Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Netvue - business class IP TV system

I went to a very impressive demo at Sony BMG today - they have an Exterity-based office IP-TV system as provided/configured/integrated by NetVue. They seemed to have really got it right. The system is based on IGMP multicast over IP which relies on IGMP-compliant switches (think Cisco 3750 or equivelent HP ProCurve). Essentially it means that only the streams that are being watched are present on the network and then only the data is present on those segments with active clients.
Set-top boxes are tiny and around the £250 mark. The PC client comes in at £35 per seat.
What I found to be the really clever side of it was the TV gateway which takes DVB-T multiplexes and strips out all the transport streams and makes them available. So, with their 1u chasis you can expose all six FreeView Muxes (55 stations?) on the network for around £8k - to build an RF-system with similar abilities would cost many times this and the pictures would look awful (I know - I've built a few!). If you need to hang a video device (Sky STB, DVD player, etc.) their STB & PC client can both back-propagate IR control.
As mentioned - I kept getting the feeling that 'they've done this right' - it's a very complete/robust solution. I like the idea that when they can avoid it they don't re-encode the video and assume the clients can replay MPEG-2 transport streams (or in the case of the HD STB H.264 transport streams).

I can't wait to spec one of these!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ahem... I don't suppose I could possibly ask if you wouldn't be gracious enough to speck one of those magical devices for the Root6 support room? ;-)