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Distribution of Video to the Home: Cell or Circuit?

Gusella, Riccardo; Limb, John



Abstract: Efficient distribution of video to the home is central to many new services such as video-on-demand, home shopping, and educational services. Implementors are now debating whether to deploy Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) distribution right to the set-top in the home, or whether a circuit approach (Synchronous Trans- fer Mode) might be more appropriate. In this paper, we explore both approaches by proposing an implementation for each and then comparing them in detail. The criteria we use for the comparison are cost, transmission efficiency, maintainability, scalablility, flexibility, and interoperability. We assume that the distribution plant is typical of a fiber-rich, analog cable-TV installation. We conclude that the circuit approach is somewhat simpler to implement and more bandwidth efficient. The two approaches are likely to have similar maintainability and scalability properties. For applications that require changing mixes of voice, video, and data the cell approach gives more flexibility. Since ATM connectivity to the wider world will be mandatory, both cell and circuit must provide it. For the cell the connection point would be at the set-top, while for the circuit it would be at a more central point.

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