Cable plants were initially built as a single-purpose infrastructure for the one way broadcast of analog television. During the last ten years, in order to take advantage of emerging service opportunities and to head off competitive threats, cable multiple system operators (MSOs) have broadened their offerings to an expanding range of services, including digital broadcast and high-speed data. This progress continues with current trends towards additional growing services such as HDTV and various flavors of cable telephony and video on demand (VOD). There is an increasingly holistic realization of the cable plant as an integrated multi-service and multimedia infrastructure. This realization holds promise to enhance the efficiency, scalability, functionality and ease of rollout of services, through activities such as the proliferation of open standards, sharing optimized resources, and balancing offsetting characteristics of different services and media. The key to achieving these benefits is to evolve the cable network from a collection of isolated silos of vertically integrated components supporting particular services, towards more inherent fitness for multiple services and media. Greater inclusion of abstraction layers allows more best-of-breed providers of particular aspects of functionality, including the extension of shared functionality across multiple media and multiple services.