Open Competition 3 - Information Technology
Video-Enhanced Residential ADSL Broadband Technology
Develop broadband technology that allows video services comparable in quality to cable and satellite television to be delivered in real time over standard ADSL infrastructure.
Sponsor: Sarnoff CorporationCN 5300
Princeton, NJ 08543-5300
Widely available, affordable broadband access is anticipated to spark innovation in services and markets ranging from health care to education to entertainment. In a cooperative joint venture, Sarnoff Corporation, Thomson, Alcatel USA, and SBC will develop technologies that allow telecommunications carriers to provide video services comparable in quality to cable and satellite television over standard asymmetric digital subscriber lines (ADSL). Given the bandwidth limits of ADSL, which is used primarily by telephone companies to provide high-speed Internet access to businesses and residential customers, two key innovations are needed to transmit a commercial-grade picture: a novel compression scheme and intelligent video multiplexing based on available bandwidth and quality-of-service requirements. The novel compression scheme will allow ultra-low bit-rate transmission and real-time decoding by affordable set-top boxes. Encoding and encapsulation techniques will allow selected data packets to be discarded without noticeably impairing video quality when traffic exceeds transmission limits. Sarnoff will lead the three-year project, which brings together the multiple types of technical expertise needed to assemble the interdependent pieces of a total solution. The potential for ATP funding motivated the formation of this joint venture, which represents elements of the entire telecommunications supply chain. Thomson and Sarnoff will develop the compression technology; Alcatel will develop the access multiplexer delivery system; and SBC, the leading U.S. carrier of ADSL Internet services, will design and test the overall delivery system. The goal of delivering a commercial-grade picture at 500 kb/s makes this a technically high-risk venture. If successful, however, the resulting technology would serve to increase competition among video service providers. Consumers would benefit through an increased number of video services that would be driven by the ability to target smaller audiences with customized products. Lower monthly fees for broadband could result because of competition. As a result, a greater number of homes could reap the advantages of broadband. In turn, an expanding customer base would encourage wider deployment of the costly ADSL infrastructure, which would expand markets for distance learning, video-on-demand, and niche services.