By Patrick Barnard
TMCnet Assignment Editor
On Demand TV - a joint venture of NTT West (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone West Corp.) and Itochu - is reportedly upgrading its fiber optic/ADSL IPv6 networks by adding Tandberg Television’s Mediaplex-20T-based video headends with MPEG-4 encoding in order to deliver better quality IPTV (News - Alert) service throughout Japan.
Mediaplex-20 is a carrier-class video headend system that enables next generation services over any last mile - whether it’s ADSL, FTTP or CATV. It is reportedly the industry’s first fully-integrated video headend to deliver MPEG-4 AVC encoding, transcoding and picture-in-picture encoding. With capacity for 48 MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 AVC encoders or transcoders, Mediaplex is able to distribute hundreds of high-quality video channels in multiple formats and rates to millions of subscribers simultaneously. It also provides video multiplexing and de-multiplexing, routing, video rate-shaping, stream replication and ATM-to-IP conversion.
A big advantage for On Demand TV in using Tandberg’s MPEG-4 AVC transcoders is that they will allow it to convert its MPEG-2 content into high-quality MPEG-4 AVC while at the same time preserving all the features of its existing service. This will enable the IPTV provider to deliver its current base of MPEG-2 content over MPEG-4 AVC. With Mediaplex, the conversion process is said to occur in “one digital step” which significantly reduces failure rates, as well as the quality degradation which is usually associated with the traditional conversion method.
Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, migrating to MPEG-4 will result in bandwidth efficiency gains of up to 50 percent.
“After one year, our MPEG-2 IPTV service has been completely dependable and is operating well with the Mediaplex,” said Yasuyuki Taniguchi, chief manager of engineering for On Demand TV, in a press release. “We’re getting ready to expand our IPTV offering beyond our fiber networks and make it available to the rest of our subscribers over our ADSL networks, and Tandberg Television’s MPEG-4 advanced compression and transcoding technology enables us to deliver high-quality content regardless of bandwidth constraints or content format. The Mediaplex video headend’s efficient migration path to MPEG-4 will make it easy for us to upgrade our headends with a minimal amount of resources expended.”
On Demand TV will install the MPEG-4 AVC transcoding in its Mediaplex-based headends in Tokyo (East) and Osaka (West). Each headend will process transcoded MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 AVC content and deliver it to NTT’s broadband (FTTH and ADSL) customers. In addition, it will add two new Mediaplex headends to its existing installation of Mediaplexes to transcode the MPEG-2 content to MPEG-4 AVC and to provide additional headend redundancy.
With the addition of MPEG-4 AVC transcoding, NTT will become the world’s first carrier to deploy an MPEG-4 AVC IPv6-based television service.
NTT West and NTT East provide telephone and broadband services to more than 60 million subscribers across Japan, which has one of the world’s highest broadband penetration rates. On Demand TV currently delivers 27 broadcast channels over the NTT West and NTT East IPv6-based fiber networks using MPEG-2 compression.
For more information about Tandberg Television visit www.tandbergtv.com.
Patrick Barnard is Associate Editor for TMCnet and a columnist covering the telecom industry. To see more of his articles, please visit Patrick Barnard’s columnist page.