Motorola to acquire video-on-demand tech

Purchase of Broadbus will give Motorola the ability to offer video on demand for an array of delivery devices.

Candace Lombardi
In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.
Candace Lombardi
2 min read
Motorola announced on Tuesday intentions to acquire Broadbus, a video-on-demand technology company.

Massachusetts-based Broadbus specializes in carrier-grade, high-speed network technology products, which Motorola said will give it the capability to offer video-on-demand services to content providers. Broadbus has produced video-on-demand server systems for cable television companies like Time Warner Cable and Comcast, a Motorola client.

Broadbus was a privately owned company, so Motorola was not required to disclose the terms of the deal.

"Traditionally, we had partners for on-demand when we built a network for Comcast or Horizon. By adding Broadbus, (customers) can now...buy the video delivery and the video-on-demand system from us," said Motorola spokesman Paul Alfieri.

Motorola says its new on-demand services are not restricted to the television space, nor to video (it includes pictures and music), nor digital cable. The company will also be able to serve Internet Protocol television and telecommunications companies--any organization that wants to deliver video and other content to the consumer, said Alfieri.

Broadbus' solid-state server architecture is based on dynamic random-access memory, so it takes up less space and power for video streaming and storage, according to Motorola. Broadbus technology will augment Motorola's use of switched digital video, a technology that enables better management of network bandwidth when dealing with interactive TV and video content.

To save bandwidth, switched digital video, or SDV, allows providers to send the feed only for the channel that's currently being tuned in by the customer. Currently, most cable television requires a constant stream of 200 channels (or however many a subscriber gets) over a cable network all at once. With SDV, channel feeds are automatically retrieved when the customer switches to the channel.

Using SDV, the cable provider can accommodate multiple channels at once for each television in the home, in lieu of sending every single channel to every single television. While SVD is primarily used for digital cable, the technology may also prove useful as cellular handsets expand into broadband, according to Alfieri.

Broadbus' technology is also designed to store and distribute content in multiple formats. Motorola said it plans to use Broadbus' technology to expand its distribution of video and television content sent to consumer electronics and mobile devices. More specifically, the company will expand its management and distribution of mobile video, video-on-demand, time-shifted TV, on-demand ad insertion and network-based digital video recording.

Motorola has already been moving in the direction of video-on-demand. At the CTIA Wireless show in April, the company announced new technology to allow video sharing from a DVR to a cell phone.