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TVoIP technology allows for something far richer than just channels; instead, service providers can store pre-recorded content purchased from studios and use their existing bandwidth to create a variety of new revenue-generating bandwidth and pricing bundles that satisfy a wide variety of viewing needs. As TVoIP technology becomes more widespread, more types of providers will emerge offering new types of content.

Today's TVoIP models employ four main components--an encoder, a server farm, a set-top box and middleware--that all exist today.

•The encoder works as a media gateway, preparing video content for distribution throughout the IP network. It encodes analog signals into digital format (e.g., MPEG, Windows Media) and demodulates, demultiplexes and transcodes digital formats such as Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB).

•The server farm hosts pre-recorded television content and feature films. A network personal video recorder (PVR) function lets viewers rewind, fast-forward and replay television programming stored on the server farm.

•The subscriber's set-top box receives the media stream, typically via a customer premise equipment (CPE) device such as an asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) modem, and decodes it for display on a television set. The box's user interface lets customers interact with video servers.

•Middleware software integrates the elements of TVoIP into a complete system. It handles media asset management, channel management and scheduling, billing, security and conditional access, system management and other management functions.

by lilhurricane See Profile