Cable Technology Feature Article
July 15, 2010
A Challenger Emerges for Independent Cable Operators
By Erik Linask, Group Editorial Director
With all the attention the major cable MSOs receive for their efforts – and challenges – it’s often easy to forget the smaller, independent operators, which, according to Norman Gillaspie, president of Transparent Video Systems, number more than 2,300 in the United States alone (and more than 50,000 globally, as a conservative figure). Much like the SMB market when VoIP began coming into its own, one has to wonder who is providing equipment to those smaller operators today.
Gillaspie explained, during an interview in San Jose this week, that the small, independent cable operator is, in fact, TVS’ target with its all-in-one cable solution, which includes everything a cable operator needs to deliver services, from the headend all the way to the customer premises.
“It’s a complete turnkey system,” he said, “We have every single piece – there is nothing missing – and our typical time from order to delivery is about 60 days.”
In fact, he says that from the time the system arrives at the customer site, operators can be delivering service in as little as two days.
The system includes all the multiplexing, encoding, subscriber management systems, electronic program guides, STBs, and everything else a large MSO needs – at a significantly lower cost. In fact, Gillaspie claims that its encryption system, for instance, if purchased individually from other vendors, could cost as much as an entire TVS system.
Of course, there is nothing stopping TVS from selling into the large MSOs as well – other than the fact that companies like Cisco (News - Alert) and Motorola are already providing product in those markets, making it more difficult to win market share against such dominant brands. On the other hand, those larger vendors – not unlike the telephony space – have tended to ignore the smaller operators (not mention their price points typically exceed the financial means of small operators).
“Other people have tried in this space and failed,” noted Gillaspie. “We are succeeding because we have every last piece – the ability to do multiplexing, subscriptions, STB updates, HD, emergency alerts, and more… all the things required from a major operator.”
With its Challenger platform already in use by independent operators worldwide, TVS is now developing a hybrid STB that will allow RF and IP delivery into the home, which will allow it to extend its reach into the independent telco space as well, again a cost-effective, fully integrated and tested solution enabling the delivery of all-digital service at a fraction of the cost of competing solutions.
Erik Linask (News - Alert) is Group Editorial Director of TMC, which brings news and compelling feature articles, podcasts, and videos to 2,000,000 visitors each month. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Erik Linask