed
network for managing and delivering IP-based video services – operated by an online
video service provider or the cable operator.

IBC2006 Conference Publication 363


DVB-C
Services
• Broadcast TV Mux
IP
• VoD
• Switched Video Video STB
Apps
• Network PVR EQAM
Session/Resource
Management

PacketCable
VDOC Multimedia
CDN
Services
• Streaming TV
• File Download
• Video Chat IP
M-CMTS CM
• Online Gaming Apps M-CMTS EQAM
Core

Figure 1: Parallel DVB-C and DOCSIS Networks

Note that two IP networks are shown in Figure 1 for convenience; a single, multi-service IP
next-generation network (IP NGN) can deliver all IP traffic to the edge of the HFC network,
including all types of digital video services.

In addition to parallel transmission equipment, independent control plane infrastructures


are employed to allocate DVB-C and DOCSIS network resources. The DVB-C network
resources are allocated by an application-specific Session/Resource Management (SRM)
system. Most SRM systems are based on the Digital Storage Media Command and
Control (DSM-CC) architecture defined in Part 6 of the MPEG-2 specifications. The
DOCSIS network resources are allocated by the PacketCable Multimedia (PCMM) system
in conjunction with the CMTS or M-CMTS Core.

The following sections describe emerging video services for TV and PC users that can
increase cable operator revenues and improve competitiveness, and solutions for
delivering those services over the DVB-C and DOCSIS networks, respectively.

2.1 Serving TV Users with DVB-C Video Services

Growing the digital video subscriber base and offering new digital video services to
generate new revenue streams are strategic imperatives for most cable operators.
Fortunately, there are several market trends in the cable operators’ favor that can lead to
the achievement of these strategic imperatives. For example, the trend toward big-screen
TVs and high-quality home theater systems will drive consumers to increasingly depend
on their cable operator to deliver premium entertainment-quality video services like HDTV
to make the most of those TVs and home theater systems. However, competitors will
continue to create technical and financial challenges for cable operators to maintain and
grow the subscriber base.

To capitalize on these opportunities, respond to competitive threats, and extract the


maximum value from their investment, cable operators must continue to evolve their DVB-

364 IBC2006 Conference Publication


C networks to support compelling new services for their TV users. There are many
initiatives that can be undertaken to improve the quality of experience of DVB-C services
offered to TV users, such as:

x simulcasting the analog tier (all-digital)


x increasing the selection of on-demand titles
x adding more HDTV channels to the program lineup
x offering DVR STBs with advanced features such as multi-room, HDTV and
DVD-R/W
x enabling delivery of DVB-C services to digital cable-ready consumer
electronics (CE) devices such as media center PCs
x implementing switched digital video (SDV), which enables cable operators to
offer more program choices without allocating more HFC bandwidth
x launching network personal video recorder (N-PVR) services
x enhancing navigation with advanced electronic program guide (EPG)
features such as multi-channel mosaic pages

Cable operators that have not yet upgraded their DVB-C network for two-way operation
can utilize DVR STBs to offer on-demand services. Such cable operators could also
consider using the DOCSIS network to deliver interactive video services.

If hybrid fiber coaxial (HFC) bandwidth is scarce, there are several options for freeing up
additional bandwidth for new services:

x decreasing the number of analog video channels offered


x improving the statistical multiplexing of digital video channels
x using encoders and STBs that support advanced video compression (AVC)
codecs such as H.264, which use less bandwidth than MPEG-2 to deliver
comparable video quality (this also saves storage space on DVR STBs)
x implementing SDV, whereby only those programs being viewed by
subscribers are transmitted on the HFC network, resulting in HFC bandwidth
savings

It should be noted that, since the vast majority of the embedded base of DVB-C STBs do
not support AVC codecs, cable operators will have to continue to deliver MPEG-2 encoded
content to protect their investment in DVB-C STBs. However, cable operators can
maximize the utilization of their HFC bandwidth by equipping their top-tier subscribers with
STBs that support both MPEG-2 and AVC codecs, and using an AVC codec to encode
services offered exclusively to the top-tier subscribers.

The challenge for cable operators is to evolve their DVB-C networks with technology that
meets their near-term objectives yet is consistent with their long-term objectives. By using
products that can support DVB-C services now and VDOC services in the future, such as
digital video encoders which support both MPEG-2 as well as AVC codecs, cable
operators can make incremental investments to build a future-proof video infrastructure
that can adapt to the changing needs of their subscribers.

2.2 Serving PC Users With Video over DOCSIS Services

IBC2006 Conference Publication 365


VDOC services include all types of video content delivered over the DOCSIS network,
including real-time streaming TV, file download, online gaming, video chat services, and
many others. These services may be managed by the cable operator, or delivered ‘over
the top’ of the cable network directly from online video sources to a broadband
subscriber’s PC. The over the top services are typically transparent to the cable operator,
in which case the DOCSIS network is serving simply as a broadband pipe to the
subscriber, with no quality of service guarantees.

Today, over-the-top VDOC services are widely available to PC users from online video
aggregators, television broadcasters, cable programmers, niche content libraries,
consumer-produced video publishing sites, and peer-to-peer networks. The service
models include live webcasts, on-demand streaming TV, and file download of TV shows,
movies and other video content (push and pull). With the recent explosion in online video
content, broadband subscribers are increasingly using the DOCSIS network to access
VDOC services, and the quality of experience associated with VDOC services is an
increasingly important value metric to broadband subscribers. Therefore, though cable
operators typically do not generate incremental revenues from over the top services, they
must take care to deliver a quality of experience that is on par with competitive broadband
services, or risk losing their broadband subscribers. As over the top services become
more pervasive, and the quality of experience more critical to the consumer, there may be
opportunities for cable operators to generate incremental revenues by offering quality of
service enhancements to either the online video service providers or the broadband
subscribers.

A few cable operators are offering managed video services on their DOCSIS networks,
which are provisioned with quality of service, digital rights management, billing and other
network and operational support services, and are typically delivered via the cable
operator’s CDN. For example, some operators are delivering some of their linear cable
programming as real-time streaming TV to their broadband subscribers. The objectives of
offering these services commonly cited by cable operators are to increase the number of
distribution channels and viewers for their cable programming, test consumer interest in
new service concepts, and differentiate their broadband service from the competition.

Initially, streaming TV services can be delivered as a best-effort service over the existing
DOCSIS network. However, cable operators will need to introduce admission control and
QoS mechanisms to deliver a satisfactory quality of experience, especially if HDTV content
will be offered as part of the streaming TV service. Integrating a PCMM solution with the
CDN will improve the quality of experience by allocating bandwidth and ensuring a
minimum quality of service (QoS) on the DOCSIS network for each video stream. An
integrated CDN+PCMM solution also enables cable operators to offer differentiated levels
of streaming TV services based on, for example, the subscriber’s broadband service tier.

Much of the recent innovation in the DOCSIS network is in anticipation of accelerating


VDOC service creation and adoption. The M-CMTS architecture enables lower cost and
independent scaling of downstream channel capacity, both of which are critical for
delivering VDOC services. Channel bonding, IP multicast enhancements, and IPv6
features in DOCSIS 3.0 are also key enablers of VDOC services. Channel bonding
improves HFC network utilization through the statistical gains of larger channels, and
simplifies the allocation of HFC bandwidth to high-bitrate services such as video. The IP
multicast enhancements improve the cable operator’s ability to implement a switched
video solution on the DOCSIS network, which also improves HFC network utilization and
enables additional programming channels to be offered without allocating dedicated HFC

366 IBC2006 Conference Publication


bandwidth per channel. Finally, a key benefit of supporting IPv6 is a larger IP address
space, which will be necessitated by the proliferation of network-connected video devices.

With typical encode rates of 3-4 Mbps for standard-definition television (SDTV) and 12-15
Mbps for HDTV, MPEG-2 encoding is not practical for VDOC services. Advanced video
compression (AVC) codecs, such as MPEG-4 Part 10 (H.264) and SMPTE VC-1, with
typical encode rates of 2-3 Mbps for SDTV and 6-8 Mbps for HDTV, have emerged as
viable solutions for delivering broadcast-quality, full frame rate video in a reliable and cost-
effective way. Encoders supporting these advanced codecs are now available from
several vendors, and new STBs and other CE devices supporting these advanced codecs
are rapidly appearing in the market.

In a typical cable system, one or two downstream channels in a service group are
allocated to DOCSIS services, and the remaining channels are allocated to analog and
digital video services. Considering there are roughly 80-100 channels in an HFC network,
the analog and digital video services occupy approximately 95% of the HFC bandwidth,
while DOCSIS services typically occupy less than 5% of the bandwidth.

Clearly, in order to deliver video services over the DOCSIS network, more HFC bandwidth
will need to be allocated to VDOC services. Thus, implementing one or more of the
schemes for improving the utilization of the HFC bandwidth identified in Section 2.1 is an
important step in enabling VDOC services.

3.0 BRIDGING DVB-C AND DOCSIS NETWORKS

While maintaining independent DVB-C and DOCSIS networks is a viable scenario for
delivering video services to TV and PC users, respectively, there are many benefits of
bridging the DVB-C and DOCSIS networks. Foremost is the benefit of offering a broader
array of services to TV users, who typically account for the highest average revenue per
unit (ARPU) and thus are the most important segment of the subscriber base. Accordingly,
this section focuses on solutions for serving TV users with DVB-C and VDOC services.

Figure 2 depicts a “hybrid” video network, in which both DVB-C and VDOC services can
be delivered to the TV. Three key technologies for bridging the DVB-C and DOCSIS
networks are introduced in the diagram: the hybrid STB, the universal EQAM, and the
universal service/application management infrastructure. Each of these technologies is
discussed in detail below.

IBC2006 Conference Publication 367


DVB-C
Services
• Broadcast TV Mux
IP
• VoD
• Switched Video Video STB
Apps
• Network PVR EQAM
Session/Resource
Management

Unified
Session/Application
Management
Hybrid
Universal
STB
PacketCable EQAM
VDOC Multimedia
CDN
Services
• Streaming TV
• File Download
• Video Chat IP
M-CMTS CM
• Online Gaming Apps
M-CMTS EQAM
Core

Figure 2: Hybrid Video Network

3.1 Hybrid STB

For the purposes of this paper, a hybrid STB is defined as a STB which is capable of
receiving both DVB-C and DOCSIS video services. By definition, a hybrid STB has one or
more DVB-C QAM tuners, and either an internal DOCSIS cable modem or an IP-based
network interface port for communication with an external DOCSIS cable modem, and can
receive video services via either DVB-C or DOCSIS downstream channels.

Another important characteristic of a hybrid STB is the support for both MPEG-2 and AVC
codecs. Support for the MPEG-2 codec is required for receiving existing DVB-C services,
while support for an AVC codec is required to receive VDOC services, and possibly some
new DVB-C services. VDOC services are not likely to be encoded with the MPEG-2 codec
due to the relatively high bitrate of MPEG-2 compared to AVC codecs. Furthermore, new
STBs designed to receive VDOC services can incorporate AVC codecs for a relatively low
incremental cost.

Ideally, a hybrid STB will support one or more IP home network interfaces. The use of the
hybrid STB in an IP home network is discussed further in Section 4.0.

A hybrid STB with an internal cable modem will support DOCSIS 1.x/2.0 features, and
ideally will also support DOCSIS 3.0 features, including channel bonding, IPv6 and IP
multicast enhancements, all of which are important enablers of VDOC services (see
Section 2.2).

The hybrid STB must support the standard features of a traditional cable STB, including
conditional access and digital rights management. In addition, support for standards-
based middleware such as the CableLabs OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP) is
highly desirable, as it provides many operational benefits to the cable operator.

368 IBC2006 Conference Publication


As shown in Figure 2, the hybrid STB enables a TV user to access video services from
both the DVB-C and DOCSIS networks. Since the TV is the centerpiece of the home
entertainment system, and is often the largest consumer electronics investment in their
home, consumers want to enjoy all types of video services on their TV and share those
services with family and friends. The hybrid STB enables consumers to enjoy not only
DVB-C services, but also live webcasts, online channels, post-broadcast and vintage TV
shows, consumer-produced video and other niche content on their TV.

The hybrid STB also presents an opportunity for cable operators to develop integrated
applications which enhance the viewing experience. For example, a TV user could
participate in a video chat session via the DOCSIS network while viewing DVB-C services.

The ability of the hybrid STB to support both DVB-C and VDOC services protects the cable
operators’ investment in this critical asset as they create innovative ways of using both
their DVB-C and DOCSIS networks to deliver compelling video services to their
subscribers.

3.2 Universal EQAM

The M-CMTS architects took great care in defining the M-CMTS edge QAM modulator
(EQAM) so that it could be seamlessly integrated with a traditional video EQAM, and thus
enable both DOCSIS and digital video applications to share a common EQAM device. As
a result, a new product concept emerged from the M-CMTS architecture: the universal
EQAM. A universal EQAM supports both DVB-C and DOCSIS services, and the EQAM
resources can typically be shared on a per RF port or QAM channel basis.

The flexibility to support both DVB-C and DOCSIS downstream channels within a single
EQAM product provides investment protection and operational benefits for cable operators
as they alter the mix of DVB-C and VDOC services offered.

3.3 Unified Session/Application Management

Another key technology for bridging the DVB-C and DOCSIS networks to deliver video
services is a common control plane infrastructure that can support all video applications,
whether delivered over the DVB-C or the DOCSIS network. The unified
session/application management (USAM) system is a conceptual control plane solution for
cable (IP)TV services.

The USAM system receives client session requests for video services and coordinates the
allocation of network resources required to deliver the service with the appropriate
resource management entities and network elements. The USAM is ‘unified’ in that it is
able to initiate resource allocation for services on both the DVB-C and DOCSIS networks.

Since the USAM has a view of the DVB-C and DOCSIS network resources, one can
envision an architecture in which the client specifies its network capabilities in each service
request to the USAM, and the USAM system decides which network resources are best
suited to deliver the requested service based on the client’s capabilities, network
availability, and other decision criteria.

As with the hybrid STB and the universal EQAM, the USAM system provides investment
protection and flexibility for cable operators as they offer a mix of DVB-C and VDOC
services to meet the needs of their subscribers.

IBC2006 Conference Publication 369


4.0 INTEGRATED VIDEO SERVICE DELIVERY PLATFORM

The previous section focused on delivering DVB-C and VDOC services to the TV via the
hybrid STB. In this section, the concept of an integrated video service delivery platform is
introduced to facilitate the delivery of DVB-C and VDOC services to a wide variety of
network-connected devices, including media center PC’s, DVD player/recorders, gaming
consoles, handheld media players, and other CE devices. With an integrated video
service delivery platform, cable operators can extend the reach of their DVB-C services,
and offer new value-added services like DVD downloads and remote access to personal
video content. An example of an integrated video service delivery platform is shown in
Figure 3.

All Video
Services STB

• Broadcast TV
• VoD
• Switched Video IP
• Network PVR Apps
NGN
• Streaming TV Hybrid
• File Download Universal
EQAM STB IP
• Video Chat CDN M-CMTS
• Online Gaming Home
Core Net
SRM
PacketCable
Multimedia CM

Unified
Session/Application
Management

Figure 3: Integrated Video Service Delivery Platform

The integrated video service delivery platform entails integration in the cable network and
in the home. In the cable network, the video service infrastructure becomes dual-purpose,
able to deliver both DVB-C and VDOC services, and thus providing cable operators the
flexibility to adapt their services to meet consumers’ changing needs in the consumption of
entertainment services. For example, VoD assets that have historically been accessible
exclusively via the DVB-C network and STB for consumption on a TV could be made
available via the DOCSIS network to a media center PC or other network-connected CE
device. Likewise, live webcasts that today are only accessible via the DOCSIS network
and cable modem for consumption on a PC could be transcoded and made available via
the DVB-C network and STB for consumption on a TV. As described in previous sections,
the IP NGN, M-CMTS, DOCSIS 3.0, universal EQAM, CDN, PCMM, and USAM are key
infrastructure technologies of an integrated video service delivery platform.

In the home, an integrated video service delivery platform can be realized with an IP home
network providing connectivity between the DVB-C and DOCSIS networks and the STBs,
PCs, and other CE devices in the home. The IP home network can be a wired or wireless
network. A wired home network may be based on Ethernet, or on technologies specified
by industry groups such as the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) and the Home
Phoneline Networking Alliance (HomePNA), which enable the reuse of existing cabling in

370 IBC2006 Conference Publication


the home to connect IP-based devices. A wireless home network may be based on
802.11a/b/g/n technology or other emerging wireless technologies.

As shown in Figure 3, connectivity to the cable network could be through a hybrid STB and
a standalone DOCSIS cable modem. Cable operators could extend the reach of their
DVB-C services beyond the TV to other network-connected devices via the hybrid STB. In
this case, the hybrid STB would perform IP encapsulation to deliver the DVB-C services
over the IP home network. Cable operators could also offer VDOC services via the cable
modem and/or hybrid STB to network-connected devices, and utilize this platform to
introduce IP STBs and other IP-based CE products.

With an integrated video service delivery platform, there are endless possibilities for
innovative home networking and CE products and solutions to emerge to deliver the
ultimate Cable (IP)TV experience. To foster innovation and promote interoperability
between the home networking and CE products, it helps to define an abstract model of the
home video system, as described in the following section.

4.1 Logical Integrated Home Video System

The logical integrated home video system depicted in Figure 4 is an abstract model of the
basic functional components that could be employed to deliver a wide range of cable
(IP)TV services on network-connected devices throughout the home. The functional
components and potential service capabilities of this system are described in detail below.
Note that this abstract model only addresses digital video services; convergence with data
and voice services is outside the scope of this paper.

DVR
Schedule, Record
DRM
Display
Video
over CA
DVB-C
Gateway IP Video Player
DRM

DRM

Tune, Route, Home GUI, Decode,


Translate Network Render
Video
over
DOCSIS
DRM
Media Server Digital Rights
DRM
Management
Store, Transcode
CA Conditional
Access

Figure 4: Logical Integrated Home Video System

IBC2006 Conference Publication 371


The Gateway provides an interface between the HFC network and the IP home network.
The gateway contains the functionality of a DVB-C QAM receiver and a DOCSIS cable
modem to enable tuning to DVB-C and DOCSIS channels to receive all Cable (IP)TV
services. The gateway routes the incoming digital streams to the appropriate device(s) on
the IP home network. If necessary, the gateway performs protocol translation, including IP
encapsulation of DVB-C services, to ensure the output streams comply with the IP home
network protocol standards.

In addition to the basic functions described above, the gateway could also serve as a
video service proxy for other devices in the home, intercepting service requests from the
devices and, depending on the request and status of existing services on the gateway,
either fulfill the request directly or forward the request to the appropriate
service/application management entity to acquire the service. For example, for switched
video services, upon receiving a channel change request from a network-connected
device, the gateway could forward the video stream to the device if it is already available
to the gateway, or communicate with the cable network to acquire the video stream and
then forward it to the device.

Though not shown in Figure 4, the gateway could also support analog video services by
encoding, multiplexing, securing and encapsulating the analog video for delivery across
the IP home network.

The DVR enables user control of real-time video services (pause, fast-forward, reverse)
and records real-time video received from the gateway according to a recording schedule.
The DVR either maintains a recording schedule locally, or relies on a service/application
management entity in the cable system to maintain the recording schedule and provide
recording instructions to the DVR. The DVR may support recording video content on a
hard disk and/or other media, such as a DVD, and could forward the recorded content to
the media server for archiving.

The Media Server provides storage, transcoding and sourcing capabilities to enable video
content archiving and retrieval by any network-connected device. Transcoding is
performed when necessary to ensure the video is compatible with the receiving device.
For example, VoD titles could be downloaded directly to the media server via the DOCSIS
network (as a push or pull), and subsequently sourced by the media server as a real-time
video stream to other network-connected devices on demand by the consumer.

Another possible function of the media server is to enable the consumer to remotely
access video content stored on the media server through the DOCSIS network.

The Video Player receives real-time video streams from the other logical components,
extracts the video from the IP packets, decodes the video, and renders the video for
viewing by the consumer on the Display. The video player also provides the user
interface for browsing, searching, selecting and controlling video services.

Two additional critical functions of the home video system are Conditional Access (CA)
and Digital Rights Management (DRM). The CA function is an integral part of the
conditional access system employed by the cable operator, and performs authentication,
authorization and decryption to limit access to content based on the terms of the individual
subscriber’s service agreement with the cable operator. The CA function may be
implemented as a removable or downloadable subsystem hosted by the Gateway.

372 IBC2006 Conference Publication


The DRM system provides content protection across the IP home network to enforce the
usage rights of the content in accordance with the licensing terms of the content owner,
and safeguard against unauthorized copying of the content. The DRM is distributed
throughout the home video system, with a DRM client supported on each network-
connected device on the IP home network.

The CA and DRM functions are critical enablers of Cable (IP)TV since cable operators and
content owners must be confident in the content protection abilities of the home video
system before premium content can be offered on the system.

4.2 Integrated Video Portal

Cable operators benefit greatly from owning the interface to entertainment-quality video
services in the home. An integrated video service delivery platform provides an
opportunity for cable operators to extend the reach of their EPG beyond the STB with an
integrated video portal that presents a consistent, personalized view of all cable (IP)TV
services from any network-connected device. Such a portal could provide access to
traditional DVB-C services as well as new value-added services, such as purchasing on-
demand content for download to a media center PC. An integrated video portal could also
provide a common, multi-platform, branded user interface for browsing and searching
video content regardless of whether it is available from the cable network, affiliated or non-
affiliated websites, or local storage.

An integrated video portal could be architected as a distributed application, with clients


running on each network-connected device supported by the universal service/application
management infrastructure. The use of a standard middleware solution such as DVB
Multimedia Home Platform (MHP) would facilitate application portability across devices.

5.0 CONCLUSION

The ultimate winner in the battle for video subscribers will be the service provider who can
be the most responsive to the rapidly changing consumer demands for video services.
Consumers are not demanding IPTV per se. Consumers are demanding easy access to a
broader choice of content, on more devices, with total user control and a consistent quality
of experience. Cable operators are in an excellent position to extend their leadership in
providing entertainment-quality video services even in the face of impending competition
from telcos and other service providers.

This paper outlined the following strategies for cable operators to respond to competitive
threats and meet the challenges of maintaining customer satisfaction while introducing
significant technical innovations to their operational networks:

1. Continue investment in DVB-C networks to introduce new services and make more
efficient use of HFC bandwidth.
2. Implement key enabling technologies to support video services on DOCSIS
networks to enhance broadband services and provide a platform for offering
entertainment-quality, IP-based video services.
3. Introduce hybrid STB, universal EQAM and USAM technologies to bridge DVB-C
and DOCSIS networks to deliver a broader array of services to TV users.

IBC2006 Conference Publication 373


4. Create an integrated video service delivery platform with dual-purpose video
infrastructure equipment and home gateway to enable access to DVB-C and VDOC
services from any device.

The above strategies allow cable operators to continue to deliver compelling new services
to their subscriber base while expanding their reach beyond the TV and deliver a broad
range of cable (IP)TV services to a broader base of subscribers.

374 IBC2006 Conference Publication