Optimum Lightpath Brings Video Transport Costs Down-to Earth

By Carl Lindemann

Optimum Lightpath, Cablevision’s business broadband service
provider, has introduced Broadcast Video Transport (BVT), a specialty service
targeted towards media companies. The new offering available in the New York
metropolitan area competes head-to-head with satellite services. Will such wired
services bring a major shift from satellite communications?

“Staying terrestrial with BVT’s 100% fiber network offers
significant advantages over traditional satellite services,” said Troy Glick,
VP of product development, Optimum Lightpath. “It is priced aggressively to
deliver significant savings.”

According to Troy, BVT is intended to
meet the needs of production facilities, broadcasters, television stations, and
content distributors that have high-resolution broadcast quality video
requirements. The service’s 1.485 Gbps of available bandwidth supports
compressed, uncompressed, analog, digital, and high-definition video applications.

No doubt, such IP-based services are the way of the future
due to price pressures. Till now, the stumbling block has been matching the
quality of satellite services. Issues like packet loss, transit delay and
jitter have introduced new challenges in online data transmission that has
hampered adoption. Now, according to Troy, BVT is not just ready for prime time
– it’s proven.

For more than two years,
internal Cablevision clients including the Madison Square Garden network have
utilized the service that is now packaged to meet the needs of external

“We’ve ‘productized’ it by offering different classes of
service and Quality of Service. When you’re charging customers, you want the
right product offering that we’ve created here. This isn’t just some data
service put on its side with a new label ‘for broadcast’. This has been
purposed for this from the ground-up to deliver broadcast needs 100% of the
time,” said Troy.

The new service benefits from the experience of other
bandwidth providers getting into media services. Building a dedicated test
center was key to meeting the special needs for media delivery.

“It was very difficult when data companies first got involved in
VOIP. They quickly discovered it’s not just about whether the data packets got
there, but how good the audio experience was for the end user. Was it better
than a cell phone call? With video, quality is even more critical. With
compressed HD, if you drop a packet you can get a black line across the screen
so we have to deliver the packets in the right order,” Troy said.

According to Troy, the new test
center is designed to assure potential clients. What they see there is what
they get. They can run test equipment to make sure that their standards are met.
In time, BVT will also be offered as a managed solution providing clients with
encoders and decoders as well as monitoring and maintenance services. Also,
uncompressed HD delivery will soon be available, too.

Of course, the limit to BVT’s fiber-based terrestrial
services is geography. Satellite service is available everywhere. Still,
there’s plenty of sports business within Optimum Lightpath’s reach.

“We have nine major sports franchises in our footprint. Our
parent company owns the Knicks, Rangers and the MSG network so we’re coming
into this with a great deal of knowledge and experience,” said Troy.

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