Arris: OTT Multicast System Saves Bandwidth

Service providers may be able to reduce bandwidth botlenecks by deploying a video-on-demand conent delivery system that predicts which TV shows and movies will generate the most demand, Arris says in a patent application published on Thursday.

“Internet Protocol (IP) video content, in particular, has become a significant and primary consumer of Internet bandwidth … Network congestion can be experienced at peak viewing hours. Such congestion may force network operators to incur expenses in upgrading their network capacities to keep pace with the increasing demand for bandwidth during peak network utilization periods,” Arris notes in the patent application, titled, “Video-on-deand delivery system and method.”

Paul Clancy is named as inventor on the application, which Arris filed in December 2014.

Abstract: Methods of delivering IP video content to CPE devices over a network are provided. Customer content-of-interest information is collected from the CPE devices. When a request for an item of content from a requesting one of the CPE devices is received, a determination is made as to whether the requested item of content is of interest to at least a pre-determined minimum number of other CPE devices on the network via analysis of the collected content-of-interest information. The item of content may be multicast over the network if the item of content is of interest to at least the pre-determined minimum number of CPE devices. Alternatively, content indicated as being of interest by at least the pre-determined number of CPE devices may be scheduled for multicast at a low utilization time of the network or at a low priority level. A system for preforming the above methods is disclosed.

Patent Application

Claims: 

1. A method of delivering video content to a Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) device over a network, comprising the steps of: in a computing device comprising one or more processors communicatively coupled to the network, collecting customer content-of-interest predictor information from a plurality of CPE devices on the network; after said collecting step, receiving a request in a Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS) communicatively coupled via the network to the computing device and to the plurality of CPE devices, the request being for a pre-determined item of content from a requesting one of the plurality of CPE devices on the network, the pre-determined item of content including Internet Protocol (IP) video content; in the computing device, determining from the customer content-of-interest predictor information collected during said collecting step if the pre-determined item of content requested by said requesting one of the plurality of CPE devices is also of interest to at least a pre-determined minimum number of other of the plurality of CPE devices; and in the CMTS, causing the pre-determined item of content to be multicast over the network if the pre-determined item of content is content-of interest to at least the pre-determined minimum number of other of the plurality of CPE devices.

2. The method according to claim 1, wherein, if the pre-determined item of content is content-of-interest to less than the pre-determined minimum number of other of the plurality of CPE devices when the request is received, the pre-determined item of content is caused to be unicast over the network to the requesting one of the plurality of CPE devices.

3. The method according to claim 1, further comprising the step of generating signaling indicating availability of the pre-determined item of content as a multicast to the CPE devices and transmitting the signaling to the CPE devices over the network so that the requesting one and the at least pre-determined minimum number of other of the plurality of CPE devices may automatically subscribe to the multicast and cache the pre-determined item of content in local storage.

4. The method according to claim 3, wherein the signaling is a manifest file.

5. The method according to claim 3, wherein the local storage is storage within a subscribing CPE device.

6. The method according to claim 1, further comprising the step of presenting a user interface to a customer via a CPE device for entry of content-of-interest predictor information for being collected during said collecting step.

7. The method according to claim 1, wherein the pre-determined item of content is recorded or non-live IP video content, wherein the CPE devices include at least one of a customer gateway device, an IP enabled set top box, and an IP client device, and wherein the network is communicatively coupled to a plurality of devices at a headend, the plurality of devices comprising the CMTS and the decision agent.

8. A method of delivering content to a Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) device over a network, comprising the steps of: in a computing device comprising one or more processors communicatively coupled to the network, collecting customer content-of-interest predictor information from a plurality of CPE devices on the network; in the computing device, determining at least one item of content from the customer content-of-interest predictor information collected during said collecting step for being multicast to CPE devices over the network, the at least one item of content being Internet Protocol (IP) video content; and in a Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS) communicatively coupled via the network to the computing device and to the plurality of CPE devices, multicasting the at least one item of content over the network during a time of low utilization of the network or at a lower priority level relative to other transmissions over the network.

9. The method according to claim 8, further comprising the step of generating signaling indicating availability of the at least one item of content as a multicast to the CPE devices and transmitting the signaling to the CPE devices over the network so that interested ones of the plurality of CPE devices may automatically subscribe to the multicast and cache the at least one item of content in local storage.

10. The method according to claim 9, wherein the local storage is storage within a subscribing CPE device.

11. The method according to claim 8, further comprising the step of presenting a user interface to a customer via a CPE device for entry of content-of-interest predictor information for being collected during said collecting step.

12. The method according to claim 8, wherein the at least one item of content is recorded or non-live IP video content, wherein the CPE devices include at least one of a customer gateway device, an IP enabled set top box, and an IP client device, and wherein the network includes a headend with a decision agent for performing said collecting and determining steps.

13. A content delivery system, comprising: a decision agent comprising one or more processors communicatively coupled to a network, the one or more processors configured to electronically collect customer content-of-interest predictor information from a plurality of Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) devices connected to the network and to determine if a predetermined item of content is of interest to at least a pre-determined minimum number of the CPE devices; and a transmitter communicatively coupled via the network to the decision agent and to the plurality of CPE devices, the transmitter configured to transmit content-of interest as an IP multicast including Internet Protocol (IP) video content to the CPE devices over the network.

14. The content delivery system according to claim 13, wherein the decision agent is configured to determine if a predetermined item of content requested by a requesting one of the plurality of CPE devices is also of interest to at least the pre-determined minimum number of the plurality of CPE devices and to cause said transmitter to transmit the predetermined item of content requested as a multicast over the network to the CPE devices.

15. The content delivery system according to claim 13, wherein when the decision agent determines that a predetermined item of content is of interest to at least the pre-determined minimum number of the CPE devices, said decision agent is configured to cause said transmitter to transmit the predetermined item of content requested as a multicast over the network to the CPE devices at a time of low utilization of the network.

16. The content delivery system according to claim 13, further comprising a user interface unit within each of said CPE devices configured to receive user input with respect to content-of-interest.

17. The content delivery system according to claim 13, wherein the transmitter is configured to generate signaling indicating availability of the pre-determined item of content as a multicast to the CPE devices and to transmit the signaling to the CPE devices over the network so that interested ones of the plurality of CPE devices may automatically subscribe to the multicast and cache the pre-determined item of content in local storage.

18. The content delivery system according to claim 13, wherein the local storage is storage within a subscribing CPE device.

19. The content delivery system according to claim 13, wherein the content-of-interest is recorded or non-live IP video content, wherein the CPE devices include at least one of a customer gateway device, an IP enabled set top box, and an IP client device, wherein the decision agent and transmitter are located at a headend of the network, and wherein a Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS) at the headend comprises the transmitter.