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Cable Technology Feature Article

October 30, 2009

Harmonic Helps Blue Ridge Expand HD MPEG-2 Cable Service

By Anuradha Shukla, TMCnet Contributor

Blue Ridge Communications reportedly has deployed Harmonic’s Electra 8000 universal encoder to expand its HD offering to its subscribers in central and eastern Pennsylvania.
According to Harmonics, this extensive network upgrade marks the first live installation of the platform by a cable operator. The U.S. cable operator is using the one rack-unit, multi-channel, multi-format Electra 8000. This highly cost-effective solution helps Blue Ridge to rollout additional HD content of high video quality over its existing MPEG-2 cable infrastructure.
What makes the Electra 8000’s FLEX technology unique is its ability to provide an integrated decoding front-end and enabling Blue Ridge to seamlessly re-encode content from any source format or codec, according to both companies. The solution provides a simple migration path that can be easily implemented in the field via software upgrade.
Blue Ridge also selected the Electra 8000 due to the density and power efficiency of the multi-channel platform.
Harmonic (News - Alert) said the solution utilizes 40 percent less power per channel than equivalent industry averages.
Gary Woods, chief technical officer, Blue Ridge Communications, said he appreciates the video quality, bandwidth efficiency and density of this solution.
The U.S. cable operator leverages the Electra 8000’s simultaneous support of MPEG-4 and MPEG-2 codecs, in both HD and SD formats. This allows them to easily adapt to any type of source or delivery format, which is important moving forward.
Arnaud Perrier, senior manager of encoder product marketing at Harmonic, said he recognizes that cable operators need innovation and flexibility to free up bandwidth in their networks, while enhancing video quality.
These features can be found in the Electra 8000 that is enabling Blue Ridge to deploy a rich HD line-up with exceptional video quality.
“This marks a further expansion of our relationship with Blue Ridge,” Perrier said.

Anuradha Shukla is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Anuradha’s article, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Marisa Torrieri