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Cass Cable Flips Adara’s Video Switch

Turns Up Cisco-Based Hosted, Switched IP Video System That Can Live Alongside MSO’s Legacy Moto-Based Platform 2/12/2014 1:35 PM Eastern

Cass Cable, an operator that serves about 16,000 customers in central Illinois, has booted up an upgraded video service based on a switched IP video platform from Adara Technologies that can live alongside a legacy system that uses headends and set-tops from Motorola/Arris.

The approach, considered an alternative to all-digital, analog-reclamation strategies fueled by the use of simple Digital Transport Adapters, leans on a hosted platform from Adara that relies on a video switching fabric, set-tops and gateways, and a customizable user interface from tech partner Cisco Systems.

The platform, which Adara is pitching to tier 2/3 operators, allows MSOs to shift to a more advanced video platform and offer a higher level of service without requiring the operator to forklift and abandon the legacy infrastructure, explained Adara CEO Joseph Nucara.

The system in place by Cass switches, rather than broadcasts, the operator’s full live TV lineup. It delivers that video in IP format to the edge QAM, where it is converted into an MPEG transport stream and shuttled along to the customers’ Cisco-made set-tops.

Operators that travel this path will need to free up bandwidth to accommodate the new, fully-switched service. In Cass’s case, the operator has initially set aside about 12 6-MHz channels (about 72MHz of bandwidth total), and will likely tack on another six 6MHz-wide channels to ensure there’s enough headroom as more customers are put on the service.

But switching those channels will allow Cass to offer far more HD channels in that swath of spectrum than it could if the operator were broadcasting them, and set the stage for other new services on the horizon, including 4K video, Nucara said.

Early on, Cass is using the Adara/Cisco platform to pitch a lineup of about 350 channels, with about 120 in high-definition. The MSO’s legacy Motorola platform offers about 30 channels in HD.

“We’re quadrupling the number of HD channels,” said Tom Allen, VP and COO of Cass Cable, noting that the operator is promoting the new class of service primarily to existing premium video customers. “We hope it will have high demand,” he added.

DirecTV and Dish Network are Cass’s main video competitors, though some of Cass’s customers get exposed to advertisements from neighboring systems operated by Comcast and Mediacom. “We can now say we have a product that is as good or better,” Allen said.

Nucara said Adara is in the process of adding several new features to the services backend and UI, including video mosaics that simultaneously show multiple live TV feeds, as well as an impulse upsell feature that lets customers add new services with their remote controls.

This summer, Adara plans to enable authenticated TV Everywhere capabilities and to add support for Cisco-made video gateways that use the company’s multiscreen Videoscape platform  

Mark Guerrazzi, a former Cisco exec who is now VP of sales at Adara, said between 75 to 80 operators are at various stages of deployment, and expects that number to reach about 200 by mid-year.

Adara will be showing off its base platform at next week’s National Cable Television Cooperative Winter Educational Conference in Tampa. There, the company will be showing off a few new wrinkles on its roadmap, including the ability to integrate over-the-top video.

Adara declined to name the OTT partners it will feature for the proof-of-concept, but Nucara said the company’s fully-switched capabilities enables Adara to marry that content to the guide data in about the same way as it does with traditional TV feeds.

September