In a press release, which could be a mixed bag, Cisco reports:
Scientific Atlanta, a Cisco company, today announced that commitments for its Switched Digital Video (SDV) platform in the U.S. have exceeded 7 million homes passed. By extending and distributing the management of the video and data network control plane all the way to the “edge” of the network (generally speaking, at the optical node), operators can maximize their network investment by sharing quadrature amplitude modulators (QAMs) across both video-on-demand (VoD) and switched digital video traffic.
While SDV currently poses a problem for retail CableCARD devices (think TiVo) unable to resolve switched programming, these 7 million homes may not all receive SDV channels. Yet. And of those that do, we’re probably only talking a few stations. For now. 7 million represents greater than 10% of US cable subscribers, and Time Warner has indicated they intend to deploy SDV to 50% of customer homes this year.
SDV allows the providers to more efficiently utilize their bandwidth, a consideration with digital and HD content proliferation, but as a TiVo owner I’m somewhat concerned. Sounds like the various stakeholders are working on a technical solution, but when will it be released and who pays for it? And I assume I’ll have to give up yet another spot on my surge protector.
Speaking of CableCARD, Mari cornered a Motorola colleague for a Q&A sesson:
Given such a massive market transition, I’ve been wondering about some of the details behind putting so many CableCARD set-tops in the field. For a technical perspective I caught up with Motorola’s own Rob Folk.
One unfortunate, but relevant-to-this-SDV-discussion (not to mention VOD) comment:
Retail set-tops don’t have all of the same functionality as cable set-tops at this point.