All the radical changes in video delivery may be causing providers to feel overwhelmed, but it’s all good for Motorola, according to company executives at the 2009 Motorola Video Networks Users’ Conference in San Diego yesterday.

“We don’t control the market,” said Kevin Wirick, VP of IP video solutions with Motorola.  “We’ve got to react to the market. As I look to the future, I see a lot of good opportunity for us because it’s complicated and unknown. If the technology plateaus that’s not good for Motorola. As long as the business remains dynamic, that’s good for Motorola.”

It doesn’t appear that video technology will be plateauing anytime soon. Some of the topics discussed at the conference included IP video delivery, TV navigation and network DVR.

Since the courts have cleared the way for network DVR (For more click here and here), new technologies will emerge from that, said Wirick, adding that consumers may want to set up their own video libraries to take advantage of network-based storage. “We see libraries managed by the consumer as a big trend that’s coming.”

Another technology mentioned at the conference was navigation.

“I’m a frustrated VOD user,” said Wirick. “Navigating on VOD is tough. You can get everything, but you can’t find anything.”

Wirick said Moto is working on a project it’s calling TOD (television on demand), which will use Web tools and concepts to improve TV navigation and move away from the time-and-grid technology for “remotes Zenith developed 30 years ago.” TOD is building on work done by Leafstone, a Motorola acquisition. “A big key is connecting to something similar to what you’re watching right now,” said Wirick. “Metadata is a really big part of it.” (For more, click here).

IP Video

Another big trend is the move toward more IP video delivery to satisfy the demand for video to various screens.

“This whole shift toward IP-centric is very much part of our strategy,” said Bob Wilson, GM for Moto’s Networked Video Solutions Group. IP video delivery was “led originally by the telcos, but is now very much top of mind by the cable operators. It’s just a question of time.”

But Motorola is big enough that it doesn’t need to push one migration path in favor over others. It can still sell products whether operators choose to send IP video through the CMTS, send video to edge QAMs or deploy a gateway device in the subscriber’s home. (For more, click here).

“We don’t want to say ‘we really want to preserve our CMTS business,’” said Buddy Snow, senior director, Broadband Home Solutions, Motorola. “We’re pretty sure that everybody will not do the same thing… there is no common denominator approach. We’re not advocating any one in particular. It doesn’t make any sense for us. We have a very broad portfolio.”

One new product to deliver IP video to the home is the transport gateway, which Motorola showed off at IBC in September for the first time. Moto is working with Virgin Media in the United Kingdom to develop and deploy this device. The concept is similar to how AT&T deploys a gateway for its U-verse service and then connects that to IP set-top boxes within the home. But the cable video gateway will handle both MPEG video and IP. (For more, click here).

Moto’s transport gateway includes 4 Ethernet ports, 2 telephony ports, DOCSIS 3.0 support, 802.11n access point, 4 narrowband tuners for QAM video, and support for a user-provided external hard drive with DLNA for networking.

The transport gateway is just one way operators may choose to deliver more IP video. “What we’re hearing from the operators is ‘this is a mess, it’s so complicated to get all those streams out to people,’” said Wilson. “It’s their number-one complaint. We’re trying to figure out creative ways to do that.”

However operators choose to go, Motorola’s executives seem pretty confident.  “What we look for is the shifts or the changes,” said Wilson. “Fortunately, we’re in most of the camps.”

-Linda Hardesty

The Daily

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