UK technology firm NDS and Foster City, Calif.-based video-server manufacturer nCUBE have teamed up to develop a video-on-demand system that will provide cable and DSL customers with personal video recorder functionality from the headend. The system, set for beta testing in first quarter 2001, will combine nCUBE's "n4" video-server technology with NDS' XTV software, which installs pre-encrypted files on a VOD server.
"We're putting our metadata handling and PVR functionality on top of what nCUBE already has," says Nigel Smith, NDS director of broadband Internet. "The advantage here is, the cable operators can offer lower-cost boxes that offer the same kind of functionality [as set-top PVRs], by centralizing the storage instead of getting a lot of boxes out individually." Terri Richardson, nCube vice president of strategic business alliances, says NDS' pre-encryption technology was the key to enabling PVR functionality in a VOD environment. "They're the first to come forward and say we're going to have this solution."