Over-the-top video is only one flavor of IPTV; the kind that relies on DOCSIS data pipes for delivery. So what about the other kinds? As cable operators examine their infrastructure options, it doesn’t hurt to recap how the industry could be looking at IP video going forward. Here’s how Dr. Robert Howald defined the options in last week’s presentation through Light Reading Cable.
1. Video Over DOCSIS: Uses DOCSIS CMTS and cable modem gateway to deliver IP video signals over current cable HFC architecture.
My Take: The downside? This model doesn’t scale down the road. CMTSs are built for data, which means hardware costs and bandwidth don’t align with large-scale video delivery.
2. CMTS Bypass or Offload: Uses Edge QAMs and cable modem gateway to deliver IP video signals over current cable HFC architecture.
My Take: Remember DIBA? It’s still not clear if there’s a sweet spot where CMTS bypass works. Should operators bypass the CMTS and go direct to the Edge QAM, or is the next move to a new architecture entirely?
3. Hybrid MPEG/IP: Uses Edge QAMs and planned new video transport gateway and encapsulation to deliver RF/IP video signals.
My Take: Hybrid solutions are often the way to go, and current gateway device discussions certainly suggest that this could be a practical choice.
4. Video over CMAP: Uses dense new device that combines souped-up CMTS and edge QAM modulator in one to deliver IP video signals.
My Take: This, of course, is the Comcast route. And it’s an option that Motorola has talked about publicly as well. Where Comcast goes, others often follow.