SaskTel, which provides the largest deployment of television over telephone lines in North America, has adopted the latest set-top box from Pace.

SaskTel serves 450,000 business and residential customers in Saskatchewan Canada, with the largest deployment of TV over ADSL in North America. Their Max Interactive Services provide digital television and radio services, video on demand, an interactive portal and broadband internet access.

The company initially selected Pace Micro Technology as its set-top provider back in 2002 when it entered the nascent market of providing video over internet protocols. It has now added Pace’s latest IP set-top box, the DB220S, to its offering.

“We obviously selected the right partner for set-top boxes,” said SaskTel’s vice president of marketing, Mike Anderson. “Our Max Interactive Services offering has been incredibly successful. We have more than 100,000 Internet customers today, and hope to increase the penetration rate to 20 or 25 percent by the end of 2006. Customer churn has decreased since we began offering Max exactly two years ago, and our advanced services offerings are second to none,” he added.

“Pace product manager Gary Stephenson commented, “We selected core silicon and designed the set-top box specifically for use with TV – it’s not a PC with a TV graphics card.”

The MPEG-2 product incorporates special design features for content protection and to improve the quality of video and graphics. It employs HTML and JavaScript for the user interface and advanced interactive services, using ANT’s Fresco Browser.

SaskTel’s IPTV solution uses Alcatel middleware, Harmonic encoders, and Kasenna video servers.