Citizens

Future Proofing with Inca

“Video is a challenging business so we needed an affordable solution that supported our legacy equipment and future proofed us for growth. We chose Inca for our IP video processing needs and are better off financially now that we process and deliver our own content.”
- Greg Sapp

General Manager, Citizens

Taking Control

Citizens began a century ago as a member-owned telephone cooperative serving the mountainous region of Southwest Virginia. Today, the cooperative has grown into a regional full-service communications provider, delivering landline telephone, VoIP, IPTV video, web and email hosting, DSL, and FTTP (Fiber to the Premises) to customers across seven counties.

“When our HD content provider ceased satellite feed operations, we were forced to decide how to move forward with our digital TV service. We also wanted to upgrade our MPEG-2 encoders to MPEG-4 technology, which had outlived their usefulness and were becoming problematic,” said Greg Sapp, General Manager.

Citizens chose to deploy the Inca equipment to process and deliver their own content, rather than use an expensive content aggregator. This not only gave them more control but also allowed them to upgrade to MPEG-4 technology from their existing MPEG-2 encoders. Today, Citizens uses Inca’s 4430 Modular Transcoders to transcode satellite and broadcast content to MPEG-4 and deliver superior quality IP video to subscribers.

“We chose Inca for our IP video processing needs and are better off financially now that we process and deliver our own content,” said Sapp.

The Inca 4400 Modular Series real-time transcoding solution provides Citizens with “any-to-any, any-to-many” support for HD and SD, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) video transcoding of up to 24 HD or 60 SD channels, in a compact and power-efficient one rack unit (1 RU) chassis. The platform’s high density enables Citizens to meet growing demand for digital TV services, while lowering capital and operating expenses through reduced power consumption and rack space.

Citizens also uses the Inca All Seeing Eye and two Inca VidiOS™ Probes to monitor and manage their entire system from one central location. The Inca equipment interacts seamlessly with Citizens’ other headend and field gear, such as Minerva middleware and Amino and ADB set-top boxes, to deliver nearly 200 television, premium movie, and digital music channels.

The Big Picture

One of the key deciding factors for Citizens choosing Inca was their All Seeing Eye (ASE). The ASE provides end-to-end, real-time monitoring of all the IP video streams in the headend leveraging the embedded analytics in all Inca products. This allows any member of the Citizens’ team to interactively oversee their network using any web browser, and to quickly troubleshoot any issues.

“With the All Seeing Eye, we can proactively monitor our system instead of waiting for a customer to call and report a problem. With the ability to view all the channels in a mosaic interface, we not only improve our level of customer service but also increase our operational efficiency,” said Sapp.

Designed for Usability

Inca has designed their equipment with the user in mind, building intelligence into every product to make it easier to get the job done. The modular, scalable solution enables streamlined, flexible configuration and the ability to grow and expand with ease.

Terry Martin, Central Office Lead Technician, said, “The Inca gear is very intuitive to configure and operate, with seamless interactivity between devices. We were looking for a ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ solution and Inca delivered.”

According to Martin, “One of Inca’s key advantages is their equipment’s modular design, which gives us the capability to grow into OTT and HLS formats down the road as customer expectations shift.”

“And all the Inca gear fits into only ¾ of a rack; our previous platform occupied nearly 3 entire racks!” added Martin.

Committed Support

The Inca team has years of hands-on experience in designing and deploying video processing and encoding equipment. Passionate about their customers’ success, they make problem resolution their top priority with rapid response, problem diagnosis and trouble-shooting, site visits, and product training.

Martin said, “Our previous vendor’s support had become obsolete and unaffordable. When things went wrong, we were on our own. But with Inca, we receive personal, committed support; they really foster a relationship.”

CHALLENGE

  • Content provider ceased operations
  • Needed to find a way to deliver IP video content to customers
  • Wanted to upgrade from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4

SOLUTION

  • Citizens process and deliver their own content with Inca Modular Transcoders
  • Inca All Seeing Eye and VidiOS™ probes provide deep visibility into entire system from a single, centralized management interface

RESULTS AT A GLANCE

  • Increased efficiency with hassle-free configuration and streamlined day-to-day operations
  • Improved customer service with deep monitoring capability of Inca’s All Seeing Eye and VidiOS™ probes
  • Cost-effective solution gives Citizens control over their future growth