Eutelsat Communications Optimizes Direct-to-Home Service in Africa with Harmonic

Global satellite operator Eutelsat Communications has selected Harmonic’s ProStream 1000 with ACE stream processing and transcoding solution to optimize bandwidth allocation for its direct-to-home (DTH) service in Africa. Utilizing the highly scalable, ultra-dense ProStream platform, Eutelsat has implemented dual illumination of DVB-S/MPEG-2 and DVB-S2/MPEG-4 video content to significantly increase satellite capacity and its DTH service offerings, as well as deliver superior video quality to subscribers.

“The main objective of this project was to capitalize on the bandwidth efficiencies offered by MPEG-4 while ensuring there was no discernible difference in service quality for our customers,” said Jerome Gressier, head of platforms engineering and operations team, at Eutelsat. “ProStream 1000 with ACE transcoding achieves excellent video quality at exceptionally low bit rates, enabling us to deliver additional channels at a more competitive price.”

The ProStream 1000 with ACE solution maximizes Eutelsat’s bandwidth efficiency by providing up to 20 HD or 60 SD channels of video and audio transcoding from a single rack unit. The solution also incorporates ASI-to-IP multiplexing and scrambling while integrating with the existing headend, which includes Harmonic ProView 7000 integrated receiver-decoders (IRDs). The ProStream solution offers advanced DiviTrack statistical multiplexing technology to create up to 16 pools of transcoded channels with 64 channels per pool, allowing Eutelsat to deliver the best video quality at the lowest possible aggregate bandwidth. Leveraging the massive bandwidth savings enabled by the ProStream 1000 with ACE solution, Eutelsat can support twice as many channels per satellite transponder.

The high-density platform lowers capital and operating expenses through reduced rack space and energy consumption, drawing only 10 watts per HD channel and less than 3 watts per SD channel. Through its scalable architecture, the ProStream solution provides Eutelsat with the flexibility to support additional channels, as well as value-added services such as multiscreen in the future, to meet the demands of its growing customer base.

“Harmonic has successfully implemented numerous DTH deployments in Africa and around the world, giving us a unique perspective on the bandwidth concerns affecting Eutelsat and their innovative dual illumination project,” said Ian Graham, vice president of sales, Europe, Middle East, and Africa, at Harmonic. “Harnessing a combination of our market-leading MPEG-2/MPEG-4 IRD and transcoding solutions, Eutelsat can cost-effectively deliver a better quality of video and an increased number of digital video services to its customers.”