By Jeff Baumgartner  |  Multichannel News  |  Thu, 6 Mar 2014  |

Wants QAM/IP Combo To Serve As ‘Linchpin’ Of All-IP Transition

Buckeye Cablevision, which sells services under the Buckeye CableSystem brand, appears to be the first U.S. cable operator to seek a special waiver from the FCC that would pave the way for the MSO to deploy a new QAM/IP hybrid set-top box that uses both integrated security and a downloadable form.

Buckeye, an Ohio-based MSO with 130,000 video subscribers, argued in a waiver request filed Monday (March 3) that the proposed hybrid device made by Evolution Digital and outfitted with a downloadable DRM system developed by Azuki Systems (now part of Ericsson) would accelerate its all-IP migration plan and eliminate the need to execute a “flash cut” that would require a massive upfront investment.

The hybrid device, the MSO said, will serve as “the linchpin to Buckeye’s IP transition.”

The hybrid box Buckeye has in mind combines a unidirectional QAM-based digital transport adapter (DTA) with an IP video interface. The DTA side would rely on integrated encryption, while the IP portion would use a separate downloadable security system.  Although the hybrid box processes QAM and IP inputs through separate circuits, it’s made to deliver a “unified presentation” via an HDMI or baseband analog connection.

Under the proposed downloadable system, IP video would be encrypted using a app in the hybrid box that communicates with the Digital Rights Management operating system housed at the Buckeye headend. When a customer selects a program, the app and the DRM OS determine if the box is authorized. If it is, then the DRM OS downloads a key to the box that, in turn, decrypts the program or channel.

Evolution showed off an IP-capable DTA at last month’s NCTC Winter Educational Conference in Tampa. At the time, Evolution president Brent Smith acknowledged that some of his company’s operator partners were seeking clarification from the FCC on whether hybrid DTAs would be covered by existing waivers.

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