Narrowcast Services – Unifying Architectures (2007)

By Glen Hardin, Time Warner Cable

Cable advertising is a primary source of revenue for the cable industry. It is a massive successful industry by its own right. The ability to target an advertisement to a subset of the cable plant or “ad zone” is one of the key attributes that differentiates cable’s advertising capability from that of the national broadcasters. These uniquely zoned advertisements are now more valuable as they are targeted to their intended recipients and narrowly broadcast to a subset of the cable plant to reach the recipients.

High Speed Data (HSD) is another highly successful cable service that cable deployed over 10 years ago and is still experiencing strong growth. On a wide scale, Cable’s HSD offering is leading the competition with 8Mbps and 10 Mbps HSD offering.

Closely tied to the HSD service is the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phone service. This relatively new service has quickly become another mission critical offering for the cable operator representing new sources of growth and income.

There is little doubt that Video On Demand (VOD) is a success. According to the industry press, across the industry, VOD revenues have grown to over a billion dollars of revenue for the cable industry per year. VOD is widely deployed across all major markets and is the cornerstone of the digital offering.

One of the next generation key technologies to unlock Cable’s bandwidth potential is the delivery of television through the Switched Digital Video (SDV) infrastructure. Broadcasting the select programs from the digital tier through SDV is projected to save 50 percent of the bandwidth required when compared to broadcasting through normal mechanisms.

Narrowcast Bandwidth is the primary technology infrastructure that forms the foundation to allow cable to deliver the aforementioned services of the triple play; Voice, Video and Data. The Narrowcast Bandwidth is native to the cable platform, is one of cable’s primary differentiators and serves as a springboard on which next generation services are launched. Cable’s current successes can be traced back to investing in the Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC) architectures. Cable’s future success will be built upon the extension of the HFC network, the Narrowcast. It is key to building cable’s sustainable network and is cable’s primary tool to address competition.

This paper seeks to provide context for the Narrowcast - its origins, growth, future and importance to cable’s future.

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