Harmonic Delivers for German DTV Viewers

ASTRA Platform Services GmbH (APS), a subsidiary of Luxembourg-based satellite-service operator SES ASTRA, has selected Harmonic’s advanced video-processing technology to support APS’s digital free-to-air television service for Kabeldienstleistungs GmbH (KDL), a service provider to independent and private cable operators in Germany.

Independent cable operators today serve several million German subscribers, and with APS’s infrastructure upgrade, KDL now can provide up to 22 additional digital free-to-air channels being delivered from APS and SES ASTRA to the cable subscribers via the cable headends. Harmonic’s IP-based MPEG-2 standard-definition DiviCom Electra 5000 encoders, selected by APS for this project, achieve the best possible video quality at ultra low bitrates.

“Harmonic continues to support APS’s technology and business objectives, most recently to establish KDL’s new free-to-air TOPP [transponder optimized program packages] service provided to independent and private cable operators by KDL,” says Jörg Eich, VP of DVB/CA for APS. “Harmonic’s highly advanced digital video solutions enable us to offer an optimized service and provide outstanding flexibility, a critical requirement to launch new value-added services as quickly as possible.”

The Electra 5000 supports up to four simultaneous MPEG-2 SD channels in a 1-RU chassis, providing a highly dense, top-of-the line solution that drives down cost per channel, power consumption, space requirements, and overall operational costs. The combination of Harmonic’s advanced, IP-based Electra encoders with DiviTrackIP statistical multiplexing technology further maximizes the number of channels per transport stream while maintaining superior picture quality.

“Harmonic is at the forefront of MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 AVC video processing,” says Ian Graham, VP of EMEA Sales and Service, Harmonic Inc. “APS’s selection of Harmonic for this project reflects the inherent strength of our Electra compression platform, which is playing a critical role in the digitization and advancement of video-delivery networks across Europe and the world. APS operates one of Europe’s most modern satellite broadcast centers and, with this latest upgrade, provides private and independent cable operators in Germany with a very attractive free-to-air digital television service.”

In addition to outstanding video quality, efficiency, and density, Harmonic’s Electra 5000 MPEG-2 SD encoders provide a native IP interface, for seamless integration into IP-based networks, enabling more-advanced service delivery while reducing network cost and complexity. The Electra platform also features integrated decoding capabilities with Harmonic’s innovative FLEX technology. DiviTrackIP distributed statistical multiplexing enhances bandwidth efficiency of APS’s network by allowing bandwidth to be dynamically allocated to geographically dispersed encoders based on complexity of content. NMX Digital Service Manager greatly simplifies network management and control and provides seamless management of the new service.