Arris switch to Android plays key role in Telefonica’s OTT expansion

Leading global set top manufacturer Arris kicked off last week’s IBC show by announcing a five-year deal with Telefonica to provide set tops across the operator’s entire footprint in Spain and Latin America. The project, called Proteus, comprises HD, UHD, DTH, cable and IPTV set tops, with an expected roll out some time in 2017.

Arris’ VIP1113 set tops are already deployed in Spain, which are used to deliver Telefonica’s next generation IPTV service to some 4 million Movistar customers, including HDTV, TV Everywhere, on-demand, and OTT services.

The announcement comes at a time when Telefonica is expanding the footprint of its OTT service MovistarPlay, and Arris confirmed to Faultline that its IPTV set tops will support this in all countries where the service is available. Telefonica believes Arris’ products are ready for the task of supporting the roll out of next-gen TV services to millions more customers across Latin America, after restricting the service to the confines of Argentina and Brazil for two years. It first rolled out in Argentina and Brazil before branching into Uruguay, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Panama, and the most recent countries to begin receiving the service are Peru, Ecuador and Nicaragua.

At its IBC press briefing, the Arris team, which included an appearance from new CEO Bruce McClelland, told Faultline that in countries where Arris isn’t already the set top supplier for Telefonica, this contract extension marks replacements for other set top providers in some countries. The Arris team would not elaborate on this, but we can point out that another manufacturer Telefonica uses is ADB, to supply set tops in Spain, Argentina, Brazil, and the UK.

The UK’s Oregan Networks supplies its set top software stack to Telefonica, which combines digital terrestrial and OTT video delivery capabilities for DVB-T in Spain, as well as ISDB-T in Argentina and Brazil. The Verimatrix VCAS has been integrated into Arris set tops as well as Smart TVs. Faultline pushed for additional details about the platform but Arris could not confirm if Oregan Networks or Verimatrix have a place in its 2017 set top deployments in Latin America.

Arris noted that its future strategy is to focus on Android devices and that with the acquisition of Pace it will be pushing it towards a more software centric business – boosted by the purchase of ActiveVideo earlier this year which could provide the backbone for new cloud services. But the concern with ActiveVideo is that if it has to go into every single MPEG frame and overwrite where the UI is, this will lead to a large amount of cloud processing. The alternative revenue routes that ActiveVideo provides Arris could prove invaluable a few years down the line if the FCC’s open set top proposal is approved.

Arris also boasted at IBC that it currently has five tier 1 HEVC set top trials on the go and it is in the process of several UHD IP set top field trails, but we assume the majority of these are outside the US considering its presentation noted that the US is forecast to drop from 38% of its Total Addressable Market (TAM) this year, to 37% by next year.

Portugal Telecom is another to come forward and select Arris, tapping its VIP5662EW UHD HEVC IP set top for the MEO 4K service which it recently rolled out in the country – labeled the MEObox4K. Arris is set to make a clean sweep of Portugal after NOS recently selected its ZD4500 set tops for its 4K service. It has Nagra’s conditional access securing the system and the set top integrates a new RDK 2.1-based application framework from Espial, featuring HEVC and a new NOS designed UI.

The Telefonica and Portugal Telecom announcements come off the back of last week’s win at Intigral, a UAE based provider of video solutions in the MENA region, to support the deployment of a new video delivery service using its VIP4302W set tops, based on the KreaTV OS and services. Arris integration services have optimized the set tops and the KreaTV system with Intigral’s UI and DRM systems.

“We selected the Arris VIP5662 as the centerpiece of our new MEO 4K service, because it combines Arris’ leadership in set top design with future-ready 4K technology. Once more MEO is innovating and our ongoing collaboration with Arris is bringing a new era of 4K content to our MEO subscribers and making our services the center of their in-home entertainment,” said Luis Nascimento, CSO-B2C at Portugal Telecom.