Market Insight

Nordic operator to deploy advanced MDU technology

August 05, 2009

Merrick Kingston Merrick Kingston Associate Director, Research & Analysis, Digital Media & Video Technology
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Nordic pay-TV operator Canal Digital has chosen to deploy Pace's MultiDweller in order to deliver pay-TV services to subscribers in multi-family, multiple-dwelling buildings (MDUs). Multidweller is a rack-mountable unit, stored in an MDU's roof or basement utility closet, which allows operators to convert existing, unidirectional networks optimized for terrestrial TV into bi-directional networks supporting triple play DTH, DTT, cable or IPTV services.

Older MDUs typically feature a rooftop master antenna connected to a single coaxial drop cable that runs the vertical length of the MDU; taps located on each floor, joined to the backbone drop cable, split the terrestrial TV signal to distribute it to the dwellings on that floor. Multidweller integrates with such master antenna TV (MATV) wiring, and permits bi-directional traffic without requiring modifications to the MATV infrastructure. Canal Digital will initially use MultiDweller to provide HD DTH services to MDU residents in Norway.


The business case for devices such as Multidweller hinges onto two realities: huge numbers of potential subscribers throughout the world still reside in MDUs featuring MATV networks, and for operators, the cost of re-wiring a building to access just a fraction of its residents is often prohibitive.

Multidweller is not alone in its ability to deliver DTH, cable, and IPTV services to MDUs. Many companies offer similar product types with two prominent examples being Arris and Thomson. Arris' CXM WDDS is a triple play device, designed to deliver video and data over IP, which sits with existing coaxial wiring. Thomson's MFH3, developed in conjunction with DirecTV, is designed to encapsulate DTH content into IP and, upon reaching the MDU, distribute video and data over cat3, coaxial, or cat5 infrastructure.

The economic advantage of Multidweller and related systems lies predominately in their unique capacity to deliver advanced services over existing MATV networks. The rewiring-free window of opportunity within the MDU market is however impermanent. MDUs do function on a rewiring cycle, and many of these will upgrade to cat5 or fibre plant in their next cycle, typically 10-15 years. These buildings will then be accessible to a larger number of competing rack-mountable devices which can be used for similar video transmission purposes.

Nordic Region
Canal Digital
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