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SDV "Virtually unlimited amounts of HD and SD programming"
Wednesday, 03 February 2010 00:00
switched_digital_color_bigbandSwitched digital video over the next three years will allow carriers inexpensively to transmit every program you can imagine. The tyranny of the cable package should disappear. This sounds like science fiction, but BigBand alone is shipping enough lines for 1/3rd of U.S. cable customers, and Verizon is ready to jump in. Traditional cable sends every channel to every customer. A 400 channel system needs enough bandwidth to 400 channels all the way to each home. A switched system only sends the 50-100 channels currently being watched, switching in any channel a user requests. For now, it's a way to get 100 HD and 800 SD channels to every home; soon, it will allow individual streams (Startover, timeshifting, network DVR.) The cost today is $2-5/month per home served. That will drop. Around 2012, everything from 5,000 channels through personalized ads on personalized programs, will be practical. That specifically includes LPTV, which the FCC wants but I agree is too expensive today. 
Gerry Kaufhold of In-Stat adds SDV is "cost-effective ...[and] is now entering an era of international deployments."  Once SDV is installed, the additional equipment is a QAM plus any necessary receivers. Market prices today are a few hundred per SD signal, perhaps $500-700 per HD signal. Since QAM channels are dynamically shared, they can serve the needs of many homes, displaying an almost unlimited choice of programming. 
There's an excellent "wall chart" with more details on SDV and the vendors at http://cedmagazine.com/WorkArea/showcontent.aspx?id=159504

Chart and QAM picture courtesy BigBand