The latest operator to introduce Android to its TV as well as its mobile offerings is Nordic provider Elisa, which has named 3SS, Nagra, Technicolor and Portugal Tech4home (t4h) as suppliers for its multivendor hybrid platform in Estonia.
Elisa’s pay-TV subscriber base in Estonia has not been eroding as rapidly as elsewhere in Europe, but the gradual downward decline is still evident, making this a perfect time to inject some flexible Android TV upgrades. It lost 2,000 cable TV subscribers in the second quarter, dropping to a record-equalling low of 117,000 in total, while the DTT subscriber base also experienced 2,000 cancellations as it fell to 86,000 – so a base of 203,000 TV subs in total from a population of approximately 1.32m.
Called Elisa Elamus (translated to Experience), the hybrid platform supports DVB-C, DVB-T, IPTV and OTT delivery on a Technicolor Pearl set top with a powerful dual-core processor, supporting 4K UHD and HDR – packed into a flat circular design (one might even mistake it for a Roomba).
Tech4home has been involved in more than 30 Android TV Operator Tier projects, claiming to be one of the most successful remote control providers in the sector, and now finds itself in good company with Elisa’s win. Elisa’s custom remote control unit, developed by t4h, naturally comes with built-in Google Assistant, but also some neat features including dual light and motion sensors that display backlit keys when picked up and automatically switch off when not in use for battery efficiency, while adapting to light in the surrounding environment.
Nagra will provide Nagra Protect, the Swiss vendor’s cardless CAS, which is the latest generation of premium security deployed for the project. The company launched its Android Fast Track program in early 2019, as well as being one of few options on the market to offer enhanced content protection compliancy, supporting UHD security on both one-way and two-way networks, while many rivals have gone software-only and two-way only.
Multiscreen specialist 3SS is the string-puller behind the deployment – building on its appointment as prime systems integrator by Elisa in 2019. The German vendor has co-developed the UX and custom launcher together with Elisa, based on the 3Ready Product Framework, including custom app development for multiscreen viewing on a range of peripheral mobile devices, but also for Android-based TV sets, as well as Samsung Tizen and LG webOS smart TVs coming soon.
The 3Ready Control Center is also in the mix, providing an automated UX management system that enables Elisa to manage all applications and curate content from all sources in one place in real-time. It equips Elisa with tools for A/B testing, from where it can adapt and improve products – for example evaluating audience reaction to mobile vs set-top vs smart TV apps individually or even by customer segment.
Meanwhile, Technicolor’s TV Data Analytics agent brings a dashboard showing operational set-top performance, plus software and app usage metrics.
Over in Elisa’s motherland of Finland, the operator has previously deployed 4K HDR set tops from Netgem. Unfortunately for the French vendor, its lack of Android TV experience combined with its shifting focus away from hardware looks to have lost it this latest Estonian opportunity.
Elisa has since teamed up with NENT to form the joint video streaming venture Elisa Viihde Viaplay, although this initially launched in December 2020 only in Finland, not Estonia.