Historically, cable system designs were based on a one-way broadcast model whereby all signals were sent throughout the network. Even though operators are now introducing digital services and subscriber-specific information streams, they are forced by this broadcast legacy to make fixed allocations of expensive equipment and bandwidth to each new service. This inefficient methodology fails to leverage the inherent advantages of cables two-way hybrid fiber/coaxial (HFC) networks relative to the networks of competitive broadband service providers. The authors argue that cables multiple system operators (MSOs) face an imperative to convert their service delivery architecture from its hard-wired legacy to a truly switched and routed fabric in which resources and bandwidth are dynamically assigned to sessions, of video, data, voice, or any multimedia form, in response to real-time subscriber demand. The new headend element required to achieve this is a new class of product, the Broadband Multimedia Router, through which all digital services will be controlled.