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3 March 2016

OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

The latest round up of OTT Video News, deals, launches and products.

4K UHD media delivery company NanoTech Entertainment announced that VoD platform UltraFlix is now available on the Nvidia Shield Android TV – which includes 4K UHD streaming and over 1,000 hours of content from the Ultraflix library. The Nvidia Shield streaming media player also delivers 4K UHD content from Netflix, YouTube, Kodi, and PLEX. NanoTech says it has been growing its 4K library for almost 2 years – including native 4K digital titles, 4K film scanning, high-quality scaling techniques and a team of video artists.

The Chinese consumer electronics market will grow to more than $276 billion by 2019, according to a recent report from market research firm Technavio. This research covers smartphones, tablets, PCs, gaming consoles, TVs, and cameras, but the report states that the growth will be largely made up of smartphones and gaming consoles. The report cites four major factors that will drive the consumer electronics market in China; the Chinese government issuing 4G licenses, the ban on gaming consoles being lifted, the rising disposable income, and the declining average price of tablets and smartphones.

Indian OTT platform YuppTV has made yet another announcement, this week partnering with media company Zee Network – offering a bouquet of Hindi channels across the Asia Pacific regions.

US Researcher IHS has finally admitted what Faultline has been saying all along, that sales of TV sets and therefore LCD screens, are unsustainable at the current level. It talks this week about an ‘abrupt’ weakening of global demand for TVs as LCD capacity expansion continues – this has this year caused massive price reductions through the 2nd half of 2015. Sales fell in 2015 to 226 million units despite these huge price reductions, so far just off 4%, when IHS and all the other analysts in this market forecast growth. Naturally 4K TVs grew rapidly by 173%, but that’s because few companies make any other kind of TV these days.

Cable operators Tele Columbus and Primacom have announced the launch of 50,000 hotspots (Homespots) across Germany this week, available to internet customers signed up to a Tele Columbus or Primacom tariff with an activated WiFi option. The WiFi service offer speeds of up to 10 Mbps, and the companies have said they will provide additional bandwidth for the hotspots so customers’ own internet speed is unaffected. Kabel Deutschland and Unitymedia already offer WiFi Homespots to their customers in Germany.

US curated WiFi Network Devicescape has now cut a deal with Liberty Global to deploy across its European mobile footprint. Essentially that means all Liberty Global mobile customers can use the Devicescape broadband for free. In 2014 it signed a deal with Virgin Media, part of Liberty Global, to include the curated network in its service. Virgin Media is the Liberty Global subsidiary with the most cellular customers. Recently FreedomPop which has just arrived in Europe, also partnered Devicescape for MVNO launches across Europe.

Saudi Arabian service provider Selevision has selected the Verimatrix Video Content Authority System (VCAS) for its OTT service Seevii, which offers 200 HD and SD channels as well as catch up and VoD content. Seevii is available on iOS and Android devices, as well as delivered via a range of HEVC-based set tops.

GoPro has acquired startups Stupeflix and Vemory for a combined sum of $105 million, to boost the video editing side of its business. Stupeflix’s Replay app allows users to select video clips and create a single film, and Vemory’s Splice app provides a variety of video editing tools that GoPro lacks. Staff from both firms will join the GoPro team.

Turkish mobile operator Turkcell successfully demonstrated LTE-Broadcast technology during a basketball game this week, in partnership with Ericsson. Members of the press were able to watch HD video streams from 4 different angles on Turkcell’s 4.5G test network. The operator plans to deploy 4.5G in all 81 Turkish cities as of 1st April this year.

Cisco is set to acquire cloud management software company CliQr for $260 million. CliQr’s application-defined cloud orchestration platform is able to model, deploy and manage applications across bare metal, virtualized, and container environments. CliQr is already used in several of Cisco’s data center switching and cloud offerings, and Cisco says the purchase will assist its customers in simplifying and speeding up private, public and hybrid cloud deployments.

Deutsche Telekom’s investment fund, Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners headed a $13.5 million Series B investment round in Replay Technologies, bringing the total raised to $27 million. The venture aims to boost DT’s development of video imaging technologies. Replay has introduced Free Dimensial Video (FreeDTM), allowing users to view real-life scenes through immersive camera views at multiple angles, similar to AR.

The Brazilian telecoms services market earned revenues of $60.14 billion in 2015 and is forecast to reach $70.3 billion in 2020, according to research firm Frost & Sullivan. The report says business models such as OTT, broadband, M2M, and payment applications are still relatively new, allowing operators to offer a combination of low-priced services, and premium solutions to increase ARPU. However, the report also warns that stiff competition and new tariff regulations could reduce margins.

Indian production studio Balaji Telefilms has selected OTT technology providers Xstream and Diagnal for its new OTT service, ALT – for launch in India some time in Q2 this year. Xstream’s MediaMaker cloud-based management system will power ALT’s multiscreen system, and Diagnal will handle the front-end design, development, big data and systems integration.

Yahoo has launched its own electronic sports (Esports) service this week as part of its Yahoo Sports offering, to provide a new location for watching coverage of major video gaming events. Yahoo Esports combines editorial and video commentary, match pages, team rosters, stats, related schedules and scores. The site will also have a live chat feature where fans can connect with the community. At launch, Yahoo Esports will focus its coverage around League of Legends, Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Heroes of the Storm, and Street Fighter V, with more to be added.

British Telecom (BT) and Intel Security announced a strategic partnership to assist organizations in improving security and preventing cyber-attacks. They will work together to tackle threats with a single security ecosystem that can handle multiple security controls, meaning less hardware and cost savings for customers.

Broadpeak’s nanoCDN multicast ABR technology has been deployed by Mauritius-based operator Emtel, to deliver live multiscreen services through its fiber-through-the-air (FTTA) network. Broadpeak and Emtel claim this is the first deployment of its kind by a telecom and mobile operator. MC Vision, the official broadcaster of Canal+ for Mauritius, recently introduced its myCanal multiscreen service using Emtel’s latest network broadcasting delivery features.

Satellite transmission technology provider NovelSat has unveiled its NS300X IP Satellite Modem, designed for cost-sensitive projects with data-only satellite transmission applications with operating requirements of less than 30 Mbps. DVB-S2 is the basic satellite transmission standard in the NS300X modem, but NovelSat says that with the addition of its NS4 satellite waveform software, the NS300X can boost spectral efficiency by up to 22% compared to DVB-S2X.

The German Federal Cartel Office has begun proceedings against Facebook in the USA, Ireland and Germany, with allegations that it abused its dominant market position to use social media users’ data. The investigation into the claims of data protection violations will be conducted in close contact with the European Commission and competition authorities of the other EU states. The Cartel Office says that by creating user profiles Facebook enables its advertising customers to better target their advertising activities, which users have to agree to, but is difficult for them to fully understand.

HBO will be launching standalone streaming services in Brazil and Argentina at the end of this year, according to Richard Plepler, HBO’s Chairman & CEO. This will add to HBO’s current base of operations in the US, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Colombia, Mexico, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Media group RTL Germany has now bundled channels of its Now service under the new TV Now offering, which includes the channels RTL, Vox, n-tv, RTL Nitro, Super REL, and RTL II. TV Now comes as a free ad-based service and TV Now Plus is available for €2.99 a month, featuring extra content and features.

Qatar-based beIn Media Group has acquired US studio Miramax, for an undisclosed amount. Miramax will continue to operate as a separate film and TV studio, with a library of more than 700 titles.