Your browser is not supported. Please update it.

5 September 2019

Dish TV’s mobile-first Watcho embraces Broadpeak

Six years since startling the country by becoming the first DTH player to launch an OTT video service, Indian colossus Dish TV has unveiled a much-needed refresh with a new streaming venture called Watcho. CDN specialist Broadpeak has been recruited for the task – signaling a significant upgrade from the legacy Zee-Siemens technology powering the TV Everywhere offering.

Dish TV is installing Broadpeak’s BkM100 video delivery mediator and BkS350 origin and packaging server, supporting Watcho’s initial 100 live channels complemented with a few thousand hours of on-demand content described as “snackable” – suggesting mostly short-form. Watcho will deliver to Android and iOS devices only, underscoring India’s booming mobile-first video streaming market. It will be interesting to see if Dish TV sets a trend by expanding Watcho to connected TV devices, albeit with a minimal penetration in India today compared to DTH and mobile viewing.

Dish TV says one of the reasons for selecting Broadpeak stems from its pre-integration with key ecosystem vendors, enabling it to get Watcho to market quickly. The operator also has no doubt the French vendor’s server and CDN manager technologies are capable of scaling to deliver high-quality QoE to its 23.9 million existing DTH subscribers and beyond.

The legacy Dish Anywhere (previously DishOnline) service is, as far as we know, still powered by Ditto TV, owned by Ennel’s Indian mass media group Zee Entertainment, which historically used Siemens’ CMT multiscreen systems – including the Siemens business management suite, media management, customer management and promotions management products. We suspect Zee Entertainment has switched out the legacy Siemens elements since the two firms first teamed up to deliver OTT TV in 2011, and we also believe Broadpeak is in discussions with Dish TV about upgrading Dish Anywhere, although the vendor was unwilling to comment on our speculation.

For Watcho, Broadpeak’s BkS350 origin and packaging server allows Dish TV to record linear services in a single format for packaging into HLS and DASH for delivery to cloud-based time-shift TV. Meanwhile, the BkM100 video delivery mediators handles monitoring of popular content based on usage patterns, meaning Dish TV can automate content delivery to edge servers while long-form content remains in the larger central library, reducing storage costs.

Dish TV also uses Wyplay’s Frog turnkey middleware in its set tops, a HTML5-based open source project which removes the need for any design involvement from hardware manufacturers or chipset vendors. Frog is written for Linux which allows pay TV operators to develop a graphical user interface in HTML5, create partnerships with third-party software suppliers and build apps enabling interactivity on set top decoders and mobile devices.

Kudelski products are relied upon for push VoD services at Dish TV India, using Conax for cardless content protection, based on the Conax Contego security hub, integrated into chipsets. It also uses the CryptoMedia Security Platform from Rambus for its pay TV satellite system. The platform includes a hardware root-of-trust embedded in the set top chipset, which provides secure distribution of premium content for cable and satellite operators without the need for a smart card. CryptoMedia Content Protection Core, developed by Rambus subsidiary Cryptography Research, is one of several new security elements to be integrated in Dish TV India’s latest set tops.

As well as securing a major contract at Dish TV and a deal at Malaysian SVoD service Tribe in June, Broadpeak is also riding high on the back of a cash injection having landed a sizable investment from Eutelsat in July to support the satellite fleet operator’s launch of its hybrid satellite OTT system Cirrus – targeted at multiscreen service providers. Eutelsat has taken a 20% stake to the tune of €10 million ($11.1 million) in Broadpeak, which could be a potential precursor to a full takeover.

The move is a strategic one from Eutelsat to tap into the growing trend of multicast ABR for which Broadpeak has been one of the primary drivers, the benefits of which millions of mobile-first OTT video viewers in India are about to discover.