BigBand Networks has unveiled an IP video delivery product suite designed to deliver Web-based and managed video services via DOCSIS 3.0 modems, but bypassing the CMTS.

Target consumer devices for this delivery mechanism, called vIP PASS, include IP set-top boxes, IP-enabled TV sets, PCs and handheld devices.

"Rather than adapt data for video, we adapted video for data," said Doug Jones, BigBand’s chief cable architect. "Ours is a software upgrade on an existing platform. All the ancillary features are still there."

The company says the suite features a single video interface for operators; is "enhanced" by BigBand’s edge QAM modulators, video control plane technology, video quality of service (QoS) and other tools; and leverages switched digital video (SDV) infrastructure for the delivery of managed video services.

"Delivering next-generation IP-based video services should not necessarily be based on the CMTS equipment originally designed for data and voice traffic," said Greg Ireland, research manager, consumer markets: video, at IDC in a statement. "It makes sense for IPTV traffic to bypass the CMTS, so the CMTS can be utilized for data and voice services with no risk of disruption."

Motorola also has suggested that the cable industry adopt an approach that bypasses the CMTS. Click here for a discussion by Motorola Home and Network Mobility Solutions executive Michael Cookish, published last November.

The DOCSIS over IPTV bypass architecture (DIBA), however, is not universally favored. Click here for a subsequent critique of the Motorola position by ARRIS Chief Strategy Officer Tom Cloonan.

Other vendors have worked on this problem. Click here for an approach to "Cable-Style IPTV" from Harmonic that won favor at the CableLabs Summer conference in 2007.

For its part, BigBand estimates that vIP PASS could save the industry up to 75 percent of its capital expenditures for CMTS expansions, or up to $2 billion over the next two years. BigBand retired its Cuda CMTS platform in October 2007.

– Jonathan Tombes, with Linda Hardesty

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