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NAB: Conax and Evolution Digital to take IP video to new markets

Conax-NewUS cable technology outfit Evolution Digital and content security specialist Conax plan to launch their eVUE IP VOD set-tops and hybrid IP delivery platform in new markets.

The companies used the NAB Show to highlight their existing solution for operators in the US market and said that they have ambitions to roll it out internationally in multiple markets.

Brent Smith, president and CTO of Evolution Digital, said that the company’s hybrid box, the eBOX, is now being deployed by a number of US operators – providing TiVo-enabled DVR from the network as well as OTT TV services for operators that have struggled to break free of legacy QAM-only infrastructures in a way that makes economic sense.

Traditionally, IP video has meant finding encoder providers, DRM providers, packaging suppliers and CDN providers – a process that Evolution Digital has sought to simplify and make more practical for the country’s numerous small and medium operators, according to Smith.

“This has been holding up [the] transition to IP. It is expensive and complicated,” said Smith, adding that eVUE TV provides an end-to-end solution, including encoding, DRM, packaging and CDN.

“This is a platform that manages all components. There is IP VOD, IP linear and network DVR. Our customers and currently providing IP VOD but there is a [path] to provide IP linear and network DVR too.”

Smith said that operators are under pressure from OTT TV providers and offering IP video quickly would enable them to provide similar services quickly.

While Evolution Digital has deployed its technology in Mexico and the Caribbean, Smith said the partners would also develop their joint solution into a pre-integrated solution for DVB-supporting operators outside the US market. “We want to create a common platform so Conax customers can have a more simplified way to do [IP video]. We are trying to create a nice packaged solution for Conax customers.”

Tom Jahr, EVP of products and marketing at Conax, said: “We are trying to find ways to take this international and we are working out ways to it.”

In terms of US market deployments, currently still the primary target for the collaboration, Smith said that rival OTT devices suffered from the constraint of being IP-only.

However, he added that operators have built their systems around QAM so a hybrid box would be a better device to enable IP migration, as the box still receives cable channels through QAM.

eVUE also enables multicast IP services, allowing operators to deliver IP services to a wider base than rival unicast delivery platforms. The client can handle multicast and unicast traffic.

Evolution Digital was set up by cable technologists in 2008 to break open the US cable technology market by focusing on digital migration technologies. It has manufactured and delivered over 14 million digital devices to date and has already worked with Conax in the Mexican and Caribbean markets. It has progressively moved to provide more IP connected devices as part of its portfolio.