Volcano Communications Group

Transitioning Towards an All-IP Future

“We are dedicated to providing our rural service area with cutting-edge technologies that rival those of metropolitan areas – all at the best value for price. To expand our reach, we chose Inca’s high-density transcoder to deliver all-digital, MPEG-4 IPTV video to customers over existing copper telephone lines.”
- Ray Crabtree

CATV Operations, VolcanoVision

Expanding the Reach

Video delivery is a challenging market with tight margins and increasing competition. Small telcos must find ways to differentiate themselves in order to foster growth and remain profitable. With the industry moving towards an all-IP future, success belongs to those companies that can efficiently and cost-effectively deliver high-quality linear and multiscreen HD video content to their customers. Volcano Communications Group recognizes the opportunities of this evolving marketplace and is taking action to keep pace.

Established in 1903 as a small, family-run telephone company, Volcano Communications have grown into a full-service telecommunications company in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California. The company has always been dedicated to providing their rural service area with cutting-edge technologies that rival those of metropolitan areas. With this goal in mind, VolcanoVision—the cable television arm of Volcano Communications—decided to expand their reach and deliver television service over the phone lines.

“To promote subscriber growth, we wanted to be able to deliver the video packages we currently offer our traditional cable customers to our remote customers. We also have plans to deliver TV over FTTH (Fiber-to-the-Home) and possibly convert our cable system to an IP format down the road,” said Ray Crabtree, CATV Operations, VolcanoVision.

With a vision to eventually transition to an all-IP video model, VolcanoVision’s first step was to find an IP video processing solution that would enable them to deliver TV over the copper plant. They selected the Inca 4400 Modular Series high-density, real-time transcoder to power HD and SD video streams into superior quality MPEG-4 channels.

They also employ the Inca All Seeing Eye to monitor and manage their video service, leveraging the embedded monitoring and statistics provided in all Inca products, including the 4430.

“Inca’s solution allowed us to deliver cutting edge technology at the best value for price,” said Crabtree.

The Inca 4400 Modular Series real-time transcoding solution provides Volcano Vision 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 Volcano to meet growing demand for digital TV services, while lowering capital and operating expenses through reduced power consumption and rack space.

Proactive Troubleshooting

The Inca All Seeing Eye—which provides end-to-end, real-time monitoring—was a deciding factor in VolcanoVision’s decision to choose Inca over competitors. The powerful combination of the Inca VidiOS Probe and the Inca All Seeing Eye provides a view into all video streams in their headend, and remote sites, from one centralized location. VidiOS™ is Inca’s advanced processing and monitoring engine included in every Inca product, which offers both active stream tools and integrated status monitoring and reporting to manage the headend more efficiently.

All the information VolcanoVision needs to troubleshoot, respond to critical events, and improve decision-making is at their fingertips in real-time—via a user-friendly, web-based interface.

“Before Inca, we had to buy monitoring equipment from third-party vendors. But with VidiOS, we have deep visibility into our streams,” said Crabtree.

“Inca’s analyzing tools are highly superior—an outstanding first line of defense. The All Seeing Eye and the Inca Probe enable us to monitor everything that is happening in our network, including streams generated by other equipment,” he added.

Efficiency Across the Board

Finding ways to deliver video cost-effectively is critical to profitability. Inca believes every dollar their customers spend on video delivery equipment should deliver more: more efficiency, more visibility, more value. They have developed their equipment with efficiency in mind—from its modular, simplified design and flexible, user-friendly configuration through to the ability to scale and expand easily and cost-effectively. As a small telco looking to streamline operations and minimize costs, VolcanoVision value the efficiency and affordability of the Inca Intelligent Video Delivery solution.

“Rack space in a building is valuable real estate. It requires power, cooling, and physical space. And with space at a premium, we want the most bang for our buck. The Inca unit only occupies one rack unit and can process 60 SD streams into 60 MPEG-4 channels in a single-box.” said Crabtree.

He added, “The Inca gear is a cost-effective solution that delivers superb video quality and excellent value.”

Unrivalled Customer Support

Inca is passionate about the success of their customers and are dedicated to supporting them through deployment of their video delivery solution and beyond. With problem resolution a top priority, Inca provides rapid response, problem diagnosis and trouble-shooting, site visits, and product training. VolcanoVision were impressed with the high level of customer care they received from the Inca team throughout the process.

“Their support is amazing—they have unparalleled expertise in IP video and their support has been incredibly responsive,” said Crabtree

CHALLENGE

  • Require a way to deliver high-quality video content to remote customers
  • Need differentiators to stay profitable in competitive marketplace
  • Limited physical space in headend

SOLUTION

  • Deliver TV over the phone lines using the Inca Modular Transcoder to process signals
  • Inca All Seeing Eye and VidiOS™ probe provide deep visibility into entire system from a single, centralized management interface

RESULTS AT A GLANCE

  • Remote, rural customers gain access to high-quality video content over phone lines
  • Ability to expand and grow as IP strategy evolves
  • 60 SD streams processed into superior quality MPEG-4 channels in only 1 RU