If you were waiting for big-time interactive video-on-demand to come to your PC, you may have to invest in a set-top box instead. Motorola, it would appear, is at last putting convergence into the living room, starting with the movies. The move was announced Wednesday in the U.S. and Canadian markets.
In the U.S., Blockbuster, Inc. and Enron Broadband Services announced that they are using Motorola’s Streamaster 5000 set top box to provide access to the Blockbuster Entertainment On-Demand service during its launch.
Enron Broadband Services and Blockbuster recently announced that they have begun delivering movies to consumers’ televisions via the Blockbuster Entertainment On-Demand service over Enron’s broadband network in Seattle, Portland, Ore., and Salt Lake City. The companies also announced that a technical trial of the service had commenced in New York City.
In this implementation, the Streamaster 5000 is providing subscribers access to movies on-demand. Currently, consumers are able to start, stop, pause, rewind, and view movies on-demand with VHS visual and sound quality.
“We are proud to be a part of this innovative venture that will open up a new world of entertainment options for the consumer,” said Jackie Beauchamp, director and general manager, Multimedia Systems Division, Motorola’s Semiconductor Products Sector. “Motorola’s leadership position in enabling the broadband multimedia services market, combined with Blockbuster’s powerful entertainment brand and access to customers and Enron’s high-speed network, will enable broadband distribution companies to quickly deliver movie services to consumers.”
“We’re very pleased to be working with Motorola for the launch of our Entertainment On-Demand service. We were especially pleased with the quality of output of the Streamaster system, which we certainly expect to enhance the experience of our subscribers,” said Mark Gilman, Blockbuster president New Media. “The Enron and Blockbuster alliance, now with the addition of Motorola, is starting to deliver on the promise of the broadband home entertainment experience.”
“Through our relationships with Blockbuster and our distribution providers, we have created a unique and robust technical platform for delivering video on-demand, which will enable the service to be scaled into other markets,” said David Cox, Managing Director at Enron Broadband Services. “We are achieving superior levels of quality and security that entertainment on-demand can now deliver.”
Simultaneously, consumers in Atlantic Canada saw Aliant Telecom choose Motorola’s Streamaster 5000 to deliver a wide range of broadband interactive television services. Aliant plans a market expansion of its Advanced Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)-based VibeVision suite of services, launched in January 2000, which offers digital-quality television, interactive program guide, “infotainment” services, Web browsing and e-mail.
It is the first use of the Streamaster 5000 in a service such as VibeVision, which utilizes the iMagicTV DTV Manager interactive software and Cisco’s Video Networking System to deliver multi-channel television and interactive media services.
“Aliant is focused on strategic expansion, and Motorola’s Streamaster 5000 will help us deliver a full package of interactive television services to our customers,” stated Mike MacNeil, director, Consumer Broadband Services, Aliant. “Streamaster 5000 is the `all-in-one’ solution that our customers are demanding, and we look forward to making these services available soon.”
Located in Aliant’s head-end, Cisco’s VN 5900 Video Networking System aggregates a variety of video and audio signals, performs video processing as required such as demodulating, descrambling and demultiplexing and adapts the resulting signals to Aliant’s network.
These signals are distributed using iMagicTV’s DTV Manager s
oftware to subscribers via a DSLAM (digital subscriber line access multiplexer), where the signals are received in the home by Streamaster 5000 and displayed on the customer’s television.
The Motorola units open, extensible multimedia architecture combines the key functions of a broadband router to support network computing while performing the functions of a digital home theater platform. The Streamaster platform is designed to support future applications and services due through its remotely-upgradeable software.
“Aliant’s selection of our Streamaster 5000 solution is a clear indication that Motorola has taken an early leadership position in providing DSL-based broadband entertainment services,” said Jacqueline Beauchamp, director and general manager, Multimedia Solutions Division, Motorola’s Semiconductor Products Sector.
“As a recognized leader in the broadband market, Motorola offers a complete broadband strategy for bringing interactive television services to the home. Motorola, along with our alliance partners that provide content and services, looks forward to helping our customers fulfill the promise of broadband entertainment services for consumers,” said Beauchamp.
Streamaster 5000 makes possible a wide range of consumer broadband multimedia services such as digital-quality broadcast television, high-speed Web access, 3-D games, video and music-on-demand, karaoke and on-line shopping. The Streamaster platform is enhanced by VM Labs’ NUON technology, which incorporates a programmable media processor.
NUON technology enables many of Streamaster 5000’s capabilities, such as 2D/3D games graphics, General MIDI music, Dolby Digital audio, Spatializer, MPEG1/2 with video trick modes and MP3 playback. Motorola and VM Labs have a multi-year agreement, which includes games development and content publishing assistance.